The Fuck-Up that is Language

Being Indian will definitely help one understand why language is such a fucked up thing. In North India at least, people get to speak Hindi in a larger area. Down here though, a bit west and it's Malayalam, a bit north and it's Kannada, a bit to this side is Telugu and a bit to that side is Tamil. 

But, why do we still keep enduring it? Today I read an article about lawyers who are on a hunger strike to enforce Tamil in the Madras High Court. What if the Judge does not understand Tamil? What if the defendant or the accused doesn't? I'm sure they forgot to ask themselves THAT question. Hence, shouldn't they ideally know BOTH languages?

Point is, I think all this comes down to the fact that we live in an age of linguistic chauvinism. Which in ways are related to regional chauvinism. Saw a friends status message the other day, saying that quite a large number of students in Maharashtra had failed in Marathi. She was asking the MNS what they had to say about it. Marathi language of course is the sole responsibility of the MNS last time we checked.

Have we all forgotten what language was meant for? To communicate wasn't it? Since when did it become a part of narrow minded identities? If I speak Malayalam, and you speak French (which I can't speak) will it really hurt to pick up each other's language? 

Is picking up a language being a slave to it, or the region from in which it was born? Is it somehow construed as bowing down to their culture and accepting that they're better than us?

I think, we should take a relatively easy, relatively not popular language, and introduce it into schools across the world. A language which the Whites did not use to advance Colonialism, or the West used to advance Globalization, or which 'primitives' speak. It might be hard to find, but I'm sure there should be one such language. 

Yes, a compromise on language. When these kids grow up, across the world, there will be one language that everybody can speak. And hopefully, nobody's ego will hurt. 

By the way, I'm just thinking out loud here, but, how difficult is to invent a language?

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Loganathan said...

Mannn.. I so agree with your post and the puppets who dance to the tune of different languages across different regions in India. I had recently written a post on it in a lighter note. If you would like to read, take some time at


Jr. said...

Language SHOULD be a personal decision. The problem comes when it is identified as something more. The purpose is forgotten. And yeah, let's start creating one. :D

On second thought, maybe we can take the language that they speak in Lord of the Rings? :D

Jr. said...

@ Loga,
Your post was a good read dude. Funny eh? A lot of us seem to have had the same kind of experiences! :)

Anonymous said...

Language becomes a part of your identity just like the dress you wear - though the purpose of a dress is to cover us...

People tend to get defensive whenever their identity is threatened. I agree that the lawyers crying for tamil in courts is ridiculous - not least because the judgments in the Madras HC need to be looked at all over the country. English is of course, the only language that is common to everyone.

Beyond that though, I see no harm in people taking pride in their language. It gives people a sense of identity. The problems occur only when the person begins to separate the world into "us" and "them" groups forgetting the common identity we all share - as Indians, and humans.

Jr. said...

So to rephrase your comment, you basically think that one's identity should take up more importance than general harmony. Is that about right?

vishesh said...

it's screwed up..ha but we can try that language thing.. tried doing that when i was a kid..never caught on with others though..pity.

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