Friday, July 27, 2007

tami(zh)la kaappaathungo...

my amma-naakku is thamizh... India has ivvvvvvvvvvvvvloooo languages, avvvvvvvvloooooo customs, ivvvvvvvvvvlooooo castes, etc., etc. So much of diversion. I can bet my arse that I can kick off an argument between any 2 Indians based on some difference: sex, caste, religion, state, language, generation, race, skin color, profession, etc. Ok, now I should obviously follow up with the self-proclaimed not-so-false pride that "We Indians still live in peace and harmony (blah) (blah)...". With all this trailer lines, I wanna write about Tamil, my thaaimozhi....

Tamil is a dravidian language and certainly not a fruit of the Indo-European branch of the language tree... And then, as always. there is some kind of history... like verrry old (kal thondri man thondraa kaalathirku mun thondri... apdeeyae thondi thondi neraya kinaru irukku thamilnaatula), rich grammar, literature like namma thiruvalluvar (this guy is really awesome man! daily 1 blog eludhavae semma kadiyaa irukku enakku. this dude has managed to collate info abt various aspects of life and write 133 blog posts, each having solid 10 points!!!), development of the language by kings n poets, academies, etc.

ok, so wat big deal now? We tamilians are certainly pretty sensitive about the language. Lets not try dissecting the reasons for it but thats how it is. Some pointers are the Hindi baashavukku naama kodutha gooja, etc. There is a constant cries of foul by self-proclaimed (not sarcastic but in the real sense, they are self-proclaimed; they cud be true patriots too, I dunt know!) tamil patriots that the language is being invaded, raped, diluted, roasted, eroded, punctured, polluted, etc., etc. So, my 2day's blog is abt this {oru valiyaa I came 2 the topic. Blog eludhumbodhu, edho Tamil padam mudhal kaatchi maari enakku oru nenappu varum; adhaan, ivlo izhuvai hehe :-)}

so, is there a real threat to the language as such? Yes. But not as much as shouted. To me, anything to sutain the compulsions of time, has to be flexible. My dad has been offlate 'proud' to have discovered (identified?) that the only thing which hasnt/cant/wont change is NUMBERS and I am kind of convinced by his claim. On similar school of thought, a language has to be flexible to accomodate the usage to live. Tamil has been quite successful on this front. But, there is also a case of the language loosing thyself if its too flexible. Tamil has again scored good points in this factor too. So, my view is that Tamil needs to be flexible to accomodate the letters sha, fa, etc. The very idea of measuring the purity of a language by its originality is cumbersome. Like, lets take an example. Tamil has the letter cha but not sa. And there is a very clear mention about the pronounciation of this letter based on its presence in the beginning/middle/ending of a word. It has to be cha (not sa, sha, or nething else) when it starts a word. eg. chennai (cannot be pronounced as sennai). Good rule of grammar I should say... but never is there a rule which says that new letters should not be added to the language. There was no need to utter fa, sha, etc in the days when Tamil grammar was framed and therefore, they are missing. Some tamil (k)aavalar can very well point me if there is any such mention that new letters be not allowed and I shall oblige...

How to negate the threat? Use more tamil words. adhukkaaga senthamizhla urayaatranumnu arthamilla. lets take an example

"innikku morning, kultchi ready aaga late aanadhunaala, bussa miss pannittaen; so, bikeladhaan office ponaen"

I suggest that it be told as

"innikku kaalaila, kulichi kelamba neram aanadhunaala, bussa pudikka mudeela; aproam bikeladhaan velaikku ponaen"

while most tamil (k)aavalars shout that the phrase need to be spoken as

"indru kaalai, neeraadi thayaaraavadharku thaamadham aagiyadhaal, perundhil chella iyala villai; pinbu thullundhildhaan aluvalagathukku chendraen"

When some1 excerts that the last phrase be used, it almost gives a feeling of "oh, cmon now! is that gonna be possible?". So, I suggest that it would be better to advise and encourage avoiding English n Sanskrit n other language words rather than stressing that only senthamizh be spoken. Then, we could aim for senthamizh at a later era.

A few more suggestions:

  • Converse in tamil to answer tele-calls like pizza ordering, credit card companies, etc
  • Converse in tamil in banks, supermarkets, shops, etc
  • Answer in tamil even when questioned in inglipees on roads, bus-stops, public places. Most important is to not reduce your volume by feeling shy!
  • Try convincing aunts and uncles to get their kids fluent in Tamil. Most parents are ready to listen to their akka / anna payan / ponnus than some tamil (political) leader shouting over a mic about the need to teach tamil to children
  • Pick 5 (or how much ever) non-tamil words that you often use daily and try to phase them out of your collochial dictionary
  • Do not ridicule or look down upon people who speak tamil. Especially gals... pls help erase the image (false?) that "Speaking inglipees is kewwwlllllll"

"Udal mannukku

uyir thamizhukku

idhai urakka solvoam ulagirku"

indha alavukkuillanaalum...

koranjadhu, irukkara uyirayaavadhu 'edukkaama' / 'edukka vidaama' kaappaathuvoam!!!


ss said...

Amen! to all that u have ritten in the post.
and i dont fall into the category of the "girl who things speaking english is cool".

Sathish Kumar AD said...

Good work buddy. I'm glad that the efforts are being taken to save a world, The Tamil World.

I think I have the rights to scrap at your comments column not as a reader but as a Tamil Lover.

Here is my part of protest in my piece of a blog

Vendru Kaanuvom.