Mother tongue: Today is Telugu Mother tongue day

BLOWING IN THE WIND Children not exposed to their mother tongue are deprived of a range of cultural experiences PHOTO: AP

I was talking to one of my script writers and we were discussing on finding one for a Hindi script coz nowadays most of us are more comfortable in English and Hindi rather than our Mother tongue Telugu. And the discussion drifted to languages and the loss of civilisations and way of livings. He said he knew somebody who was working on languages / dialects that did not have a script in Godavari districts. I came up with a couple of names too and we thought thats an interesting discussion and we forgot the rest. Then one day when I visited his place he was holding a CD in his hands and was looking at it in an amazingly wiered way. I enquired and he asked if I remembered the discussion we had a couple of months ago on the languages and dialects and globalisation and all that ? I said yes and he placed the CD in my hands it was Bhagawadgeeta in Banjara language a tribal language. I was thrilled. Today I recollect it coz the script used was Telugu and today is Telugu Mother tongue day.

Today happens to be World Telugu Mother tongue day. I was reading some piece from some unknown author who says mother tongue is the communication that u make with yourself and the first words that you learn and there are some who counter it with necessarily not. It is just your ethnic language.

Telugu a language that is over a thousand years old is spoken by over a sizable 17 crore on a conservative estimate across 7 continents and over 60 countries if not more. But the globalisation waves have dealt more harm in some ways than more any good.

Sa Vem Ramesh …. thats how this man writes his name in Telugu. I was shocked amused and delighted to meet this one person who has given his life for the cause of reviving Telugu language among the 170 million Telugu speaking people, ofcourse hardly 50 million can read and write the language. Even now while I write this Its amazing to think that there are people like Mr Ramesh who stand up to issues n causes working deep in the interiors with no liking n interest for publicity or acknowledgment of his work.

He says”Telugu is numerically the biggest linguistic unit in India. Telugu is found to be recorded in the 7th Century AD. However, it is only in the 11th Century that it broke out into a literary language, but historical n archeological findings show a different truth. the origin of which is traced back to literally 1500-1000 BC. The language that has spread the fragnance of culture.
I have mentioned about him in my earlier blog A hero working to enliven a language, Telugu.
(http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-E9zYOAknfqPYpJwqKFg-?cq=1&p=1111)

A language converter for telugu:

http://www.quillpad.in/telugu

The language is fast disappearing in the minds of people and they say

Hundreds of languages have gone the way of the do-do bird, and thousands more are in the precarious position of the spotted owl. Many more cannot even be mourned, since, like countless species, they have evolved and vanished without leaving any record of their existence.

According to Unesco’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger of Disappearing, a language is considered endangered when it is no longer spoken by children, moribund when only a handful of elderly speakers are left, and extinct when it is no longer spoken. The numbers vary by source, but even the most optimistic estimates are alarming, with half of the world’s languages struggling to survive. Some sources declare 5,000 of the 6,000 total in some state of endangerment.(Source : Indymedia New york )

Linguists estimate that there are 6,809 “living” languages in the world today, but 90 per cent of them are spoken by fewer than 100,000 people, and some languages are even rarer – 46 are known to have just one native speaker. “There are 357 languages with under 50 speakers. Rare languages are more likely to show evidence of decline than commoner ones,” Professor Sutherland said.

Of the 6,000-odd languages in the world, one is said to disappear every fortnight. Should the English-speaking world care?

Over the past 500 years, about 4.5 per cent of the total number of described languages have disappeared, compared with 1.3 per cent of birds and 1.9 per cent of mammals. Colonization has had the strongest influence. Of the 176 living languages spoken by the tribes of North America, 52 have become extinct since 1600. Of the 235 languages spoken by the Aboriginal Australians, 31 have disappeared.Between 200 and 250 languages are spoken by more than a million people, with Chinese Mandarin, English and Spanish being the three most popular tongues.

Here is a list of languages in extinction :
(http://www.ubu.com/ethno/discourses/rothenberg_endangered.html)
pens to be Wor

9 thoughts on “Mother tongue: Today is Telugu Mother tongue day

  1. Lori

    I also just watched a documentary, about the loss of entire cultures and languages, that are disappearing in today’s world. So sad for traditions, languages, cultures and unique identities to be….lost. While I can see the benefits of a global community, I also hope that the future also protects and cherishes the individual languages, cultures and regional traditions that are so priceless. Like you said, Veeru, to go the way of the do-do bird and extinction, to be read about only in books or museum displays, is to let part of who we all are disappear…

  2. svelliyod

    First, let me pay my tributes to Telugu Talli.

    The disappearance of languages is a true but sad situation. Many of us are directly responsible for this, thanks to our desperate need to show how ‘modern’ we are (translated, it means, “My children know only English, they call us mummy-daddy!”). This blind aping of the western cultures (thanks to colonisation, of course) and pride in knowing ‘only’ English is one of the worst aspects of a cultural invasion, the imapacts of which we continue to suffer. Of course, lack of esteem for and knowledge of our vast & rich cultures are responsible, but we have none but ourselves to blame.
    I have the utmost respect for English, a language I handle with the ease of any Englishman. But I also respect mine.

  3. Veeru వీరు

    LORI:
    Thats right, and I have come to learn and it may be true that evolution swallows a lot of cultures and things associated. But still its our duty to protect our traditions cultures and thats possible with languages and only with languages.

    Sankaran:
    Sadest but inevitable i suppose as I see it. I agree

  4. Mithuna

    Veeru, I guess in a way I am party to this, cause at a lot of gatherings where Indians get together, there are people speaking all different languages and guess what.. our lingua franca becomes English. I do think our generation is plain lazy when it comes to learning languages. I speak a dialect, and its very sad to see that most of the people who speak my dialect will shift to either English or Kannada(since thats the state we live in).. or mostly English.

  5. Veeru వీరు

    MITHUNA:
    Its understandable but dont we need to do something. I actually had an idea to blog in the mother toungue atleast once in a month. oops can I ?

  6. Lori

    Verru….I live in the US, in the ultimate of “melting pots”. Families come, and initially cherish the traditions and language of their homeland. Then, often after a generation or two is born and raised here, traditions fade, language is forgotten.Many people even stop saying they are German -Americans, Chinese-Americans, Irish-Americans, etc…..and loose their family’s cultural identity.

    Just as western society spreads worldwide, with McDonalds in every city, coke in every refrigerator and Harry Potter in every book store…even within this country individual cultures sadly blend and…fade. I find it very sad. How I envy countries , like India, where culture is so wonderfully beautiful. I wish each culture, with its unique language, traditions and values, could see the future, and work to preserve their own identity. While good to sometimes be able to see commonalities and act “globally”…I think it is equally important to preserve and cherish identity. Lol, sorry for the rant…… 🙂

  7. Veeru వీరు

    LORI: Not at all ur rants if u want to call it that way only, are welcome and its wonderful to read a diversity in the comments atleast if not the post.
    Yeah the melting pot effect has a side effect too, it eats away the less or minority cultures and languages. Its sad but I think its inevitable, hasnt the latin been a threat at some point to the Lingua franca English and has nt sanskrit been the same to several Indian languages so English is now what latin was to all other languages.

    But we keep up the struggle to save our own ethnicities and cultures and languages coz they are our roots.

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