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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Languages are subject to evolution


    How does a language evolve? When does a language get conceptualized as a living one or become defined as a dead one? Isn't it an interesting thought?



    Languages become 'living' when it evolves. Those languages which are not evolving become a 'dead' language. That is why several languages have vanished or are about to vanish. To a certain extent, our Sanskrit is facing this problem.

    In our country, there are several languages spoken by a limited number of people mostly belonging to a particular community. But most of these languages had no alphabets of its own. Hence it borrowed several words from other commonly used languages. This slowly consumed the old local usages and got replaced with the new one. But living languages borrow words from other languages and get expanded. A unique example is English language. Perhaps compared to any other language that is the language which borrows words wherever it is found useful. For example from Malayalam, it has borrowed several words such as mango, Jack, etc. Oxford dictionary announces how many new words are added when a new edition is published, and from which of the languages they are taken. This English is becoming a typical 'living language'.
  • #627048
    I thank the author for bringing this interesting issue in the Forum for discussion. All linguists say that all living languages evolve. A very eminent professor of Comparative Literature of Jadavpur University, Calcutta once explained me by stating the following: "If you ride a time-machine and go back to your father's childhood, you will be astonished by the language which he is speaking with his friends. It is totally different from the language which you use with your friends."

    Indeed linguistics is a very interesting subject and we must try to study this interesting subject.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #627052
    The author made great observation on living and non living and dying languages. It is the fact that Sanskrit is facing the crisis and needs urgent attention. Likewise other languages like Konkani needs to be attended as there is no lipi for that. As said by the author the English language has been on the expansion mode with words borrowed from other languages. My father used to say that during his school days the Oxford has updated and added one Tamil word called Catamaram. In English it is written as Catamaran. That means two big logs ventured into sea as joined to hunt for fishing by fisherman.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #627072
    A good thread. Languages should evolve and expand. Many people who are good in multiple languages always try to frame new words which will be borrowed from other languages what the knowns and that is how the languages expand and evolve. The language Telugu is also extending by borrowing words from other languages and today in our country it is the second highest people speaking the language. Recently there was a report I read in the newspaper wherein it was stated that many languages which are being spoken by a very few people are vanishing from existence. This is mainly due to the reason that the people who are using this language are decreasing and there is no script for these languages. I don't know really whether the Sanskrit language is also in the problem. But recently I understand that some of the western countries are promoting this language.
    drrao
    always confident

  • #627386
    Languages do evolve, if you consider the classic or traditional language of tamil/telgu etc, this would be much different from the one we speak at home, the words and phrases get modernised. The way the spoken langauge sounds also changes. In short, I feel the original language becomes an almagam of new words and pronoucations as influenced by the people who speak and the place where they live.

    If we consider, languages that are not evolving as dying, then we should analyse the reasons and try and improve the condition. To me a language is learnt out of necessity, mother tongue to speak at home, English to do well in studies, the third language is just an ancillary to score marks. If we learn a language out of interest and passion, then we would certainly help in preserving it and widening it.

  • #627403
    I would say that Indian languages have borrowed words from English. For example - School is an English word which is used as a Hindi word. Party is purely an English word which we cannot part with . In Bharatiya Janatha Party, the word Party is purely English. Bottle is another English word modified as Bothel in Hindi.

    While English has borrowed 10 percent of words from other languages, other languages have borrowed 50 percent of words from English, I would say and you would agree.

    No life without Sun

  • #627405
    No, Mr. SuN: I don't agree. Do you have any idea how many words have entered English language from Greek, Latin, French, German, Spanish, Asian languages and even from Swahili? The linguists opine that the more a language is alive, the more words does it adopt from other languages.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #627417
    A language can grow only if it go on adding new words. This addition is only through borrowings. No language will hesitate in doing this. English is an example. English people conquered several parts of the world as part of expanding their kingdom and business. Together with that they were forced to accept different words and usages from the countries where they had to establish relationship. From India they had to face a multiplicity of languages. Hence several words were borrowed from these languages. That has helped to make it a living language.
    T.M.Sankaran
    Gold Member ISC


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