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Language for the heart

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by ambika04, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. ambika04

    ambika04 Gold IL'ite

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    [JUSTIFY]I was engrossed in my daily routine office work. Sometimes I pick up the phone, send a mail, show sign to my colleagues while doing such action simultaneously a chubby young clad stood before me. He was wearing jeans & had a high gadget mobile in his hand. He looked more like a model than a person who came for interview. I gave a puzzled look & he named my boss & said he got an appointment. Already there was a guest in his cabin so I asked him to sit before me for a while.

    I got a call from my boss to send him inside & conveyed the same to him immediately.He nodded his head & before getting up from his seat he said”Nandri”Which means thank you in tamil.

    All through my life I have never heard the word “Nandri” pronounced by someone whom I have met .It is always “Thank you”. It sounded strange to me. My inner voice was saying what’s so strange about it when one speaks in your mother tongue?I really liked the way he put forth his gratitude in his own language.

    It took me to a little flashback when I was in higher grade we had a student from Srilanka though a Tamilian by birth her pronunciation was entirely different from ours. At times we used to giggle when she speaks. One fine day the girl called all of us & said there is nothing to giggle or laugh when she speaks. She even added that what we spoke is a mixture of English & Tamil .In a way she is proud that she speaks her mother tongue clearly though her family moved many decades before to Srilanka.

    She even challenged in the right spirit to start our conversation in our mother tongue just for 5 mins. To our shock none of us spoke what we wanted to convey in our own language without the use of English. We did spoke with 2 or 3 words with English in between. That’s when we realized that English became so indispensable in our day to day usage of words. We apologized to her & only through her we came to know Tamil language has many words which sounds beautifully & conveys wonderful meaning.

    After the hearing the word Nandri I felt so bad that I never attempted to learn & put forth my mother tongue in the right way. I studied my language just was getting grades & till date I have been so careless that I never felt bad about it. Though I have never attempted to learn tamil grammer & tamil novels one thing I made sure is putting my foot down to those who shun away people who know only their mother tongue. I have seen few people who start their conversation in English assuming I don’t converse fluently when I reply back they switch to tamil immediately.

    I was holding my new born baby in hands & was waiting to see the pediatrician. The pediatrician addressed our group in English.I stopped him & asked whether he knows Tamil to which he hesitantly nodded. I said its better & would be more meaningful if he talks in Tamil followed by English translation if necessary as we are attended by our mothers who are also present with us. As a new mom holding the new born is new task & other instructions takes sometime to register in our mind whereas it’s not the same with our mother’s.All others nodded in affirmation though my mother being a graduate I dint want just 1 or 2 mothers out of the group to understand.

    Nelson Mandela once said that “if you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”.

    At the same time I have seen many non speaking tamilians conversing fluently in Tamil in public & some have even chosen Tamil has the second language for their children in school.

    UNESO Celebrates every year 21 Feb as International Mother Language Day. “Languages are who we are; by protecting them, we protect ourselves”- Irina Bokova Director-General of UNESCO. Some extracts from her speech: Nearly half of the more than 6,000 languages spoken in the world could die out by the end of the century. UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger is the performance chart for this struggle. Language loss impoverishes humanity. It is a retreat in the defense of everyone’s rights to be heard, to learn and to communicate. Moreover, each language also conveys cultural heritage that increases our creative diversity.

    UNESCO has celebrated International Mother Language Day for 12 years now and directs its energies towards protecting linguistic diversity. This thirteenth celebration is dedicated to multilingualism for inclusive education.

    I started my research of learning my language through a known person & I was given an elderly person’s address. I was locating their flat with an address I had in hand & their name plate is in tamil & it read Inba kuthan (Natarajan) & Malaiyarasi (Pravathy I think).I smiled & headed inside.

    Im not trying to hierarchies my language & put it before something else. Its just that I know only my mother tongue. Sometime back I read the Eskimose have thirteen words to describe snow and the Arabs have at least seven words to describe the feathers of a falcon. Each language is great in its own and in our admiration for one should not shut ourselves out to others.

    Let us do our bit in protecting our own mother language is what I want to put forward.:thumbsup
    [/JUSTIFY]
     
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  2. rgsrinivasan

    rgsrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    That was a beautiful piece Ambika. Definitely highlights the importance of mother tongue and the need to cherish it. For a change, I will try writing a verse in tamil for this:

    என் தாய்மொழி என் அலுவலில் பயன்படுதல் குறைவே!
    என்றாலும் நானதனை அறியாதிருத்தல் இழிவே!
    என்றைக்கும் ஒருவருடைய நினைவில் முதலில் பதியும்;
    எழில் மிக்கது அவருடைய தாய்மொழிச் சொல்லே ஆகும்.

    "மொழி எதற்கு? பிறருக்குப் புரிவதற்குத் தானே?
    பிறகெதற்கு தாய்மொழியை நான் படிக்க வேணும்?
    பிற மொழியே மிகுதியில் பயன்படுத்துகிறேன் நானே!
    என் மொழியும் உதவிடுமோ எனக்கு எதற்கேனும்?"

    எனும் கேள்வியும் சில மாந்தர் மனதினிலே எழலாம்!
    நம் தாய் போல் நம் மொழியும் தனித்தே தெரிவதுவாம்!
    நமை வளர்த்து, நம் மனதைச் செம்மையும் படுத்திடுமாம்!
    நமக்கெல்லாம் மூத்ததும், ஏன் இளையதும் கூடத்தான்!

    ஒரு மொழி கொண்டே பெருஞ்சமூகங்கள் அமையும்!
    தம் மொழி தவிர்த்தார் தவிப்பங்கே எளிதாகத் தெரியும்!
    பிற மொழியில் தேர்ச்சி பெற்று இருந்திடலாம் உலகில்!
    தாய்மொழியில் ஐயமின்றித் தேறுதல் தான் முதலில்!
     
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  3. Yumna

    Yumna Platinum IL'ite

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    Nice post and thoughtful.
     
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  4. outofthebox

    outofthebox Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Ambika,

    I think that you have written a post to address people like me who are not really conversant in their own mother tongue, in terms of reading or writing !!! Felt like it was hitting the nail right on the head!! Yes, I can speak, but reading & writing, it will take me a while, and can definitely not understand the senthamizh fully.

    I am not at all trying to justify myself, but this reminds me of a song "Unn kuthamaa? Yen kuthamaa? Yaara naanum kuttham solla? " ! :) The environment in which I have studied did not have my mother tongue, and even if I did, I have only learnt the basics. I have many times tried to download small novels to read, but beyond a certain level, I just cannot do it. All I can do is only to appreciate those who have managed to preserve the beauty of their mother tongue.

    Now I need to really ponder as to what I can do in my bit to pass this on to my coming generations. I really loved this post of yours, and would have definitely nominated this one, if I had not exhausted my 4 options already!!!

    And RGS, the passion that you have for languages in general is so clearly visible. I was only thinking that you write in English, but Tamil also? Now what more surprises are you going to throw! ;-) Frankly, to read what you have written, I am going to take a long while to understand, but I could see you have that poetic feel here as well !
     
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  5. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Ambika,

    Agreed with RGS, that this is a wonderful peice of writing. look at me, i can speak sindhi and i can understand, but i cannot read or write sindhi, which is sad. and the future generations i doubt they will be able to speak also, forget reading or writing.

    i agree with what u say, mother tongue must be protected.

    Regards

    kam al
     
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  6. ambika04

    ambika04 Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Rgs,
    OMG you can write poems in tamil too.Nandri Rgs for the poem & for the fb.Can you tell me how you download tamil fonts & write post in tamil.PM me the link or software if time permits.
     
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  7. ambika04

    ambika04 Gold IL'ite

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    Thank you Yamuna for the FB.
     
  8. rgsrinivasan

    rgsrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    To Ambika and OutOfTheBox - Thanks a lot, first. I only wrote verses in IL for a long, long time and started writing tamil verses a lot only in IL. If you ever have time to kill, you can find them under tamil poems. :) And I know only 2 languages, tamil and english. And that only to a manageable extent. No. This is not humbleness or modesty, but just a fact.
    To make it easier for many, I'll translate [warn you - it may be poor] the tamil verse that I wrote there. Please note that, even that verse talked about mother tongue in general.

    My mother tongue is used less frequently at work
    Yet, if I don't learn it, there's no greater jerk.
    One can always find these words that are treasured
    In the earliest memories of himself in good measure.

    "What is the use of a language? Is it not
    Just to make others understand the point?
    If I can do that in theirs, is it just not
    Enough?", you ask. Fine. Let me just point.

    Our language tells a lot about us and
    Is unique and gives us an identity.
    Guiding us early so that we all stand
    And grows like us showing extensibility.

    History says that great societies are formed
    By people who share that same common language.
    Learning other languages is not a crime.
    Learning one's own must always be prime.


    And coming to your question, you can use "Google transliterate" and choose your language [tamil] and start typing a word of your language in english. It will automatically convert it to that corresponding language and may even suggest options of choosing the right one, if there are many. Or, you can google for "Azhagi", a wonderful free software that does the same. -rgs
     
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  9. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear ambika
    Looking at the top quality and content of this thread and the fact that you won the Finest Narration Award in 2010, I am surprised that you have written only 990 posts/threads in all these three years! I do hope that writing becomes a greater passion for you and that you'll find time to make further contributions to this Forum and quench our thirst for good reading.

    You have raised a very valid point about mother tongue in this thread. I belong to a much older generation and we were always switching between Tamil and English depending on whether we are at home or in office. I worked for State Bank where you would be treated as a lord if your drafting skills were unparalleled. I have come across cases where even weak loan proposals were cleared by the authorities if they were couched in impeccable English. They reasoned that a Manager who could express himself so well would certainly have given due weightage to all the aspects of the loan!

    After impressing our bosses with our English skills in the office, it used to be such a great relief to be able to break into Tamil the moment we reached home. We conversed with the family members only in Tamil. In fact, my English classes started with the teaching of the alphabets only in the 6th Standard known as First Form in those days. But the situation is far different now. Kids are encouraged to speak only in English so that their competitive edge gets enhanced. It is a fashion for the kids to say that they cannot read Tamil and the parents feel considerable pride in it. It is all very wrong.

    It is in this context that I find your thread very illuminating and refreshing. I agree that strong knowledge of an international language like English is very essential considering that people go looking for job opportunities all over the world. But what is wrong in creating an interest in the children for the mother tongue as well? You have expressed your view very strongly ambika. My kudos to you!
    Sri
     
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  10. outofthebox

    outofthebox Platinum IL'ite

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    Flash News : "Outofthebox 'faints in awe of' the translated version for the tamil poem" !
     
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