Saturday, June 23, 2018

Ramana on Hinglish and Indian languages

It's been a while, well a very long while, since I did one of my wanders around the blogosphere. My focuses have taken me in a different directions. It's time to resume. I did enjoy those wanders and the way they sparked new thoughts and now I'm feeling a little stale. Sort of like a Sao that's gone off! You know, or at least Australians would, a bit soggy and not very tasty!

Today's post is triggered by a post by Ramana, Language In India that looks at the complexities in countries with multiple languages including the rise of .Hinglish, a combination of Hindi and English. "You can also have Tamlish for Tamil and English, Maratish for Marathi and English and so on and so forth." So on and so forth is very Indian English, by the way.

I had forgotten how complex the Indian language scene is.with so many major local languages. Ramana talks about the difficulties of communication within a firm and between the field when the official language is English. I imagine similar problems would arise with other languages unless the firm dealt just with one language area. English has, I think, survived as an official language because other language groups are so fearful of Hindi language domination. The number of English first language speakers is small, but in terms of total speakers English is second after Hindi.

Language is a funny thing because its so associated with identity and culture. Eldest works for a large Danish multinational, the biggest company in Denmark. The official internal language is English. Most Danes speak English. I think that it's compulsory at school, yet if you want to become a Danish citizen you have to be able to speak Danish. Australia is going down the same route in a way that makes many of us uncomfortable.    

Ramana is sensibly relaxed and practical on these issues as am I.


Anonymous said...

If I were you, I'd clarify your last statement. I'm sure many/most/nearly all of us would feel uncomfortable if we were forced to learn Danish as part of being Australian! Not that I have anything against the Danes, mind you, and I am in favour of Australian students being encouraged to embrace 'foreign languages', as they use to be called in schools, all those many years ago.
BTW you are showing your age with your stale SAO comment; I haven't seen a SAO in the biscuit section of Colesworths for years!
BTW, no 2 son is off to Perth in a couple of weeks to deliver his first conference paper. Mummy has to have a draft prepared for hers (not first, however)by Tuesday, and only in ACT, rather than any exotic location. Mummy needs to stop procrastinating. Mummy could procrastinate for the national team, as , I think, could you, JDB.

2 tanners said...

I admit I was uncomfortable with the English language test, both because the politicians pushing it had an apparent second agenda but more because the original proposal required university level english. If it's that important, perhaps the parliamentarians needed to sit it.

That's not the same as being required to have a functional knowledge of English. A refusal to acquire that hardly seems compatible with a claim to want to be a part of our society.

Jim Belshaw said...

Well, JCW, you will still find Saos I think. They were there a little while back. I haven't looked in the last few weeks. And, yes, I am revealing my age!

Ramana's relaxed attitude and mine were about the need for flexibility. I don't like rigid prescriptions. Here I'm not so sure about 2ts comments. You can actually be a good citizen without speaking English, although having some functional interest is better.