My mother tongue isn’t perfect !!

There was always confusion in me how to spell most of the Indian names in English. You’ll get to see lot of versions of spelling, but pronounced the same. The same issue I recalled when I read this article in my friend’s blog kaushik : My mother tongue isn’t perfect.

We have heard of people telling Sanskrit is perfect. Some of us might also have received forwarded mails telling that Kannada or Telugu is 99.99% perfect. Or what is that tells a language is perfect and or imperfect? There are many criteria. One of which everyone can easily see and comprehend is “what we write should be what we spell. English, as we all know doesn’t come into this group. But what about our own mother tongues?

Here is a question again, what do you call a perfect language. And how this percentage is calculated. There has to be a measure to do it isn’t it..?? Let’s take according to me these are the rules for a perfect language.

  1. You shall be able to pronounce all the things you have written. And you shall be able to write whatever you pronounce. Also, there has to be only one way to write a sound and there has to be only one way to pronounce a symbol written. : In this case we can’t nominate English at all. And most of the Indian languages are perfect Sanskrit, Telugu and Kannada (even German) for example. All these nominees are completely capable to read and write all the words of its own languages (there will be a problem if you bring a foreign language, there will be some other sounds).
  2. If you give a person the singular and plural has to be defined, not more not less. Kannada and Telugu are good. Sanskrit is troublesome here. (It has Dvi-Vachana…, why not thrivachana, chaturvachana etc.??)
  3. Given a verb you should have a defined way of conjugate it. No language has a problem except English.
  4. Gender. Why do you ask a learner to have gender for entities..?? (For example: I am a masculine, and my mind is neutral in Sanskrit. Very similar with Hindi, and German) Kannada, Telugu… even English pass the test here.
    Etc… Etc… According to my definition no language is perfect, where I define the perfect language as easiest for a person to learn for read and write. But about English. it is very true ..It is far from perfection

When a language likes Kannada or Telugu which is derived from a perfect language, why isn’t it perfect?Kannada and Telugu are not derived from Sanskrit. It’s just that there is high penetration of Sanskrit words in those two. I don’t know Telugu, but Kannada can be spoken without Sanskrit works in it (or may be with minimum usages), it does have its own Sandi and its own Samasa. But only that will look poetic. As for as the grammar yes, it is complete Sanskrit as it is.Many have a wrong presumption that Sanskrit doesn’t have a script. Actually Hindi doesn’t have one. Hindi uses Devanagari script which was used for Sanskrit. Oh! Our National Language has no script of its own?Yes this is very much true. There are many languages which lend things to Sanskrit, then argue it’s their own… I never had a problem with the script argument, but chances are there to some one argue that. But see this one is interesting… many a times I got a preaching that “MANN” is heart. I say its “mind”. I get a strong opposition; I prefer to keep my mouth shut.Got any inkling? How come ‘gum’ becomes ‘gun’? Ideally it should have been ‘gumga’ isn’t it? Isn’t there something fishy? Now check this out too…

This is a nice example. But there is a grammatically correct answer for this. For the answer let’s take alphabetical system. Indian languages have beautiful arrangement of classified consonants. There are tabulated in five rows and five columns. Starting from sound “k” to “m”. The columns are “unaspirated voiceless” “unaspirated voiceless” “unaspirated voiced” “aspirated voiced” and “nasal”. the rows are velar ( k kh a gh gn) palatal ( ch Ch j Jh jn) retroflex( T Th D Dh Nh) apcio dental (t th d dh n) and labial ( p ph b bh m). This is most scientifically organized according to sounds and pronunciations .note that this is my own convention of software, not UNICODE stationer.

Now come to the point. I don’t know Telugu, and I never learned Hindi grammar as coerce. But I can tell the rules of Kannada and Sanskrit. The rule says ” you can always (while writing) replace an “O”(symbol in Kannada, Telugu, in Devanagari it is just a dot) i.e. answer symbol by the last corresponding column of the consonants table, of the preceding consonant” did you get it. ..?? Let’s take the very example. “Ganga” is officially allowed to write using both the forms it is presented in Devanagari. An “O”(in Kannada and Telugu, Devanagari it is just a dot) has to be replaced now, you can replace it by a symbol “gn”, refer consonant table. What is Nasal sound for sound ‘g’ … replaces it with the answer? As for as I remember using the nasal is the correct form of writing. And “O” is the short cut. But I am sorry I am not sure about this information, which came first. But both are very much valid in Kannada, Kannada words and all the languages which use Devanagari script. There is no problem at all!!And by the way, I forgot to write my original topic… the problem in spelling my name in English… I will post it some other time.

14 thoughts on “My mother tongue isn’t perfect !!

  1. Gunzo Gunzo

    What is all this talk about “perfect” language? Firstly, a “script” has not much to do with language per se! Vietnamese is written in English alphabets. Korean is written in Chinese characters.

    Somebody said the grammar of Kannada is same as Sanskrit! Oops what is this all about? Just because there are Verbs, nouns, etc etc does not make two languages to be of the same grammar. To have the same grammar, the formation of tense, singular / plurals, synonyms and antonym etc. must be similar. That way Tamil and Kannada are of almost identical in grammar. Malayalam and Sangam Tamil are very similar. I do not know much about Telugu but when they go slow down the connection is obvious.

    Sanskrit? No it is foreign. Sanskrit words may be mixing in these languages but It does not “fuse” with them!


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