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Hindi: shuddhataa: The purity of Hindi. (Thread closed awaiting moderation)

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Qureshpor, Sep 22, 2011.

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  1. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    In this forum one comes across the term "shuddh Hindi" now and again while on other occasions the expression "pure Hindi" is mentioned. A few quotes are given below, just to illustrate the point.

    "Um, Standard Hindi sounds nice, but I am not a huge huge fan of it. Although, Shudhh (pure) Hindi has a nice sound to it". (panjabigator: 29/06/2006)

    "Right... Many people use "jimmedaari" for "daayitva", though I know people who are good at Hindi, and they use Dayitva. It is charming to listen to pure Hindi words in conversations in Hindi". (rahulbemba: 31/08/2011)

    "I have Hindi as mother tongue and I know the examples are too many... Many of my friends who speak pure Hindi (with fewer insertions of English and foreign words which are so common now in cities), they use व/ "va". Even I use it when I write in Hindi, but almost none in spoken Hindi, personally". (RB 20/09/2011)

    The obvious meanings that one can take from "shuddh" and "pure" are "unadulterated", "uncontaminated", "unpolluted", "clean", "untainted" and so on. My enquiry concerns this concept of purity in connection with Hindi in particular and other languages in general. What is it that constitutes "shuddhataa" if this notion is at all possible and if "English and foreign words" as mentioned in the above quotation do intrude into a language, what quantifiable level would this unwelcome presence need to reach when the said language is no longer "shuddh"?
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  2. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Speaking for myself, I've no idea what such a term could mean with respect to any living language. Any "shuddh" language sounds obnoxious to me! A language keeps taking words from here and there, and that is how it lives and that is how it manifests that it is still breathing: different people and different communities will have different registers and different ways of expression, and the more they are the richer the language is.
     
  3. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments. I am curious nevertheless about this concept of "shuddh" Hindi. I wonder what those people actually mean when they are talking about "shuddh" or pure Hindi.
     
  4. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    If some of the members could have found a Sanskrit-derived word for "saabun," in one of your threads, QP, they would call it "shuddh" Hindi; that's simply my idea of the term. Though in such cases it would more be unnatural or obsolete or pretentious (depends!) Hindi for me!
     
  5. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Bengali speakers also use the term Shuddho Bangla. Interestingly, I have heard Bangla speakers describe Shuddho Bangla as rich and deeply nuanced, while usually I hear Hindi speakers describe Shuddh Hindi as sounding artificial or pretentious whenever used outside of very specific contexts that demand it.
     
  6. rahulbemba

    rahulbemba Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    You have some extended list of languages mentioned in the right hand side corner of your profile which is visible to all. Can you "quantify" at what level those languages can be called "pure"? Then why "target" only Hindi to attempt and ask for such quantification?

    IMO, such "quantification" is impossible for any language. It is something which one would understand about his own native languages.

    But for practical purposes, try to hear (1) Amitabh Bachchan speak Hindi. And some more names:

    (1) Arun Jaitley
    (2) Lal Krishna Advani

    Of much I have heard them on TV, I have thought their Hindi are pure Hindi.
     
  7. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  8. souminwé Senior Member

    Vancouver, Canada
    North American English, Hindi
    Amitabh does have Shuddh Hindi! I've noticed this too...I wonder if he has some sort of political agenda?

    Anyway, to me Shuddh Hindi just means Sanskritised Hindi. However, for many people it means speaking Hindi "as she is" - without loanwords or corruptions. There is a widespread misconception that Sanskritised Hindi is actually the natural form of the language that has become so "debased" by English that no one can properly speak it anymore. I was reviling to my mother the low quality of a newspaper that used the phrase "raatri meN" instead of just "raat meN". Her response was that "they try to be really Hindi these days", and that raat is only a "colloquial Hindi" word. Now, she's pretty Punjabi and thinks Hindi is a silly language (she's old! lol), so perhaps her opinion is an extreme, but I have met Hindi speakers who have moderately similar views.

    And I believe, Icfatima, that Bengalis have a positive view of Shuddho Bangla because of the long tradition of its use. Shuddh Hindi is a relatively new thing.
     
  9. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    And their Hindi sucks! They speak an unnatural language, especially most members of the far right politics, to whom you are alluding. Bachchan does that I guess because he simply is too arrogant and cannot forget whose son he is, so he tries to project himself as the rightful heir of that literary legacy.
     
  10. ihaveacomputer Junior Member

    Canadian English
    The focus of Shuddhata should change. Colloquial "Urdu-isms" (a misnomer for reasons discussed frequently on this forum) need to be accepted, as do certain English words which have become an invaluable part of the language (Train, truck, etc.) What should be opposed is the use of English when inappropriate. "Wait karna"? "Sing karna"? My position is purely ideological, but I feel as if this needs to be avoided. Language is a wonderful vehicle of culture, and replacing of Sanskritic or Perso-Arabic higher-vocabulary en masse with English alternatives is, in my opinion, damaging. Culture isn't static, as Greatbear has mentioned elsewhere, but Hindi infused with too much English tends to leave a bad taste in my mouth.

    What do you all think?

    EDIT: The fact that the terms referenced above are not even replacing "higher vocabulary" really gets under my skin!
     
  11. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    But there are many youngsters who do say "wait karnaa"; how can you impose all these shoulds? I feel it wrong; language is what it is, not what someone directs it to be. The academy for doing the same thing in French has funny recommendations like "remue-méninges" for brainstorming, but many people don't really use it.

    Culture is a different thing from archeology; we should not become fan of the latter. I would like all languages to live with their respective vocabularies, but I would love more an exchange between cultures, and when that happens, loaning of words is inevitable. English has so many words and synonyms in this manner, like jungle and forest, etc. For me, Hindi is in fact a more living language if it does accept English words: those words will get mutated with time and form new words or have new meanings. Already an intelligent kid or a great idea is called "a fundoo" in India! Just like markets, languages should be left alone to evolve, with no controls over them. That's my opinion. Also, each thing goes in a cycle: if we have too much English, there is bound to be a revitalized interest in Hindi and Urdu literary words, which might seem a bit "offbeat" to a newer generation, which is again good for the health of a language: and then will occur another round of interaction, more neologisms, and so on.

    Languages can live by themselves. We must stop pretending to be their guardians.
     
  12. ihaveacomputer Junior Member

    Canadian English
    Language can't fully be controlled, that's true. Ultimately, it's used by the masses, and use is decided democratically. The choices they make can be influenced, however. The Turkish language was fundamentally changed in the post-Ottoman period according to an ideology promoting pan-Turkish nationalism. The Arabic script was exchanged for the Roman one, and thousands of words from Persian and Arabic were replaced. This was successful because of the education system, Turkish's unchallenged position and widespread adherence to these new nationalist ideas amongst the educated classes.

    Hindi's situation is different. Thanks to differences in technology and English's privileged position, English words are reaching the masses before they learn the Hindi alternatives, and/or those alternatives are not judged to be economically useful, or chic. Vocabulary use essentially becomes a choice, and English wins out, for a number of reasons.

    My thought process is as follows. Do Hindi speakers want their language to claim its rightful place as a serious vehicle of higher thought and governance? Large sections of society do, but many others haven't been convinced, and they're in a more powerful position. You argue that languages can live by themselves, which is true, but literary standards cannot; they're manufactured and standards are agreed upon for the purpose of clarity. How can we bring more people on board to Standard Hindi, so to speak? Some believe in following the current path and hope to legislate a solution, but that clearly hasn't been working. I propose the literary standard be changed to bring it closer to the spoken language, but not at the cost of replacing Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic with Latin and Greek. I believe that this would represent cultural loss, not enrichment.

    That's just my opinion, of course. If Persian left such a huge mark on Hindi, why can't we allow English to do the same? It's an excellent argument, but let's focus on the question of a literary standard. Should dictionaries contain a word like ऐतिहासिक or हिस्टोरिकल ? Should we just cut our losses and accept all of the English present in contemporary colloquial Hindi? Should we accept the fact that this would make all of the literary material written in Hindi over the last 150 years unreadable for the children who go through the education system and are mature adults 20 years from now? I wouldn't be comfortable with such a solution, and we can't just say, "let's teach them both sets of higher vocabulary". That's what's basically happening right now, except writing in those English words is not acceptable.
     
  13. JaiHind Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi
    Aapka yah kahna aur aisi mansikta ki aap Shuddha Hindi bolne wale har vyakti ko ek "political agenda" ya raajnitik uddyeshya se jodenge, to ye sammanjanak nahi hoga.

    Mujhe aise vyaktavya sun kar dukh hua. Amitabh ji ek bahut hi sammanit vyakti hain. Unke pita Hindi ke ek mahan kavi the, to shayad aap aise ye samaj sakte hain ki Hindi unhe dharohar me mili hai.
     
  14. JaiHind Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi
    Kya aap batayenge ki aisa bolne se kya aapke "far left politics" me hone ka koi sandeh hota hai?

    Aap Bachchan ke bare me shunya jankari rahkhte hain shayad. Kripya mera upar ka vyaktaya padhen - ye Amitabh ki "arrogance" nahi hai balki unke ek susanskrit Hindi bhashi parivar se hone ke karan hai.

    Aur, mujhe nahi lagta ki Advani ji ya Jaitley ji koi "unnatural" Hindi bolte hain. Wo sach me "shuddha Hindi" bolte hain. Agar aap nahi bol pane ki kshamta rakhte hain to kripaya dusron ka majak mat udaiye jo shuddha Hindi bolte hon.

    Dhanyavad.
     
  15. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Lol, you are reiterating what I said in post 9. Someone's being "sammanit vyakti" or not isn't relevant to the argument, unless you mean that people who are not "sammanit" have no right to speak their language!
     
  16. JaiHind Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi
    Shayad aapki Hindi-hatred dharohar me mili hai :) Kshama karenge kyonki ye ek majak tha.

    Is udaharan se ye prakat hota hai ki Samachar Patra kul mila kar "Shuddha Hindi" me likhte hain = kam se kam woh hum logon jaison se achchi Hindi likhte hain. Ye to "expected" hai - Hindi me, ye to "apekshit" hai. Jo log sahitya se jude honge wo sadharan logon se adhik achchhi aur sundar language me likhenge, chahye woh Hindi ho ya English. Aap is udaharan se ye siksha kyon nahi lete?

    "Raatri" wo shabd hai jis se "raat" bana hai shayad, aur "raatri" "common usage" me hai, mere kai mitra apne gharon me "ratri" aur "Shubh Ratri" (Good night) bolte hain. Kriypya aap apne "limited exposure" ko ek "conclusion" na banayen - Hindi ke liye.
     
  17. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    If they wish "shubh ratri", then that says what kind of pretentious people they are and it is no wonder that they use a word like ratri in their speech (makes me laugh); there is no such concept in India of wishing good night (or good morning).

    And before casting aspersions on other people's dharohar even in parihaas (I am generous today, so I am giving you the Shuddh Hindi word for which you only knew the Arabic word), learn to speak proper Hindi: it's mazakh, not majak. If you speak raat, that's fine, but speaking z as j is horrible.
     
  18. JaiHind Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi
    Aapko "Shubh ratri" bolne wale logon ke bare me aisa bolte hue sun kar, "judgemental hote hue" dekh kar mujhe dukh hua.
    Agar aap ye kahna chchte hain ki jo Bharatiya "Shubh Ratri" ya "Good night" bolte hain, woh kuchh "kam-Bharatiya" hain, to yah nirashajanak hai. Aise mai janta hun ki ye parampara bahar se ayi hai par vartaman me to shayad ki koi Bharatiya ho jisne kisi dusre Bharatiya ko "good night" na bola ho! Kya aap aise ek vyakti hain?

    "Majak" ko "Majakh" bolne ki prerna ke liye dhanyavad. Mai Hindi ko English script me type karne ka adi nahi hun, to aisi galtiyan hoti rahti hain, kripaya kshama karen.
     
  19. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    You still don't get it; it's z, not j. And I would advise you to type your Hindi arguments in Hindi, in that case; at least your responses could be skippable for some of us more easily, as anyway they don't add anything to the discussion.
     
  20. souminwé Senior Member

    Vancouver, Canada
    North American English, Hindi
    ^ I spent a good 20 minutes typing out a long, Shuddh Hindi rebuttle until I saw GB's comment. Way to burst my bubble : P

    Sorry JaiHind, आप के कठिन हिन्दी को पढ़कर मुझे कष्ट हुआ. मस्तिष्क अब दर्द से फट रहा है. Anyway, all I have to say is that with the "raatri" example, the point of my mother in the story was to illustrate that many Indian people, such as yourself, have the warped idea that redudant, Sanskritised words like "raatri" are the more Hindi-esque, and more original words than average ones like "raat".

    I don't have Hindi-hatred, I have SanskritniSTh-hatred :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  21. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Turkey had also an aggressive secularism going on at the same time, something which modern Turkey resents (and is in the danger of reverting to hardline Islam in the process); language reforms were wedded to a large extent to Ataturk's remaining policies. While I personally admire Ataturk, especially in that he prevented another Muslim country to go the way of radical Islamists, still I cannot deny that he forced people in their choices, ranging from language and education to religious observances. India has no such imminent danger of any radical shift to some fundamentalism, so forcing people to speak something is wilful curbing of basic rights of expression for me.

    But apart from the right wing, who in India wants Hindi to claim its "rightful place"? Most Indians don't think in terms of what's mine and what's yours, so I don't see what does "rightful place" mean: if there's something on quantum mechanics already elaborated in English, and since most people who are going to study quantum mechanics in India would be very well conversant with English and all its nuances, there is no need of any Indic language there. This is different from, say, French speakers: certainly while some of them are good at English, but there are huge educated masses of them who don't understand English that well, even if their school curriculum has English. The same thing is happening in places like South Africa: English is widespread in the educated community, and hence there is no "need" of a local language to replace it at that level. On the other hand since many Japanese or French, even if highly educated, face problems with English, they have a need to have everything in their language, and thus the cycle goes on.

    I don't see why we should have an artificial impetus to "promote" the "development" of Hindi or any other Indic languages: I don't see it as a development. It will in addition only arrest the development of India as an economic superpower in the coming days. What I would like to see, instead, is a good, strong, worldwide network like the Alliance Française, so people from rest of the world can learn Hindi or other Indic languages, if they are curious about them. The Indic languages don't have many speakers who speak it as a second or third language, primarily because there's no good learning mechanism available.
    Hindi and other Indic languages are thriving well, but we don't need them to have an influential say on the rest of the world or be more visible on the Internet, simply since a language is not about power. They are thriving since even educated Indians use these languages; and with the interaction of English and these languages, only more evolution occurs, which is a natural, inevitable thing, and a good thing in my opinion. Literary registers keep getting modified, replaced and lost, one shouldn't be afraid of that: there always remains a higher register and a lower register at any particular phase of the society.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  22. ihaveacomputer Junior Member

    Canadian English
    Hmm, it seems to me like you're saying Hindi doesn't need to develop a literary standard. I don't think it's hard to see why many people would have a problem with that; who wants to have to learn a foreign language in order to express higher thought? Hundreds of millions of Indians are more comfortable speaking Hindi than speaking English, and as hard as Shuddh Hindi may appear, it's just an illusion; learning English as a foreign language is much more difficult and requires significantly more time. The former is simply a matter of acquiring vocabulary, whilst the latter demands learning an entirely new language.

    Your position is basically that Hindi forever remain a spoken language, but never one of those who are serious about anything remotely academic. I personally do have a problem with this, and I'm not on the Right. I'm not Indian nor even South Asian, of course, so my position on this whole issue is obviously nuanced in a different way. Nevertheless, I do have to say that this has been one of the largest sources of frustration for me in learning Hindi. I don't mean to sound harsh, but who wants to learn a foreign language in which the majority of educated speakers switch to English whenever anything remotely intellectual emerges in conversation? Why not just switch to English entirely? It's extremely frustrating and one of the reasons why Urdu is so much more attractive an object of study. I push on with Hindi because not everyone does this, but those who do are in the majority. I'm hoping access to education sees a boost in people who embrace their mother tongue in its entirety.
     
  23. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    भगवान के लिए हमें यह बता दीजिये कि "शुद्ध हिंदी" है क्या?

    For those unable to read "Devanagri"..

    bhagvaan ke liye hameN yah bataa diijiye ki "shuddha Hindi" hai kyaa?

    mere savaal ko "mazaaq" nah samajhiye gaa. maiN bilkul sanjiidah huuN.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  24. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    ihaveacomputer, please imagine that my questions are scientific ones and they require precise answers, without beating about the bush!

    1) What is it that constitutes "shuddha Hindi"? (i.e what are its component parts?)

    2) What do you think is the nature of the possible "pollutants or contaminants" that are seen by some as intrusive and as a consequence, detrimental to its purity?
     
  25. ihaveacomputer Junior Member

    Canadian English
    Hello Qureshpor,

    Excellent questions. As far as common usage goes, people use the word "Shuddh Hindi" to refer to those forms of Hindi which draw from Sanskrit to the point that many common words are replaced. Shuddh Hindi is not synonymous with Standard Hindi, as there are many writers who freely employ a mix of Perso-Arabic and Sanskritic vocabulary. Unfortunately, many will quickly accuse a writer of using Shuddh Hindi as soon as they encounter an "obscure" Sanskritic word, even if that's not really an accurate description. Urban Hindi speakers who have done their schooling in English and never read a Hindi novel in their lives are particularly guilty of this. Therefore, there's not really a scientific answer I can give you, as it's all about perception! The flaw underlying the term from the start is the assumption that there is such a thing as purity in language, and that Perso-Arabic terms represent corrupting influences.

    As I've discussed elsewhere, I'm opposed to Hindi's higher vocabulary being replaced with English, and think Perso-Arabic vocabulary used by the majority of the population should be embraced. I am not obsessed with purity, but I do believe that language is not a mere tool for communication; it is a vehicle of culture, and to allow English to have such a strong influence would, in my personal opinion, be a negative development. Accept English loans where appropriate, but don't allow English words which people learn in a classroom to replace Sanskritic terms people learn in a classroom. Basically, maintain a Sanskritic learned vocabulary... Not for the sake of purity, but for the sake of maintaining connections to Indian intellectual history.

    As we all know, there are rigid ideologues who do maintain a conception of purity in language, and they equate this with Sanskritic vocabulary in the case of Hindi. I believe this to be toxic. Under certain circumstances, a victory of this type of standard is possible, but this would be undesirable; Perso-Arabic vocabulary used across all sections of society should not be stigmatised, and diglossia should be avoided.
     
  26. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Hmmm. On your question 2) I hope you won't mind my thoughts though you didn't address me. I feel that at least post-independence and especially in the past few decades (maybe 40 years) some may see as Shuddh Hindi being the pristine Prakrit- and ultimately Sanskrit-derived language that is there to be reclaimed. It is pure and uncontaminated by what is viewed as Muslim ravaging of indigenous culture or European colonialism and imperialism. It goes hand in hand with mosque demolitions and rejecting the theory of Indo-Aryan migration/invasions for if one accepts the Aryan Invasions theory and if Indic and Vedic culture developed as a result of Central Asian invasions, then how can the later Muslim invasions from Central Asia be viewed as an exclusively negative cultural force? Better to reject the theory altogether! Of course this view of Shuddh Hindi as part of a linguistic reclamation is historically inaccurate in terms of the way Khari Boli evolved, since there was no pure historical spoken Hindi, per se. Once again it makes me think of the contrast with Shuddho Bangla and rhetoric I encounter among Bangladeshis about Shuddho Bangla because in Bangladesh weeding out Persio-Arabic words with a preference for indigenous words has to do with Bangal pride and nothing to do with anti-Muslim or Hindu nationalist sentiment. It is instead is a linguistic reaction to pro-Bangla anti-Urdu/West Pakistan sentiment and Bengali nationalism. Although with both Shuddh Hindi and Shuddho Bangla the linguistic movements towards shuddhata began long before independence and partition.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  27. tonyspeed Senior Member

    JA- English & Creole
    I'm not exactly sure how English got dragged into this muddy argument, because as we all know Shuddh Hindi has very little to do with English and has much to do with anti-persian political propaganda spread by those with personal agendas. The idea was to remove the Urdu literates from English government positions. By creating a political issue out of Devanagari and Shuddh Hindi, those who had been educated in the new Shuddh Hindi (the have nots) could begin to force those that had been in control and in favour with the English government into obscurity (a group consiting of both Hindu and Muslim Urdu literates). That basic idea of changing to status-quo of Indian society was soon grafted with new feelings of Hindu separateness incited by astute political leaders who would stoop to any means to drum up public support in the years leading up to partition. (Which of course was also rubbish because Hindus and Muslims were on very good terms by the time the English came and even celebrated each others festivals at one point in time)


    I think we all know however, that Shuddh Hindi is an invented language spoken by pretentious people, Amitabh Ji included, whose mother-tongue is Avadhi, not Shuddh Hindi. Whether or not people view pretentiousness as positive or negative is up to them, but the fact still remains that there has to be a level of pretentiousness to speak a language the common people do not speak, whether that language is strict Shuddh Hindi or strict English. That pretentiousness attempts to create a barrier between ones self who is "knowledgable" and "correct" and those who are "ignorant", "common" and "maamoolii".

    In my opinion, there is nothing actually shuddh about Shuddh Hindi. In fact, it is full of प्रदूषण and that प्रदूषण is Sanskrit. And like Shuddh Tamil, there is every bit as much a reason to purge Sanskrit from the speech of Hindi speakers unless we are talking about the coinage of new words. It is every bit as foreign to the Hindi langauge as Latin is to English. We use extinct languages to coin new words, not to eliminate existing words!


    Any attempt to be shuddh in any unimporant area of life such as race or language ultimately ends up in hypocricy and some form of figurative or literal genocide that leaves scars that never go away.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  28. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Where did you come up with this imaginative bit of history?

    And your attempts to purge Hindi of Sanskrit would be as much genocide; who are you (or is anyone) to dictate how should people choose to speak?
     
  29. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    And what's the problem if I use "doctor" and not "chikitsak"? And why impose "chikitsak" on people if they want to use "doctor" and don't see it as a loss of culture?
     
  30. ihaveacomputer Junior Member

    Canadian English
    Doctor isn't a word learned in the classroom. It's a word used by members across all levels of society and learned at a very young age. I'm talking about words like, say, "representative democracy", "existentialism", "reticent", "unsubstantiated"... The types of words one does not encounter without an education. Higher vocabulary. This is where I prefer Sanskrit loans to English ones.

    Tonyspeed, English is relevant to conceptions of Shuddh Hindi in the contemporary period, and that's something any supporter of the idea of Shuddhata will quickly be able to rant about! In many of their eyes, the "battle" against Perso-Arabic vocabulary has almost been won in official contexts, though the private news channels which have sprung up have been setting back the clock in this regard. The entire idea was politicized from the outset and most definitely a way for one set of elites to try and grab power from another, but too many people confuse the undesirable side of the entire Shuddhata movement with a genuine need for a literary standard. Nobody in this topic has yet proposed an alternative vision for how Hindi should be written down in literary and academic contexts. Greatbear thinks that it shouldn't be. The majority of us here are aware of the history of the Shuddhata movement and concur on the negative impact it had on communal politics in the region... But let's move beyond history and talk about what can now be done, as of 2011.

    ...unless Qureshpor believes this to be off topic, of course, in which case I apologize.
     
  31. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    But we are not studying the Sanskrit or Perso-Arabic vocabulary for these words in our classrooms, if you mean only to talk about education: so why should an Indian not only learn English but also all these words in Hindi? That would set the clock back for India, it wouldn't be able to develop; I don't mean just economically, but having too much of languages on your plate is not good for the average mind, maybe more curious about the actual science or politics rather than fussing about what to call it.
    Why "representative democracy", let's take democracy! "Prajatantra" sounds highly artificial to me if someone actually uses it in speech: why not democracy and get on with it?
    We create and modify languages, they are mere tools: we don't start modifying ourselves for some imaginary what's ours and what's not. That would be doing the same thing as those right-wing Shuddhata seeing-red-everywhere people.
     
  32. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Which battle, and when was it won? It was necessary to adopt a national language, and hence Hindi: thereafter, since the whole purpose was a common, unifying element to India, if something has both Persian/Arabic and Sanskrit derived synonyms, and if they are almost equally understood, then Sanskrit was/is a commonsense choice, since there are regions of India, like the south, where Sanskrit or vocabulary derived from it is much more readily understood.
    Instead of fighting any battle against Perso-Arabic vocabulary, the Indian government has been guilty of being too soft towards that in the past: a striking example is any old Hindi film with its title also written in Urdu, even though most of the Indians had/have no ability to read the Arabic script.
     
  33. ihaveacomputer Junior Member

    Canadian English
    Ultimately, I think this all comes down to ideology. I mean, we're talking about formally adopting thousands of English words and writing them out in Devanagari in Hindi literature. I would rather maintain the links to Indian intellectual history, but yes, that does come at the expense of Indians who learn English then having to study a new set of vocabulary. Where we differ in opinion is where you say that languages are mere tools. I don't agree! As I mentioned earlier, they are vehicles of culture, and have an inherently social dimension to them. Look at liturgical languages, for example. If we want to try and be rational outside observers, what makes Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit, Medieval Punjabi, Pali, Hebrew or Classical Chinese more "sacred" than modern languages? Nothing, of course, but many feel them to be! Navigating feelings is obviously a dangerous area, as we've seen through linguistic ties to nationalism and all the ensuing oppression, but this is just an example of how the role of language in our lives is more than just communicating the literal meaning of words.

    To tell you the truth, I'd accept a Hindi which is much more thoroughly Anglicised if it were made the standard, but... Well, because these questions are all still up in the air, and because the current form of Standard Hindi has a significant amount of support behind it, I lean towards developing what we already have, with a few tweaks. It will actually be extremely interesting to see how this all plays out over the next 25 years! I don't think that an Anglicised form will be accepted, and I do believe that a lot of Sanskritic vocabulary will start to feel more natural, but who can predict the future, right?
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  34. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I always thought that had to do with the history of the development of the Hindi film industry in terms of Muslim and Urdu speaking presence, such as the history of Muslim entertainers/musicians/dancers and their role in early films. Persio-Arabic lexicon as part of Hindi and Urdu language was entrenched in filmi dialogue, especially lending a romantic or pensive element. Bacchan may speak good Hindi but I also recall him having excellent Urdu diction in older films, for example. At the point in history when the titles appeared in Nastaliq Urdu script (not Arabic), that was before the anti-Muslim anti-Urdu sentiment became so open and so strong. It was natural to put the film titles in both Devnagari and Nastaliq as readers of both were part of the target audience, and the language was more acceptably Hindustani than Hindi.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  35. tonyspeed Senior Member

    JA- English & Creole

    Imaginative? Because you don't know it? How quite pompous. "Hindi Nationalism" the book by Alok Rai, Premchand's (the Premchand) grandson. But he is not the only source of this information.

    No, my mentality is to purge Sanskrit words from Hindi where there is already a good common term. No need to use prayog when we already have istemaal. Sometimes you have
    to fight the bigots with their own methods. And I will tell anyone who choses to use prayog, pratiiksha, vastu and kshama that their language is pretentious.


    How many Indians have the ability to read period in the 60s and 70s? What percentage? The number would frighten you.
    I know Indians right now in their 60s and 70s that ONLY know how to read Urdu AND are not Muslim.
    So should they have been excluded from the ability to read film titles? I wonder?


    You have to realise who you are talking to as well. You cannot tell the entrenched powers that be, upper and middle class Indians, that they should wilfully give up their
    stronghold on bread and butter: the English language. They will not willfully put down the English language because that would set those class of people back
    decades. This is the same reason why the supporters of Modern Hindi and Devanagari chose political methods to remove the Urdu elite and the Urdu elite were kicking and screaming
    the entire way. When we benefit from the status quo, we are not going to accept a change. You are wasting breathe and key stokes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  36. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Of course, I know that you believe in narrowing down vocabularies of a language, as you once mentioned the same for English in an earlier thread; you forget the nuances that each "synonym" brings, thus enriching the language. Thankfully, you are no dictator to decide on purging, just as the Shuddha Hindi people are not; I myself use prayog and kshama in my day-to-day language, and it's news to me that you think them pretentious or unused words. Even in your opinion they are, that does not justify purging them, since in my opinion some other words could be pretentious: you might be fond of becoming a dictator, but thankfully India is a very successful democracy.
    And I, and several others on this forum, have always lived in India: we don't need some book to tell us how we live, that's laughable. Also, Premchand's grandson does not make him Premchand, lol!

    So why not the title in Gujarati, Marathi and Bengali as well, to take examples of segments where the numbers of Hindi film-watchers have always been strong?

    You don't even know the argument and you're wasting your strange theories! Who do you think would be more likely to know what is "representative democracy" in Hindi (any vocab, Sanskrit or Perso-Arabic): that middle-class educated Indian whom you despise, or those whom you are the champion dictator of? In going to Hindi words, or coining them, rather, you will be indeed giving power to the educated Indian: English has been and continues to be the great leveller across India. A leveller even across education levels: many English words are recognised throughout India, across all classes and its several languages, irrespective of the speaker's education level, or even if he had one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  37. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Of course, languages have a social dimension, but languages reflect a culture as it is, not a wished-for culture: and to modify it just to suit your desire that it be related to some legacy is simply wrong and crippling to the present, dynamically evolving culture.
    A simple example: why the Tamil-English song "Why This Kolaveri Di?" is such a huge hit in India currently, including north India? Why are those tonyspeed's downtrodden masses singing that song, and why is the song made with so much English, spoken with heavy Tamil accent, in the first place? Is that English merely for the middle and upper classes?
    India is a huge mix, and it evolves on its own: just like a free market does, an analogy I used earlier, too. Controls are always bad for markets and languages.
     
  38. tonyspeed Senior Member

    JA- English & Creole
    It seems that GB has become like a typical news agency and now resorts to character attacks, word-twisting, and patriostism to defend his arguments. What next? Hitler or Osama name calling? I beleive this is the very thing
    that has created this very ashuddh Hindi problem in the first place...divisive politics.

    But maybe since this aShuddh Hindi discussion has become corrupted with pro-English arguments,
    maybe it should be moved to the English section of the language forum where it belongs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  39. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    As you sow, so shall you reap, tonyspeed.

    You cannot make sweeping statements about classes of people, which are not only personal attacks on one person, but several individuals. The discussion was always about contaminants, not necessarily Perso-Arabic; just because you understood that to be the case does not mean the discussion should move elsewhere. The original post itself by QP has English mentioned: it's unfortunate you chose to overlook it and continue to do so.
     
  40. flyinfishjoe Senior Member

    American English
    I find it odd to label someone's language pretentious based on the vocabulary they use. And contrary to the belief of some, people do use words like kshama, pratiiksha, and janatantra in conversation. The kind of Hindi spoken by the youth of Bandra and the kind spoken by the old families of Delhi aren't the only dialects that exist. In Indore, I'm quite certain that I remember words like prashaasan and kshama being used in regular talk. What on earth is "pretentious" about this?

    Personally, I think these heated debates about shuddh Hindi are far more common among academics than they are among regular people. The average person doesn't spend too much time thinking about what the use of intezaar vs pratiiksha vs wait says about a person or how "pretentious" each one might be.
     
  41. souminwé Senior Member

    Vancouver, Canada
    North American English, Hindi
    As much as I love to complain about Shuddh Hindi, the fact of the matter is that yes, you're right, Hindi is Sanskritising and fast - we forget all the terms that have become internalised in Hindi well enough that no one blinks about them twice: anaath, itihaas, dharm, praduushan, mantri, shabd, aatma, aatankvaad etc., and there's many, more many more that may not be so deeply ingrained in the language, but at the same time will not sound awkward at all in conversation (I'm sure you've heard pavitra or sviikar in Bollywood films, even!).
    As you've said, we all know why Shuddh Hindi has been rejected by many Hindi speakers. English definitely didn't become the most Latinate Germanic language overnight. Hindi is in a transition state. It's gone through a period of Perso-Arabic pogroms and over Sanskritisation. It seems to be settling now - the media is leaning towards a mix of established, regular words and Sanskrit words as appropriate; some sort of natural standard is being established. The population is becoming more comfortable with the language. English has its place. It is part of the Indian identity. But hey, India's rising in the world, and Wikipedia recently held talks in India to expand and improve articles in Indic languages. IMO, as the importance of India in the world and the living quality in India rises, Hindi can only become more used, more standardised.
     
  42. tonyspeed Senior Member

    JA- English & Creole
    Is it not truth that the middle class and upper class are more tied to English than the majority of India?
    That cannot be debated.

    Is it not true that you are in the middle class. That cannot be debated or you wouldn't be on the internet.

    Is it not true that calling someone's story imaginative when you have no facts just because you have never seen it is pompous? Yes.

    Then where is my name calling? The truth obviously has touched some nerve here.

    @flyfish

    Yes, you are right. People speak what is in common usage. The argument here is who is forcing us to use certain Sanskritic words over the Perso-Arabic variants. If compulsion is a part of the argument, here is where Shuddh comes into play. If some class of persons says one version always has to be used when it is not in majority usage or speaks a variation knowing it is not in common use in a particular area for the intention of showing-off, then we get pretense.

    Lack of pretense would be speaking what your audience expects according to daily usage. Language used as a tool to define one's social rank in contrast to others is pretentious. Maybe the examples I used were not as clear-cut as they should have been but you understand my meaning. Amongst certain communities and areas, such language would be pretentious.

    And just so my non-nativity is not used as a bludgeon, I was told this by a Bombay native. Do not use the word kshama. It seems pretentious.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  43. flyinfishjoe Senior Member

    American English
    Oh OK, in that case I guess I misinterpreted your post. My apologies. BTW, I too am a non-native speaker; my first language is Kannada and sometimes my Hindi is influenced by this.
     
  44. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    And you think that Bombay speaker reflects the whole Hindi-speaking universe? Not a good way to learn things.

    And where are your facts? Referring to a book written by someone isn't a fact: give us details about when, how, where.

    You think any Indian on the Internet or using English comes from middle or upper class? How many other people on this board and reading here think the same, I am curious to know.
     
  45. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    The argument was never that; go read the first post.
    So didn't you suggest that Hindi should be purged of certain words, did we all misinterpret you? To purge or not to purge, what's your final answer?
     
  46. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Another book that elaborates on this theme is "One Language, Two Scripts: The Hindi Movement in Nineteenth Century North India (Christopher.R.King, OUP 1994)" but further discussion on this topic would be "off-topic"
     
  47. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    You have often quoted this book, QP; I would quote you one sentence from the beginning of the book, because of which itself I would deem the reference to be untrustworthy and biased: "The Urdu script flows across the page from right to left in graceful curves and loops accentuated by long, connecting lines, while the Nagari marches from left to right in chunky blocks accompanied by a nearly continuous horizontal line above each word."

    It's evident what will the writer try to project from his "well-founded researches"; if someone does not have the sense to not let his subjectivity interfere with facts and data, and history, at least when presenting his research, then I don't think he is really a prime candidate for research.
     
  48. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
     
  49. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    greatbear, I take your point on board. I shall try to be as brief as possible because we will no doubt end up debating over an unconnected matter. In the preface, King quite openly describes his position as far as "bias" is concerned. On the contrary, he states that his background (of knowledge and research) is of Hindi and not Urdu! I do not agree with everything he says but the reason I have mentioned him on this occasion is that his research quite categorically shows the rise of the Hindi movement and its seperatist Hindu/Hindi/Hindustan agenda (in terms of Devanagri as it s script and having it recognised and implanted in the Urdu heartlands) was a prime cause of the division of India. Jaswant Singh then adds a further twist to this by bringing into the story the part Hindu congress leaders have played in all this.
     
  50. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    The Bombay film industry started with Dada Saheb Phalke's mythological movies, and for the next forty to fifty years, a lot of mythological movies kept on getting made, with some of them huge hits. Hence, Hindi with close links to Sanskrit was as much popular always in Bollywood as Hindi with links to Arabic; at the most, Hindi songs incorporated a lot of vocabulary that many people did not and do not understand, even if many from the Urdu belts of India do (words like anjuman or shabnam). So I don't agree with that the Bombay film industry's main language has been or was Urdu at any point of time.

    Besides, lcfatima and tonyspeed were making the point of the target audience, not the people who were working there; if an Englishman would make a Hindi movie, he would have to make it in Hindi, not English. The target audience also comprises of larger sections of people from parts of India who have no exposure to Urdu.
     
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