A look at the circumstances in which an apparently “dead language” can come to life again, with specific reference to SanskritLanguage Revitalization
What is language revitalization? Language renewal Language Language Language Shift Reversal Revival renewal
LANGUAGE REVITALIZATION IS THE ATTEMPT TO ADD NEW LINGUISTIC FORMS OR SOCIAL FUNCTIONS TO AN EMBATTLED MINORITY LANGUAGE WITH THE AIM OF INCREASING ITS USES OR USERS. MORE SPECIFICALLY, LANGUAGE REVITALIZATION ENCOMPASSES EFFORTS WHICH MIGHT TARGET THE LANGUAGE STRUCTURE, THE USES OF THE LANGUAGE, AS WELL AS THE USERS OD THE LANGUAGE. LANGUAGE REVITALIZATION MIGHT ENTAIL CORPUS PLANNING, STATUS PLANNING, AS WELL AS ACQUISITION PLANNING (KING, 23)Language shift reversal, language revival and language renewal are concepts often associated with language revitalization
OR ―IMPARTING NEW VIGOR TO A LANGUAGE STILL INLIMITED USE, MOST COMMONLY BY INCREASED USETHROUGH EXPANSION OF DOMAINS.‖ (PAULSON ET AL.,1993: 276)OR ――THE RESTORATION OF VITALITY TO A LANGUAGETHAT HAD LOST OR WAS LOSING THIS ATTRIBUTE WHICHMAY ADD BOTH NEW SPEAKERS AND NEW FUNCTION,SPREADING THE LANGUAGE TO BABIES AND YOUNGCHILDREN WHO BECOME ITS NATIVE SPEAKERS… AT THESAME TIME IT ADDS THE FUNCTIONS ASSOCIATED WITHTHE DOMAIN OF HOME AND FAMILY, RESULTING INVARIOUS KINDS OF INFORMAL AND INTIMATE LANGUAGEUSE AND THE RELATED EMOTIONAL ASSOCIATIONS OFTHE LANGUAGE. (SPOLSKY, 1995:178)
LANGUAGE PLANNING : A BRIEF REVIEW AS IT RELATES TO LANGUAGE REVITALIZATIONCorpus planning, status planning and acquisition planning
CORPUS PLANNING IS DEFINES AS THOSE ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE PLANNING WHICH ARE PRIMARILY LINGUISTIC AND HENCE INTERNAL TO THE LANGUAGE .Examples are modernization of the lexicon, or graphization of a previously unwritten language. ( It is a linguistic system)
STATUS PLANNING IS DEFINED AS THOSE ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE PLANNING WHICH REFLECT PRIMARILY SOCIAL ISSUES AND CONCERNS HENCE ARE EXTERNAL TO THE LANGUAGE.For example offilization of a language or its promotion as an international language (uses)
ACQUISITION PLANNING EFFORTS TARGET THE POTENTIAL OR ACTUAL USERS OF A LANGUAGE, INCLUDING EFFORTS TO INFLUENCE THE ALLOCATION OF USERS OR THE DISTRIBUTION OF LANGUAGES, MOST OFTEN THROUGH THE CREATION OF IMPROVEMENT OF OPPORTUNITIES OR INCENTIVES TO LEARN THEM (HORNBERGER, 1994: 79)Examples of acquisition planning are through a language’s promotion in school mass media or work spheres.
Fishman’s Language Shift Reversal of LSR King (25) explains Fishman’s Reversing Language shift saying that it focuses o reinstating the language in the home, as the primary language of parent child communication. He further explains that Fishman emphasized all efforts which fall short of this critical aim are short term gains which merely bide time before the inevitable loss of the language. To Fishman, King explains, the only lasting and significant gain is reinstatement of mother tongue transition of the language. King concludes that though the expansion of the use of the language to new domains might e an important aspect of the process of RLS, the primary and critical aim is reinstatement of home and family transmission.
Language Renewal and Language RevivalLanguage revival is ―The act ofreviving a language that was no longerused by any native speakers (Paulsonet al., 1993:279) Language renewal is ―An organized adult effort to ensure that at least some members of a group whose traditional language has a steady declining number of speakers will continue to use the language and will promote its being learned by others in the group (Otto, 1982; in Brandt & Ayoungman, 1989:43)
According to UNESCO, ― It is estimated that, if nothing is done, half of 6000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century. With the disappearance of unwritten and undocumented languages, humanity would lose not only a cultural wealth but also important ancestral knowledge embedded, in particular, in indigenous languages.‖As such their Endangered Languages Programme is to support communities,experts and governments by producing, coordinating and disseminating :tools for monitoring, advocacy, and assessment of status andtrends in linguistic diversity,services such as policy advice, technical expertise and training, good practices and a platform for exchange and transfer of skills.
Sanskrit According to the Ethnologue, Sanskrit is a language of India, classified as an Indo- European, Indo- Iranian or Indo-Aryan language. Its literacy rate in L1 is 60%to 100% and its literacy rate in L3 is 15%- 25%. Its writing system is Sharada Script. According to Sir William Jones, a scholar of ancient India, "The Sanskrit language is of awonderful structure, more perfect than Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either"
Interesting theory on the languageUma Saini, Senior Lecturer at the Centre of language education at the JohnsHopkins University quotes an interview of Dr. Dean Brown who expresses thatSanskrit in fact is the mother of all European languages and the roots of manyEnglish words can be traced to Samskritam.Professor Dean Brown is an eminent Theoretical Physicist and SanskritScholar, who has recently translated theUpanishads
Contribution to Linguistics: Many believe that works on Sanskrit gave way to modern linguistics. It’s one of the world’s Oldest Languages!Panini was a Sanskrit grammarian who gave a comprehensive and scientific theory of phonetics,phonology, and morphology. Sanskrit was the classical literary language of the Indian Hindus andPanini is considered the founder of the language and literature. It is interesting to note that the word"Sanskrit" means "complete" or "perfect" and it was thought of as the divine language, or language ofthe gods.
Sanskrit has undergone mostaspects of language revitalization
Implementation by the state―The state’s anxiety both about Sanskrit’s role in shaping the historical identity of the Hindunation and about its contemporary vitality has manifested itself in substantial new fundingfor Sanskrit education, and in the declaration of 1999 –2000 as the ―Year of Sanskrit,‖ withplans for conversation camps, debate and essay competitions, drama festivals,and the like. This anxiety has a longer and rather melancholy history in independent India, farAntedating the rise of the BJP. Sanskrit was introduced into the EighthSchedule of the Constitution of India (1949) as a recognized language of thenew State of India, ensuring it all the benefits accorded the other fourteen (nowseventeen) spoken languages listed. This status largely meant funding for Sanskrit collegesand universities, and for a national organization to stimulate thestudy of the language‖. (Sheldon Pullock)Sheldon Pullock is a professor od Sanskrit and Indian studies at the University of Colombia.
It is recognized as an InternationalLanguage Consider this course description given by the University of Toronto- these reasons can be viewed as reasons for revitalization of the language Why Study Sanskrit? • The oldest surviving documents written in an Indo-European language are written in Sanskrit. Its grammar is the closest to Proto Indo- European, as it has, for example, retained more of Proto Indo-European’s cases than other Indo-European languages have. • It is the cornerstone of scholarship recognizing the deep linguistic affinities between Europe and Asia. • The importance of the Sanskrit language for the study of Asia can hardly be overestimated; what Greek and Latin have been to Western history, Sanskrit is to the histories, religions, cultures, and societies of Asia. • Its "discovery" by British colonialists in India was instrumental in generating the field of comparative linguistics. • For more than three millennia Sanskrit was the lingua franca of the Indian subcontinent, the language of science, knowledge, and culture. • It formed the basis of several of the world’s great religions — Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and was the primary language for the production of knowledge in these traditions. • It would be difficult to study any of these religions in their South Asian phases without knowledge of Sanskrit. • Its spread formed the basis for literacy in much of South and Southeast Asia, as well as Tibet and even today its influence can be widely evident in these areas. • One of the great classical languages of the world, the Sanskrit languages renowned for the sophistication of its phonetic structure and is the basis for many of modern South Asia’s languages—Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi—as well as the classical Prakrit and the language of Buddhist scripture, Pali.
The University of Toronto alsoventures to give some interestingfacts • Sanskrit belongs to the Indo-European family of languages and therefore shares many similarities in structure and vocabulary to many European languages (this includes English • Sanskrit had an elite status in South Asia and was closely connected to religion. ( Pulock attributed this to the decline of Sancrit in The Death of Sanscrit‖) For millennia, however, it was also the primary language for literature and the arts, as well as for sciences and other branches of knowledge. Like Latin for Christianity, few people spoke it at home. However, nowadays there are several communities in India that practise spoken Sanskrit and use it regularly. • Some of the oldest texts of the world were composed in Sanskrit — around 1500-2000 BCE? • The first Sanskrit texts were composed orally, in such tight poetic meter that they have been preserved virtually without change to this day? • Many European intellectuals in the nineteenth century were influenced by Sanskrit poetry? For example, the German author Goethe borrowed from the great Sanskrit playwright Kalidasa forthe Vorspiel auf dem Theatre in Faust. • The first texts on yoga were composed in Sanskrit? • "Zen" is the Japanese pronunciation of a Chinese word ("chan"), which is a Chinese pronunciation of a Sanskrit word ("dhyan"), meaning "meditation"?
According to an article by Meera Vohra in The Times of India, published in May of 2011 ―Sanskrit has been defined as the language of the rishis( saints)but in the present times it stands as gradually becoming a lingua franca of the Internet savvy, youngsters who are showing deep interest in the language and even forming Sanskrit speaking communities.” According to Professor K.D. Tripathi, of the Baneras Hindu University, Sanskrit is still spoken in villages of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh in India as a first language.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMWostFwwJc&feature=related