Andhra Pradesh

Native languages under threat from globalisation: Sahitya Akademi president

G.V. Poornachand, Secretary, Krishna District Writers' Association, greeting lyricist Ch. Seetharama Sastry during the fourth World Telugu Writers’ Conference in Vijayawada on Friday.  

The three-day fourth World Telugu Writers’ Conference commenced at the P.B. Siddhartha College of Arts and Sciences in the city on Friday. Telugu writers and poets from across the world have gathered to attend the conference.

With the United Nations announcing 2019 as the year ‘Year of International Mother Tongue Conservation,’ the three-day conference was convened with the motto, ‘Let us Protect our Mother Tongue.’

Former Deputy Speaker Mandali Buddha Prasad, who presided over the event, said that learning the mother tongue would sharpen a person’s mind. He said that it was high time that we realised how important it was to preserve our language.

“Studies from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) indicate that educating children in their mother tongues accelerates their mental growth, whereas teaching them a foreign language is likely to arrest their development, hence compelling them to drop out of school,” said Mr. Prasad.

English medium

Mr. Prasad criticised the State government’s move to impose English as the primary language of instruction in all primary schools across the State. He said that such a move would endanger our linguistic (Telugu) heritage, thereby leading to a depletion of the cultural knowledge carried through it.

Sahitya Akademi president Chandrashekhara Kambara highlighted that the repository of languages, dialects and the cultural heritage associated with it was sinking under globalisation, which has been constantly threatening its extinction.

“Poetry is the most sensitive of index of a language and it is dying at a rapid pace. Poetry now has become lifeless and insipid due to the changing cultural and linguistic context brought forth by globalisation,” said Mr. Kambara.

Colonial period

Mr. Kambara said that the threat to our native language could be traced back to the introduction of the English language in India during the colonial period and added that we still continued to be ruled by the superior forces of language.

“The very fact that English is a language of global importance reflects its superiority over our linguistic heritage. Even though we are independent now, we are still subordinate to the English language,” he said.

Linguistic identity

Professor in the Department of South Asia and Himalayan Studies of French National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations, Daniel Negers, who has done an extensive study on Telugu literature and translated many Telugu works into French, was also one of the guests at the conference.

“Your mother tongue is your identity. Anywhere in the world, people are first identified by the linguistic identity before anything else. It is of great importance that a language like Telugu, which is heard and spoke across places like the USA, Mauritius, Malaysia and many more should be preserved and ensured that such a heritage be passed down to our children,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 8:43:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/native-languages-under-threat-from-globalisation-sahitya-akademi-president/article30414406.ece

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