Sunday, January 03, 2016

How to Rescue Bengali?

I try my hand on occasion to write in my mother tongue. It is becoming an increasingly tedious exercise. And the lack of a readily available tool for spell check is the least of my problems!

So what is it? Just the lack of practice? No, not at all. My blog will testify to my persistence over the years to keep writing in Bengali. I certainly speak the language at home. And will even admit to feeling a wee bit uncomfortable when forced to keep up in English for really long.

The truth is, we dont really use pure Bengali anymore! Most of our talking in the language is interspersed with English words. I struggle to find Bengali words for commonly used English ones.

My hunch is that, the western sensibilities to which we are all becoming more and more accustomed, require an evolution of our vocabulary to include words that we just did not need before! For example, I wanted to say, a person is very predictable, or he is very image conscious, or, I'd like some privacy. Check out the google translator. The corresponding Bengali words were archaic, outdated, and often missing the point! We dont have words for these concepts in Bengali, but these are very much a reality of our 21st century lives.

So I worry. How is a people defined, if not by their language? Language is the true soul of a culture. How else do you capture the diversity and expanses of a people's thoughts and emotions!