LANGUAGE AND ENVOIRNMENT
There seem to be no two opinions with the recent finding of UNESCO that Hundreds of languages and dialects around the world are threatened to disappear because of enforced illiteracy and migration. Finding reveals that almost half of the globe’s 6,700 languages and dialects are disappearing because people have stopped using them. In other words, parents and elders of these languages may no longer pass on these languages to their children and in the process, the languages might wither away leaving no signs of its existence for future generations.Reasons for this upheaval in languages are manifold. As already mentioned educational disadvantage including migration, and other manifestations eventually lead to the possibility of a culture and its language being weakened almost to the point of disappearance and obscurity.
As a matter of fact, language and culture are closely related and dependent on each other. Language is formed by culture, while culture is influenced and impacted by language. Culture and language shape, one’s identity and personality. Each human being is born the same way and experiences the same phases of life. The difference, however, is the environment in which one grows up and the language to which he/she gets accustomed to. This creates identities of a certain culture and language, differentiating one person from the other. The social, cultural, and natural environment of speakers influences the structures and development of the languages they speak.
People who migrated from Kashmir in the Nineties and are of my age, can understand Kashmiri and even talk and converse in this language. I for one, can even read and write in this language. Unfortunately, my children cannot because they were born and brought up in an entirely different lingo-cultural environment. Though they might very scarcely understand the meaning of some Kashmir words.
Culture has rightly been defined as the adaptation of ways of living built up by a group of human beings over the years and transmitted from one generation to another. Needless to mention that the social, cultural, and natural environment of local speakers influence the structures and development of the language of those speakers who by compulsion or due to some other reasons have shifted to some other lingual regions. The displacement, in addition to creating certain vital cultural glitches and obscurities, adversely affects the language that the ‘diaspora’ originally possessed.
As a matter of fact, a language thrives on the bulk of its native speakers and promising environment one has around. I spent most of my time in Hindi-speaking state like Rajasthan. Children, too, were born and brought up there only. My two daughters grew up speaking fluent Hindi amidst the Hindi oriented/dominated atmosphere around them. The younger one, who is now in the Maldives, always stood first in the Hindi debate-competitions during her college days.
I have experienced that whenever I went to Jammu/Kashmir to meet my people/ relatives etc. I would start speaking Kashmiri so fluently, while as when I was in South, I would start speaking English confidently and when I was back again to Rajasthan, I reverted to Hindi.
Its, perhaps, the environment and cultural situation that prompts, enriches, influences and stimulates one’s attitude and proficiency towards the language he chooses to speak in and the language-expanse he opts to live in.