Punjabi language will not die: Expert

For all those who fear that Punjabi language will soon perish,here is some good news.

Written by Amrita Chaudhry | Ludhiana | Published: January 19, 2009 11:56 pm

For all those who fear that Punjabi language will soon perish,here is some good news.

Well-known linguist Dr Ranjit Singh Rangila from the Central Institute of Indian Languages,Mysore,says,“A language that has developed and grown over a thousand years can not die. It was said by Bulle Shah when not many knew it as Punjabi,and Guru Nanak composed his praises for God in this language. How many people spoke Punjabi at that time? At present,this language is spoken,studied and written in so many countries. A language that was spoken by a few thousand — the Census of 1931 showed that 23 persons in every 10,000 spoke Punjabi— is now being spoken by lakhs.”

Dr Rangila was speaking on the sidelines of a two-day seminar titled “Future of Indian Languages”,organised by the Bharatiya Sahitya Akademi.

When asked about more and more Punjabis preferring to speak Hindi and English as compared to Punjabi,he said,“This is not true. When we say that more Punjabis are speaking Hindi,we are looking at primary schoolchildren,who have to study the language to compete with their classmates. Look at the college students or the working class. Punjabis,who have attained their social roles,speak their mother tongue. I have seen girls working in multi-national IT firms speaking fluent Punjabi.”

He adds,“Moreover,we humans have the ability to learn more languages. If our children speak Hindi and English,it is an expansion of their capabilities. And if we think that expansion is killing Punjabi,then we are wrong.”

On the law passed by the state government to implement Punjabi as the official language,Dr Rangila says,“This is a commendable job.”

“When I talk about Punjabi language,I do not talk about the language from Punjab,I talk about the language that has been influenced by different tongues and dialects. The state government needs to see which Punjabi it is trying to implement. We have 84 types of spoken Punjabi languages.”

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