Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Language of Love

21st February is International Mother Language Day and our blog is hosting a celebration of languages. A series of blog posts by people from different walks of life - sharing their thoughts on languages, memories and more. International Mother Language Day is an observance held annually on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

(This post was sent to us by Mala Kumar. Mala is an editor and author who loves to 'talk' --even if it is in Tamil with a Hindi accent, in Kannada with a Tamil accent, in broken Marathi or Gujarati. But to all dogs, cats and cows, she coos in Tamil.)

Mamma mia! 

Every Italian says it, right? Right? 

No no, that is wrong! Only overacting characters in Hollywood movies hamming away to glory use the term, most Italians hardly ever say mamma mia!

Every Tamilian says Aiyyo at the start of every sentence, right? 

Haayraam, kya stereotyping hai! Of course not! Tamilians and Kannadigas only say it once in a way. (I hardly say it because of years of childhood conditioning where my grandparents and parents repeated often that it wasn't good to use this 'hopeless' word.)

Anyone who loves her mother language doesn't like it when people make fun of the language. So why do some of us love our mother languages? Because, ahaaa, it feels familiar and warm. It is like the rasam in a Tamilian household, the dal in the Hindi-speaking belt, the kadhi in a Gujarati home, the kanji in a Malayali hut. Mmmmm....

And why do some of us NOT love our mother tongue quite so much? Because, eeks, it is like the rasam in a Tamilian household, the dal in the Hindi-speaking belt, the kadhi in a Gujarati home, the kanji in a Malayali hut. Boring! 

Language is a tool to communicate. The mother language is a tool to communicate love and affection. It gives a sense of family that is true for every language in the world. It is the language that falls in your ears smoothly and automatically and easily without the brain having to struggle to decode what is being said. Ask any dog! 

(For proof, I present here a picture of a Chihuahua that behaved exactly like a child on her mother's lap--taking in what mamma was saying in Italian and nodding her head, but simultaneously taking in all that was happening around her in the water-bus in Venice!) 


Happy International Mother Language Day! 

blog comments powered by Disqus