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From many emails by students so far, it has become a trend to use heavily Sanskritised Hindi in emails whenever the language is being used for #communication. The people using it know themselves well, and I would like to share a short #history of Hindi, because it is very apparent that this history is not known to these users.
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#British linguists were keen on teaching army and navy officials this language they called "#Hindoostanee" which seemed to be understood far and wide in the Northern provinces of the #subcontinent to ease conversations with the locals. But due to its striking variedness, the linguists had a task to #standardise its #vocabulary and #grammar. They chose the #Khariboli dialect (of #Delhi) for this purpose.
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Khariboli, being influenced by #Islamic rule for centuries, was mixed with the vocabulary of Persio-Arabic origin along with the basic grammar of #Prakrit languages. British linguists sought after the "pure" form, one that entirely used the vocabulary of their linguistic ancestor, in this case, Sanskrit.
The vision was to revitalise the language before the Islamic invasion" as they genuinely believed that the new vocabulary made it difficult for natives to understand it.
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#Pandits were brought in to assist with this project, because who else knew Sanskrit as well as the pandits? Literally, no one else-- Sanskrit had been a dead language for VERY long, and its #literary significance kept its knowledge strictly within spheres of Hindu scholars. Sanskrit was more alien than the Perso-Arabic borrowings which were available to the masses for centuries.
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Pandits were thrilled the 'God's language' would finally get the recognition they believed it always deserved. They gaslit many great poets and writers from #UttarPradesh who did not support this so-called 'purification' into believing that this is in fact a 'grand #unification project' that will bring all Hindus together.
What was the impact of the project? Standardisation killed many languages of the North, and relegated them to '#dialects of Hindi'. #Braj, #Awadhi, #Kannuaji, #Bundeli and many more now have dwindling native speakers. The speakers themselves call their native language 'Hindi' now.
Children learn their dialects at home, and then get a confusing #education of the standardised Hindi in school. Native 'Hindi' speakers failing 'Hindi' classes is not an uncommon sight.
Sanskritisation took away comprehension of people's own language. Imagine someone coming up to you, saying gibberish, and saying "This is your native language. Why don't you understand?" and labels you '#illiterate'.
Standardisation first gaslighted #NorthIndians into believing they all were speaking the exact same language. Sanskritisation then gaslighted people into believing they didn't know their own language!
So, before you ironically or unironically use Sanskritised Hindi in your emails, remember that a lot of your peers' #mothertongue was entirely replaced with that, and even 'native' Hindi speakers may not know what you're saying because their families historically never had access to Sanskrit.
I hope this sensitises people about today's Hindi and their native 'Hindi' peers. Knowledge is power, and I wish this gives the power to people to be more considerate and less careless.
@dhruvasambrani Thanks for the thread, really appreciated.
Interesting how islamophobia and anti-SWANA racism crop up in language standardisation; also in Turkish standardisation / "language revolution" the primary targets of purification were loanwords from Arabic and Persian.
The effect is dire enough that "translations" of books from even 1940s or 50s are common.
Thanks for sharing! I don't work with linguistic, but I work with onboarding students from other countries into our graduate program, and it is always good to know the different issues that people face around the globe!
@dhruvasambrani I would add that the colonial "purification" project was appropriated and amplified after Partition by Sangh Parivar politicians, who funded Sanskrit pandits to rectify other N Indic languages, not just Hindi but also Marathi. I studied with some of them 25 years ago. It was a lucrative side job, working for these government commissions on correct language.
Something similar is happening in China, where Beijing Chinese is enforced in national curricula at the expense of all the other kinds of Mandarin, which is a vast and varied cluster of languages. Kids don't understand their grandparents.
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