January 5, 2014

We are becoming more conscious of the language we speak. Are we using the language just to communicate or is it something "reflective of our culture"? Actually, it is this tension between the two positions that bothers us sometimes. We know language is another name for evolution and yet we feel what we witness around us is no natural progression.

There is a sense of guilt that perhaps we are taking our language a little more casually than we should.

To begin with, there is the case of spoken language where we are generously mixing languages and seem quite comfortable with it. Khaled Ahmed explains in an interview that "effective speech cannot be a mixture of languages". But we don’t know how to go about doing it; whether it is going to be an individual effort or do we need some institution to guide us into making the "effective speech"?

The only institution that comes close to teaching the nuances of language is the media. But media, especially its electronic variant, is increasingly trying to emulate this conversational mode. As the field is expanding fast, this "conversational mode" seems to have been adopted straight from life, without training people into the rules of broadcasting.

The language of the electronic media is what makes one most uneasy. Otherwise, other forms of art like cinema in particular and literature too are using more conversational language than before.

In today’s Special Report, we have tried to look at this evolution, without necessarily saying what is happening is bad. We have interviewed three gurus in their respective fields who have looked at this evolution in greater detail than the common people. Interestingly, all three of them have defended the changes that languages are undergoing. Khaled Ahmed thinks they are becoming "more enriched". Arif Waqar suggests the cyber lingo will survive and respectable literature too will adopt it and "in a far more creative manner". Film writer Raja Sen is all for "natural and relatable conversations" in films.

Here’s to the language of today.