Thursday, 23 February 2012

Can there be a unified Punjabi vocabulary?

Creation de Interlinga era possibile proque un grande numero de linguas european usa un vocabulario commun in textos scientific o technical. In Asia del Sud, quanquam, le situation es completamente differente. Ibi il ha un longa historia de divider linguas. On non pote cambiar grammatica e proque on simplemente commencia usar differente parolas. Division del hindustani a in duo linguas es un exemplo famose. Infelicemente panjabi potera haber le mesme fato.


Interlingua was possible in the first place because chief European languages have more or less a similar learned vocabulary. When it comes to creating new words the languages there invariably turn to either Latin or Greek, resulting in a situation where a person who is fluent in one language can at least get an idea of what a scientific or technical paper is about in another. T

he same, to some extent, I believe is true of Chinese and Japanese where a speaker of either language can at least get the gist of a scientific or technical paper because Classical Chinese serves as the source.

The situation is, however, radically different in South Asia where we have let irrationality take over us in past and have divided a single language (Hindustani) into two on the basis of learned vocabulary and are on the verge of repeating the same mistake once again with Punjabi.

In a sense it is a good thing that Punjabi is not a recognised language in Pakistan. If it were the government there would have to create new vocabulary and, given the antagonism between India and Pakistan, it's unlikely that they would use the term rajdhani (Eastern Punjabi, EP) for capital when dar-ul-hakumat is ideologically more attractive.

When we couldn't even agree on creating a single Punjabi Wikipedia, I sincerely doubt if we would ever agree on a mutually comprehensible vocabulary. Despite having two hugely disparate writing systems, the Chinese have got only one Wikipedia. The same goes for the Portuguese Wikipedia where significant differences in vocabulary and orthography didn't split it into two.

The Serbs manage their two scripts very well so I don't know what gets in the way. The automatic script conversion software is in beta stage. Therefore technology is not a barrier. At the same time it would be naive to think it is the Punjabi ego that comes in the way. The real reason lies in ignorance. 

I bet most people here aren't ever aware of the fact that about two-third people in Pakistan speak Punjabi. Years of propaganda has created a false notion here that everyone in Pakistan speaks Urdu. I am not aware of the conditions on the other side of the border but they must not be very dissimilar.

Anyway, there isn't much I think I can do. So just for fun I have collected half-a-dozen words (if I had free time I would have done better) that are either Western Punjabi or Eastern Punjabi but may not be understood when on the different side of the border:

English Eastern Punjabi Western Punjabi
Article nibaṃd mazmūn
Capital rājdhānī dar-ul-hakūmat
Astronomy khagol-vigyān falkiyat
World War viśva-yudh jang-e-azīm
Philosophy darśan falsafā
United Nations saṃyukta rāśṭar akvām-e-mut'hada