Thursday, February 18, 2010

Playing with the Languages

Few days back I was in Karachi and read an interesting board “Urdu University”. Well for many there is nothing wrong with the caption as we are used to mixing English with Urdu. But what caught my attention was that if the Urdu University cannot translate “University” into Urdu, what good is it for? I was in Iran sometime ago where they have virtually everything translated into Persian. “Danish-Kada for college” and “Danish-Gah for university.” That’s how languages prosper. But if we start to spell the same words of English into Urdu, this means death of intellectual pursuits. 

But this ineptness on the part of our intellectuals doesn’t end here. Watch any TV channel of a regional language and one will be amazed to find almost half of Urdu mixed with that particular regional language. For example, I was just surfing through the TV channels and came across Rohi channel and it was fun watching the Saraiki language. “Lawa-he-keen” (the family members or the bereaved members of someone lost) is an Urdu word and so are “Hartal” and “Tajaweez (suggestions”. Aren’t these? What about “Nadar Mushahida – unique observation”  or “Yak Tarfa Traffic – one way traffic.” And there is no end to listing such usage. 

Wouldn’t it be right to use the right kind of translation when speaking a regional language? Or are we happy with Punglish?


Asghar Javed said...

Yes, the right thing is to use the right kind of translation when speaking a regional language? This happens when you take pride in right things. Sadly, we don't.