How have so many languages come up worldwide when developing a computer language requires so much effort?

by Chaitanya Charan dasAugust 6, 2014

From: Praveen Nayak (Pandurang Charan P)

You talked about Varna(caste) and Jati(subcaste). Could you please explain How have all these jatis and languages come into existence in the world and especially in India. To create a language is such a herculean tasks. If we look at material languages used in IT world (Java, C etc), entire company with so many employees has to be inplace to create and maintain a language. So have has this got created in India.

Answer Podcast

Transcribed by: Geetanjali Nath

Question: From Panduranga Charan Prahu, there are so many different languages in the world , there is so many species jatis which all have their own dialect, to we know that developing the language takes so much effort , if we talk about some thing like computer language like C or C ++ , languages it requires so much effort to develop these languages, so how did all the various languages int he world come about.

Answer:  If we look at the history of languages, as has been studied by the modern academic system, we understand that languages are living languages, in the sense that t, they grow based on how they are used. so withing languages in itself there are two kinds of analysis, one is called the descriptive and other is called prescriptive. Prescriptive analysis is the “this is how you should speak , this is how you should not speak”, but what ever is the prescriptive, that is not always followed by people. and when that is not followed by people then often he languages itself changes, and sometimes, and sometimes people focus on descriptive, ” ok this is how this has to be spoken then that descriptive becomes normative, normative means that becomes the standard. for example, in English there was widely accepted rule that we should not …………..,  to attack some one, to to attack to an attack, so if some one adds, “to abruptly attack someone “, “to brutally attack someone “, ” to maliciously attack some one “, so now normally the adverb should not ” to attack” is infinitive and should not be split, but now a days that rule is not followed. and the rule itself changes. So there is normative, it means that is what is considered as standard, and then there are around these normative, there are prescriptive and there is descriptive, so the prescriptive is this is how you should do, this is how you should do, that’s what the prescriptive tries to maintain the normative. but the descriptive is, that people talk and based on their needs and their suitability they will adjust the languages. so this is been true specially not just for English, but for all lived languages. I gave examples because that is the mode of instruction that we are having now and that is also the language I am most familiar also. but even if look at Sanskrit, we see that Sanskrit is itself an evolving language, but we consider Sanskrit as a language of scripture, so sometimes we may have an idea that it is an frozen language, no it is not this way, no the puranic Sanskrit is different from the upanishdic Sanskrit, it is much simpler, Upanishadic is more technical. so similarly, if we look at the Sanskrit of the fifth century and the Sanskrit of the fifteenth century, and the Sanskrit of today also the books are written , and today’s the Sanskrit is also different. Just as English one country the people may use three thou quite often, but now no one used that kinds of words. so the languages change, so how does it change, it changes based on usages, now why different people use differently, yes, because the language is the response to the world we live in, to the environment me live in, for example when there were nothing like computer, there would not have been a requirement for a word like computer and when there was no such thing as machine ,machine means as we know it machines, there may be different kind of machines, but then there was no need to something called as mechanic, so words evolve based on  changing socio-cultural , socio-political, socioeconomic and other circumstances, and words evolve and words are developed , words are modified, their meanings are changes and accordingly the languages also changes. So now all these examples I have given are of change within a language.But now sometimes this which is called the micro changes within the languages , so for example now, Indian-English is s in many significant ways different from American English. for example in Indian-English , the word wedding and marriage are often conflated, that means that both are said to mean the same thing. But in American English, the word “wedding”  is used to mean the occasion when two people marry each other, and marriage refers to the institution. So in American English  people don’t use the word ” please come for my marriage”, that would make no sense to people in American English. How do you come for “my marriage” ? Marriage is a state, how do we come , it is a condition. OK somebody is married and somebody is not married, so if you want to invite someone so you have to say “please come for my wedding”, so now this is example. Indian-English is quite distinctive dialect, we could say, often we use the word ‘dialect” to refer to something which is there for some very small group of people, but “dialect” basically means a particular variation within the languages . So just as Indian-English is significantly different from American-English, now over the years if it keeps varying more and more and more and it could well evolve itself into a different language. So we need to understand that human being by nature are responsive to their environments and  because of being responsive to their environment and because of being reflexive internally, in their thought processes, they come up with new words, and new words ways of expressing things , new uses for old words and new rules for usages of those words and by this gradually a language comes up. So if we look at even the scriptures, often it is , scriptures themselves may be narrated , say in one particular language, but if we have to understand that even at the time of scripture there were different people from different parts of the world , they had different rituals, they had different traditions and accordingly they would have had different languages also. So we know that Pali prakrat were the prominent languages when Buddhism was developing, Buddhism and Jainism developed , and they largely developed because the language of the elite, the Sanskrit, was no longer accessible to the general people and because these religions were propagated in the languages of the common people, so they spread much more faster, much faster. Now , one reason why bhakti spread very rapidly in the medieval ages was because the bhakti saints communicated int he languages of the masses. There were saints in Maharashtra like Tukaram Maharaj , or their were saints RamCharit manas by Tulsidas in north India, there were poets like Chandidas and then Narpundas and many others in Bengal. So these all popularized bhakti by using vernacular languages. So now we want to go back to the original, so this dynamism is innate to human languages. This is observed in the “history of the language” studies by the modern knowledge systems and this variety of languages is seen even in the vedic traditions. In the vedic tradition it is not that the scripture itself may have been written in a particular languages, but it is understood that different people speak different languages. Sridhar swami also mentions, in his Bhagavatam commentary that , not everyone speaks the standard language. We know that Chaitanya Charitamrta, Chaitanya charitamrta is written in Bengali, but when he is talking with the Madhava Brahmanas in Udipi , they are not going to know Bengali, or when he talking to Prakashnanda Saraswati in Varanasi, they are not going to know Bengali, so their conversation is in Sanskrit, but the book is written in Bengali. so like that , one of the qualities of Krishna that is described, He can communicate in many languages , now that itself means that there were many languages present in His time also. So the variety of human nature and human situations , expresses itself in variety of mods of human communication, and that’s how different languages come out. So now if you want to look at it’s history from the scriptural point of view, we have to understand that, originally , when Brahmaji hears and Brahmaji speaks , Bhrajmaji hears the word “tapa”, that is Sanskrit word, and then He speaks to Narada Muni also, there also he speaks in Sanskrit. But then from Vivasvaan onwards, Vivasvaan is the father of mankind, and from him in this particular ……… , we have ……………Manu and from him humanity starts progressing. Humanity starts developing design, expanding, and then because different are of different natures, and they live in different situation, over a period of time they develop different languages. So the Jaatis, in one sense , are subdivisions within the broad varanas, and each jaati developed his own distinctive identity based on the special thing that bind them together and gradually they may develop their own dialects also. So in general, different languages develop because different people live in different circumstances. and they respond to those circumstances in ways that are best suited for them. So it is a complex processes , but it is a universal processes. and so there is a universal processes of individualization, that means, universal means , it happens everywhere, individualization means – every individual adapts languages, In fact the way I use English, and the way you use English, there will be difference, although we are using the same language itself. so this individualization , when it spreads and some particular style becomes broader and then that becomes dialect, when that expands further , then that becomes a  language. So we understand that all these varieties results from three modes of material nature, Krishna says ,: …………..Prakrit jan gunan, so whatever variety we see in this world , that is ultimately the product of three modes of material nature. and that does not necessarily mean that “this language is in goodness and this language is in ignorance”, rather every language has a components which are in goodness and every language has components which are in ignorance. Because people who all are speaking those languages, generally they also spread across gamut, we should not think that Sanskrit itself an entirely pure languages. Yes Sanskrit is originated from a pure source , but it has been used for various purposes. When Buddhist scholar starting writing to refute the influence of the Brahmanas, then they tried to prove their own philosophy and they tried to spread atheism, because they rejected the authorities of vedas, Buddha did not speak about God, so now they wanted to atheism , so to establish atheism, they started writing books talking about atheism, in Sanskrit. so we may think Sanskrit is deva bhasha, but Sanskrit has been used to propogate “nastikvaaad”, and not just one or two books, but hundreds and hundreds of books these Jain scholars wrote. and in fact according to many historians based on these “extent books” means ” books which are available now about the book about which we know from     sources, among all the classical languages, maximum atheist books were written in Sanskrit. So that way we should not think , or we should not have some romanticized notion of Sanskrit language as an absolutely pure language, but yes it is pure because it has come from pure source, it is largely been using for pure purposes, but there have been people who have impure minded and they have also used Sanskrit for their various purposes. So by understanding the variety of circumstances externally, variety of mindsets in generally, which we understand ultimately emerge from three modes, it is due to them that there is a result of variety in various things even in languages. So now when compare all this with the languages  that are “computer languages”, the computer languages are of very different zone , although they may seem similar, or the words that you use for language may seem similar, they are , computer languages are used , primarily for communicating with unconscious machines and computer languages in themselves require , they are not interpreters of meaning, they are simple executors of action and that’s why  the same computer can ,with the same …………….. give a command by which a patient can be saved and give a command  by which a patient may be poisoned and killed, and that computer in the hospital can not understand any difference. So generally if the level of complexity of the computer language will be co related  on the level of complexity of the machine with which it is interacting and the kind of work that is expected out of that machine, and because this is artificially developed language, developed for a particular purpose, so often it is complex, and often the complexity is because it’s different from the kind of the languages that we use in our daily conversations.  For example if today we are told that “you learn the language of Causterica”, now if I have never met an Cautirican, and never likely to meet an Caustirican, the whole concept is very unfamiliar to me, to learn the language of causterica may seem very difficult. But the more the thing become familiar to us , the more thing will become easier for us. So the human language is not developed as the way computer languages are , its not that some body sits down and decides that “ok for this we will have this word, for this we will have this word”, no, there is natural organic development that happens for languages and because it is relatively organic , so the level of complexity depends on the level of the complexity of the situations people face , the complexity and development of their minds and accordingly the languages are developed. But the development of language is a conscientiousness and specific in terms of computer languages where as the development of the languages in terms of human languages, is natural and in one sense organic. So the complex they become, the human language is become complex, because people have to deal with concepts of complex situations, just as computer languages becomes complex, because they have to deal with complex computerized machines which has to execute complex commands. So in general it s responsive circumstances but human languages have developed , means we understand that Sanskrit is the original language and from their various variation have happened depending on physco-physical nature of people and the situations they live in.Thank you

Hare Krishna. 
About The Author
Chaitanya Charan das

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