Language and Linguistics





Multilingualism is the incidence of language diversity in the life of a person, in a society, are in a culture and any language contact that may result from such incidents. Language diversity is commonly thought of as diversity of two or more
languages; I wish to point out that language diversity can also be usefully thought of as diversity within the same language Again, the incidence of language is commonly thought of as the use of language by way of production, reception, or reproduction
in the course of communication; I wish to point out that the incidence of language can also be usefully thought of as the meditate speech or even inner speech no less than an outer speech. In proposing these two extensions, namely, diversity within a language and language incidents in inner and meditate speech, I am motivated by a semiotic awareness that language has as much to do with human cognition as it has to do with human communication, as I have argued at length in my book. 


Languages in a semiotic perspective: The architecture of a
Marathi sentence
(Pune: Shubhada-Saraswat, 1997, Chapter of 1, 9).


This makes me keenly aware that the multilingualism studies today our excessively preoccupied get perilinguistic concerns of personality and its development, society and its development, and culture and its development. This leads to a relative
neglect of concerns that the move up centrally linguistic. I feel that the semiotic awareness of the cognitive dimensions by the side of the communicative dimension should serve to redress this imbalance.


A human beings lives in an inner world as well as an outer The human being’s consciousness monitors not only what is here and now but also what is there and then; indeed it evenly contemplates and monitor what is nowhere and may never have been or are will be. Human consciousness monitors and contemplates not only the environment but also the human response to it by way of over manipulation and covert exploration. A variety of things, therefore, pass through the human mind: observations of reality and on reality and claims on reality and from reality. Language does two distinct things with
these mental contents. It greatly assist copying with life by a communicating mental contents to one another and even to oneself and greatly assist cognizing reality by helping, often in combination with the visual imaging, the processing of mental contents in various ways. Language is therefore both a man made means of communication and   nature- made medium of cognition. As a means of communication, it helps people to gain social access and to secure cooperation. As a medium of cognition, it helps people to gain access to the world and to feel at home in the environment, inclusive of the human environment. Above all, it processes the message to be shared between the speaker and the listener.


The ancient Indians traced the progress of the message in the speaker from inner speech (pašyantī) through meditate speech (madhyamā) to outer speech (vaikharī); in the listener the message is said to progress in the opposite direction. A reasonably close match between what the speaker that intends to communicate (vivaka) and what the listener keeps discovering in a message (pratīyamāna) is what communication through language is chiefly about; it is the approximation of the interpretative the discovery to communicate intent. Looking out of the window, one sees boiling drops of water. One 'sees' that it is raining. One then recalls a dark shape seen on the horizon earlier. One 'sees' that one has seen a dark cloud. One wonders about the connection between the direct experience and then recalled experience, and welcomes the rain on a stuffy afternoon. One sees in a flash how the dark cloud has brought the welcome rain. This inner seeing, this figuring out is in a speech. One may silently say to oneself in English or Hindi or Marathi and hears oneself saying this are that thing; what was no more than figured out (sa-vikalpa) is now rendered quality-specify (sa-gua) with segments duly classified and sequenced in accordance with the cognitive Style of that language. That is mediate speech. One may then chose to speak out to another and chose what to speak about. The outcome is not merely figured and quality- specified but also accessibly formed (sa-ākāra) and so rendered intelligible to oneself to others (sva-para-savedya). That, finally, is outer speech. One hopes that the listener will arrive at a seeing that is it reasonably  close to what one intends the other to see. To sum up-----


(1)            Multilingualism is-

(a1)             The incidence of diversity in a kind mediate speech no less than out that speech.

(a2)      Within the same language no less than between two or more different languages together with.--

(b)        any language contact that may result from such incidents in the life of a person or in a society or in a culture.


It is about time that the move from these abstractions, pertinent as they are, on to the concrete traffic of in inner, mediate, and outer speech. Any worthwhile cognizing calls for a degree of abstractions of things, kinds of things, and connection between things in the mode of reason and also for a measure of concretion precipitating in to stories and pictures and the forces behind them in the mode of imagination. (The two modes are possibly to be associated with the Left and the right hemisphere respectively of the Cerebrum is the large forebrain.).




The late Professor James S Slotkin of Chicago, in his and undeservedly neglected book Social anthropology: the science of human society and culture (New York: Macmillan, 1950), recalls an incident from his own youth (re phrased here from memory and not cited verbatim).


(2)        (The scene in United States, the second quarter of twentieth century) I was taking a course in painting from life. One day I was slightly late; in my rush I offloaded my things in a corner of the hall.

(a)            There behind a screen the young women had just stripped herself. She gave a little shriek. I too recoiled in embarrassment.

(b)            A couple of minutes later, she was giving us a pose. Along with the other students, I was busy at the canvas, drawing and painting her. There was no sense of embarrassment on either side from

(c)            Let us consider what was going on either occasion.


No other words have passed the lips (a shriek is not a word), and probably none passed through the minds of the two either. Two very similar things have happened to the two in quick succession. The very dissimilar consequences on the two occasions can be attributed to two occasions can be attributed to two distinct points of view involved. They were conveyed non-linguistically but just as unmistakably. At third point of view comes into play as we consider the whole thing. Let us translate the inner speech in each phase into mediate and outer speech.


(3)        (a)       First occasion: ‘I have seen a young women naked: very embarrassing ‘/’A  Young man had seen me naked: most embarrassing ‘.

(b)               Second Session: ‘Here she is/Here I am -- nude model routinely giving a pose to some students of painting from life for their practice session’.

(c)               ‘We observe in review that the same young man sees the same young woman without her clothes on two successive occasions—first non-routinely with resulting acute mutual embarrassment and then routinely with no sense of embarrassment on either side. What is going on here?’


As we sagely wonder, we discern three distinct points of view underlying the inner, mediate, or outer speech. Consider, for example, the following three expansions in juxtaposition: (a) naked, (b) nude, (c) without any clothes on. The covert or overt response under (a) is from the ordinary point of view (b) is from the poetic point of view (Kāvya-pratyaya). The covert or overt response under (c) is from the technical point of view (šāstra-pratyaya).


            Language diversity is at the heart of language, even when it is taken singly. But let us tarry a little. The points of view here are associated with certain social roles (two ordinary citizens, artist’s model and are art student as client, scientific student of human life), with associated personality traits, and with certain cultures (civilized dealings, the practice of art, the practice of science). Underlying these, there is the modern European civilization at a certain juncture.

(Notice in passing that in the non-routine encounter, the young woman does not make a scene or cry sexual harassment). Can we imagine the three encounters duplicated more or less closely in, say, the traditional south Asian or South-west Asian civilizations? Language diversity clearly has ties with lifestyles.


            Another case study. The scene shifts.

(4) It is Moscow in June 1986. The present author was on a month-long academic visit.

(a)        The temperature was around 32 degrees Celsius, some what higher than the average for Moscow at this time of the year

            (b)             ‘It is rather warm today, ‘I said conversationally to my student-interpreter.

(c)        ‘You call this warm?’, she responded, ‘It is very hot indeed, I think I’m going to melt away!’. ‘In that case, ‘I sad in reply, ‘over at Delhi at this time you’ll probably evaporate!’.


            There are two distinct points of view associated with the two different speakers involved here, at (b) and (c). The remaining point of view, at (a), is clearly the technical point of view. The occasion is one and the same.  


(5)        (a)            ‘The temperature at 32 degree Celsius, higher than the average for the place and the season’: presumably a far higher temperature at Delhi.

            (b)                ‘rather warm’ at Moscow; very hot at Delhi.

            (c)            ‘very not indeed’ at Moscow.

            (d)             ‘I think I’m going to melt away!’: Over at Delhi ‘you’ll probably evaporate!’


            The technical point of view at (a) need not detain us further: both the Indian and the Russian speakers will concede this observation of reality: they differ, however, in their observations on reality. The Indian and the Russian speakers, at (b, c) respectively, are adopting the ordinary point of view. At (c l), the Russian playfully adopts the ordinary poetic point of view and the Indian joins the game. The two district ordinary points of view at (b, c) are associated with two bodily adaptations to two different climates. Presumably, the Indian would have achieved fairly bodily adaptation if he had stayed there long enough. (Such body-adaptation could of course be a short-term affair. Dipping one finger in hot water and another in coldwater, one goes on dip both fingers in some lukewarm water. In that case, depending on the point of view, one will find the lukewarm water cold or not respectively.) The language in its ordinary use remains the same, except that neither the Indian nor the Russian are native speakers of English, though both have a reasonably good control of it.


            The recognition that language diversity is intrinsic to languages was slow in coming. The Saussure-Meillet observation that each language forms a system to which everything adheres is a useful overstatement that needs to be qualified in certain ways: the lexicon has a place as a storehouse of the arbitrary and the unpredictable, the phonological and grammatical systems are notoriously leaky, and subsystems within a language can be competing systems rather than simply complementary systems. (Thus prefixation and vowel mutation collapse in kept, complement in hanged/hung, but compete in thrived/throve.)


            The insight that such competing subsystems may arise out of competing points of view is comparable to Mikhail Bakhtin’s identifying a plurality of independent and unmerged voices and consciousnesses in the Dostoyevskian novel. Can a language-user switch between languages? Between ordinary, technical and poetic voices (3a, 3b, 3c; 5cl) or between acclimatizing voices (5b, 5c), for example? Current discussions of multilingulism use concepts like code-switching or diglossia or repértoire and ideas like the correlation between political power and language dominance or the incompatibility between political unification and language diversity. Some of these concepts and ideas could certainly be extended from language networks to single languages.







            If diversity in points of view is one important source of language diversity with in the same language, it could also be a source of language diversity across languages. Specifically, such diversity may be relative to the cognitive structure of the sentence. (As I have argued at length in chapters 2-5 from my book mentioned earlier, sentences, sentence sequences and phrases have their respective cognitive structures and communicative structures. A point of view may underline the cognitive style or the communicative style of al language.)


            The sentence in its cognitive aspect is essentially bifocal. The bifocality is simply a fact of life, but thinkers have been slow to accept it. Some choose to represent a sentence simply as the enlargement of the predicate and others as the enlargement of the subject.


Consider the following:


(5)        The sentence: Brutus murdered Caesar.

            (a) Fregean analysis: Murdering is the function/predicate of the arguments Brutus and Caesar.

            (Predicate-Centred view)

            (b) Aristotelian analysis: Brutus is the one who murdered Caesar. (Subject-centred view)


            Ancient Indian grammarians and logicans raised the question, what is the chief qualificand (mukya-višesva) in the understanding of speech (šābdabodha)? The grammarians of the new school identified it as the message content of the verb (dhātvarta), while the grammarians of the old school and the logicians of the old and the new schools identified it as the message content of the nominal in the nominative case (prathamāntārtha).


            Either one of these ways of representing a sentence has its felicities and infelicities. For instance, sentences may differ in the number of arguments they feature.

(6)        (a1) Clouds appeared.

            (a2) He saw clouds.

            (a3) She showed clouds to him.


The predicate-centred view brings out the difference between these three better than the subject-centred view, which clumsily packs all arguments but one into the predicate (as with ‘Brutus is one who murdered Caesar’ cited earlier). Of course there are other felicities.

Again, sentences often come in mutually paraphrasing sets.

(7)        (b1) He gave the toy to the baby.

            (b2) The baby got the toy from him.

            (b3) The toy passed from him to the baby.


The subject-centred view brings out the difference between the three better than the predicate-centred view which clumsily fudges the distinctions. Again, there are other felicities. The undeniable fact is that the sentence is not an endocentric structure: the nexus between the two nuclei is not a qualificand-qualifier relation at all, but points to a whole story or a whole picture.

            Grammarians need to be go for a richer analysis than these two spare analysis: logicians can afford to rest content with these. The grammarian’s account of the sentence, however, has to provide for the insights:

 (8)       (a) Each argument of a predicate enters into a construct with the predicate, there being a limited number of such contracts and the corresponding positions. The subject position is just one such position.

            (b) The positions that are co-present can be assigned an order of priority. The first priority of the subject is just one such assignment.

            (c) The positions and their priority are defined with reference to one or the other of the two views. The subjects and its first priority has reference to just the subject-centred view.

            Note: According to the predicate-centred view, ‘the baby’ is the same sort of argument in (7b1, 7b2, 7b3): the same construct links ‘the baby’ with the respective verb predicates. Similarly,  with ‘clouds’ in (7a1, 7a2, 7a3). According to the subject-centred view, ‘clouds’, ‘he’, and ‘she’ are all subjects in (7a1, 7a2, 7a3). Similarly,  with ‘he’ ‘the baby’, and ‘the toy’ respectively in (7b1, 7b2, 7b3). The positions of ‘she’, ‘clouds’, ‘him’ (7a3) show successively lower priority on either view. Such is not the case with (7b2, 7b3).

            The two views be elaborated with the following sentence to illustrate them.

(9)        The sales man will give the samples free with a flourish to the crowd after the sales talk.

            According to the predicate-centred view, the sentence can be said to consist of the following:

(10)      (a) The obligatory predicate nucleus: the verb give, in the present case along with an auxiliary will and an elucidatory margin free.

            (b) Any obligatory complimentary margin: in the present case the agent  the salesman, the object the samples, and the tenant to the crowd.

            (c) Any optional amplificatory margin: in the present case the quality with a flourish and the time after the sales talk.

                        Note:             (1) the peculiar relation between the verb under (a) and the                                                 margins under    (b) has been variously described. These margins ‘saturate’the predicate, according to Frege. The ‘cohesion’ (sāmarthya) between the verb and these margins consists in mutual ‘compatibility’ (yogyatā) and mutual ‘expectancy’ (ākakâā /vyapekâā), according to ancient Indians.

                        (2) The ‘cohesion’ between the verb and the margins under (c) consists solely mutual ‘compatibility’, there being no mutual ‘expectancy’.


            According to the subject-centred view, the sentence can be said to consist of the following:


(11)                  (a) The obligatory subject nucleus: in the present case, the salesman.

                        (b) The obligatory predicate: the verb, in the present case, along with other elements, the whole being will give free.

                        (c) Any obligatory complementary margin: in the present case the theme the samples and the substrate to the crowd.

                        (d) Any optional amplificatory margin: in the present case the manner(amplifying b along with the theme if any) with a flourish and the circumstantial (amplifying b along with c as a whole) after the sales talk.


            Whether in a given sentence an agent/ object /tenant position is admissible or not will depend on the ‘expectancy’ of the verb (or the ‘selection’ by the verb, as Bloomfield would say). Whether in a given sentence a subject / theme / substrate position is admissible or not will depend both on the expectancy of the verb and on the specific communicative intention of the speaker with his point of view. The inclusion of optional margins under (10c) or (11d) will of course depend solely on the speaker’s communicative intention.


            Whether any argument is open to more than one assignment as between agent, object, or tenant, there is just a tendency to assign it a position of higher priority, agent rather than object or tenant, object rather than tenant. Whenever any argument is open to more than one assignment as between subject, theme, or substrate, there is just a tendency to assign it respectively to agent, object, or tenant.


            The following sentences illustrate the possibilities of verb expectancies in English whenever both the tendencies just mentioned are manifest. (To keep things simple, the optional amplificatory positions have been left unfilled.)


(12)                  (a) agt /subj, obj /thm, and tnt/ subs as in: He gifted the house to her. He gave the house as a gift to her.

                        (b) agt/ subj, obj/thm: She married him. She made him uneasy.

                        (c) agt/ subj, tnt/ subs: She voted for him. She became influential in thecompany.

                        (d) obj/ thm, tnt/subs (with a dummy subj): There abounded fish in the pond. There were fish in plenty in the pond.

                        (e) agt/ subj: She triumphed. She became president.

                        (f) obj/thm (with a dummy subj): There are ghosts. There are ghosts in plenty.

                        (g) tnt/subs (with a dummy subj): It hotted up for her. It grew too hot for her.

                        (h) (with only a dummy subj): It dawned. It became hot.


            Note: The second in each pair of examples has an elucidatory margin in the predicate nucleus.


            Let us call these frames routine sentence frames with routine positioning. As one will expect, each position has a manifestation (such as makers, over to order, concord) and an interpretation (as specified in the following).


(13)                  (a) The predicate is the core activity in the story or the core state of affairs in the picture.

                        (b) The agent is the initiator in the whole story or picture. The object is the input or undergoer or outcome the rein, literally or metaphorically speaking. The tenant is the source or site destination thereof, literally or                                 metaphorically speaking. (The interpretation of the optional positions quality, extent, place, time, ciorcumstance under 10d should be obvious enough.)  


Note: Thus, the so-called ‘experiencer’ is the metaphorical tenant of site or destination (as in, it was/became uncomfortable for her).


                        (c) The subject is the cognitive anchor of the whole story or picture. The theme is next-to-the-subject there in. The substrate is the immediate context thereof. The manner is a detail of the core activity or state of  affairs. The circumstantial is a detail of the less immediate context of the story or the picture as a whole.


                        Note: Any position with a dummy filler lacks interpretation. Any position without a filler lacks manifestation (as in, she changed for the party, she voted in every election). Any left-over filler under (b) needs to be assigned a position under (c) (as in, they made him repent, she was married by the priest, he was given a bribe, where him is agt / thm, by the priest is agt/subs, a bribe is obj/thm). 


            Three structures, then, are cop-resent in the sentence, namely, the predicate centred cognitive structure, the subject-centred cognitive structure, and the communicative structure (as I have argued at length in the book ch. 2-4). All three of these have their respective motivating points of view. To keep things simple, however, let us ignore the communicative structure, which has its own set of positions. We have kept the communicative structure routine through out the examples.


            The play of the points of view may get reflected in the choice of the verb itself.


(14)      (a) He gifted the house to her.

            (b) He endowed her with the house.

            (c) She obtained the house from him.


            Note: Consider also (7b1, 7b2, 7b3) in this connection.


            The play of the points of view may get reflected in the choice of the sentence frame that is to go along with the verb chosen. As one may expect, not all the sentence frames available with the verb will be routine sentence frames. Some may be non-routine or occasional sentence frames. Examples follow from English, Hindi, and Marathi.


(15)      From English:

            (a1) He presented flowers to her. (agt/subj, obj/thm, tnt/subs, routine frame)

            (a2) He presented her with flowers. (agt/subj, tnt/thm, obj/subs, occasional frame)


            (b1) The mayor opened the flower-show. (agt/subj, obj/thm, routine frame)

            (b2) The flower-show opened at the mayor’s hands. (obj/subj, agt/subs,occasional frame)


            (c1) There is a devil/ the the Devil among us. (dummy subj, obj/thm, tnt/subs, routine frame)

            (c2) A Devil /The devil is among us. (obj/subj, tnt/subs, occasional frame.)


            (d1) The officer was in charge of the matters. (agt/subj, obj/subs, occasional  frame)

            (d2) The matters were in the charge of the officer. (obj/subj, agt/subs, occasional frame)


            (e1) Does swarmed in the garden. (agt/subj, tnt/subs, routine frame)

            (e2) The garden swarmed with bees. (tnt/subj, agt/subs, occasional frame)


(16)      From Hindi:


            (a1)  rām-ne botal-men pānī bhar-diyā. ‘Ram filled water into the bottle’ (agt/subj, tnt/subs, obj/thm, routine frame)


Note: historically, Old Indo-Aryan would interpret this as ‘Ram carried water in a bottle.’ (compare Sanskrit bh¤-,bharņa with Latin ferre, Greek pherein, English bear.)


            (a2) rām-ne pānī-se botal bhar-dī. ‘Ram filled the bottle with water’ (agt/subj,obj/subs, tnt/thm, occasional frame – derived from a1)


            (b1) botal-men  pānī bhar-gayā. ‘there filled water in the bottle’ (tnt/subs, obj/thm,routine frame – derived from a1)

            (b2) pānī botal-men bhar-gayā. ‘water filled in the bottle’ (obj/subj, tnt/subs, occasional frame- derived from b1)

            (b3) pānī-se botal bhar-gayī. ‘there filled the bottle with water’ (obj/subs, tnt/thm,occasional frame – derived from a2)

            (b4) botal pānī-se bhar-gayī. ‘the bottle filled with water’ (tnt/subj, tnt/subs,occasional frame – derived from b3).


(17)      From Marathi:


            (a1) pakâā-ne uāve. ‘a bird should fly’ (agt/subj, routine frame)

            (a2)  pakâī  uāvā. ‘there should fly a bird’ (agt/thm, occasional frame)             


             (b1) rām-ne boǰā tollā pellā. ‘Ram supported the load’ (agt/ subj, obj/ thm,routine frame)


(b2) rām-lā boǰā tolaulā/pelaulā / pellā. ‘ there stood supportable the load to Ram’ (agt/ subs, obj/thm, occasional frame)


(c1) nokar gharī ālā. ‘there came the servant home’ (tnt/subs, agt/ thm, occasional frame)


(c2) gharī nokar  ālā. ‘there came the servant home’ (tnt/ subs, agt/thm, occasional frame)


One may note in passing that the routine overt order in the sentence is best stated in terms of the subject-centred view.


(18)      (a) The overt order in English can be stated as follows: O subject, 1 auxiliary, 2verb, 3 theme followed by elucidatory margin of verb or theme by itself or elucidatory margin of verb by itself, 4 manner, 5 substrate, 6 circumstantial

            (b) The overt order in Hindi or Marathi can be stated as follows using the number labels as in (a):


0 6 5 4 3 2 1


Note: The routine overt order in normal, adjectival, or adverbial phrases in English and Hindi/ Marathi are similarly mirror images of each other


Speakers, depending on inner and outer compulsions and tendencies, differ in their points of view. (Recall our two case studies.) where the language being used offers alternative frames (as in 15, 16, 17), the speaker will choose the alternative that is closer if not closest to his communicative intention. Likewise, where the language in use offers alternative verbs (as in 14).  





Languages differ in their cognitive styles. The cognitive style gets reflected in the differing sets of alternative sentence frames and alternative verbs that they make available to the speaker. Notice (for example) from (15, 16, 17) how English is much less prone to subject less frames than Hindi or Marathi is. (The turning up of subject less frames is, incidentally, awkward for the subject-centred view of sentence structure – recall. (Recall 7.)


The cognitive style also gets reflected in the differing sets of preferences. Availability of alternatives and preferences between alternatives may shift over time. (Recall 16 a`1).


The examples that follow have all to do with personal attitudes on the part of the so-called experiencer tenant. The Hindi and Marathi examples roughly correspond to the English examples in interpretation, to facilitate comparison.


(19) In English:


            (a1) Me thinketh so. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)

            (a2) I think so. (tnt/subj, obj/thm)


Note: (a1) was alone admissible in early Middle English and (a2) is alone admissible in late Modern English: preference shifted from (a1) to (a2) in early Modern English. Likewise, with dreameth and dream.


            (b1) She pleaseth me. (obj/subj, tnt/thm)

            (b2) I like her (tnt/ subj,obj/thm)


Note: Historically, the preference shifted from (b1) to (b2) in early Modern English. Like the shift from (a1) to (a2), this also highlights the ‘experiencer’. This is the period of Renaissance humanism.


(c1) I understood the difficulty, (tnt/ subj, obj/ thm)


Note: Historically, (c1) is a recent innovation and the far older (c2) continues to be preferred unless the far older (c2) continues to be preferred unless the technical point of view is adopted. Compare Old English Understand- (stand under, understand) with Sanskrit avagam- (go down, go to, learn, understand, know).


(20)                        In Hindi:


(a1) muǰeh/aisa lagtā-hai. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)

(a2) main aisā sočtā-hūn. (tnt/ subj, obj/thm)


(b1) vah muǰhe bhātī-hai. (obj/subj, tnt/ subs)

(b2) main use čāhtā-hūn. (tnt/ subj, obj/subs)


(c1) main ačan samaǰh –gayā. (tnt/ subj, obj/thm)


Also : samjhā.


(c2) main-ne ačan samaǰh-gayā. (tnt/ subj, obj/thm)


Note: historically, (c1) with samǰ is the older structure. Note that the tnt/ subj in

(c2).See further under (21)note .


            (c1) is less ‘active’ than the tnt/ subj in


In Marathi:


(a1) malā ase vāle. (tnt/ subs, obj/thm)

(a2) mī ase mānto. (tnt/ subj, obj/thm)


(b1) tī malā āvate. (obj/subj, tnt / subs)

(b2) mī tilā čānto. (tnt/ subj, obj/subs)


(c1) malā acaņ samajlī. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)

(c2) mī acaņ samajlo. (tnt/subj, obj/thm)


 Note: historically, (a1, b1, c1) won over (a2, b2, c2) in early Modern Marathi and Hindi. In contemporary Modern period, (a2, b2, c2) appear to be making a comeback, more so in hindi than in Marathi. We of course need to know much more. Contrast the historical Note at (19a, 19b).


Early in the argument, we saw how the speaker needs to make appropriate adjustments in his use of language, if there is a significant shift in the point of view thanks to inner and/ or outer compulsions. If the significant shift in the point of view comes to stay historically, the preference in the language system stand readjusted – as in (19, 20, 21). In such a readjustment, contact with another language may play a role.


(22       (a) English, shifts from the depersonalized one in the early Modern period (see 19a,b) and stays that way (see 19c) – the relatively new ‘passivized verb’ that depersonalized remains peripheral in the language.


            (b) Hindi and Marathi shift from the personalized statement of personal attitude to the depersonalized one in the Old period, but the personalized statement makes a partial comeback. (Is this second shift motivated by the influence of English? The influence of a modern bureaucratized set-up in public and private administration? We need to know much more to say something about the first shift.)


            The historical perspective that draws our attention to change in the given language or the availability of two or more languages to the speaker or the influence of one language on another also serves to bring to our attention certain other possibilities. Rather than the speaker adjusting his language use better convey the shift in the point of view, the speaker may do one of two other things: (i) the speaker may switch from the language at hand that is placing a limit on the scope of his choice to another available language: (ii) the speaker may switch from the point of view that comes naturally to him to another point of view for which the language more readily offers some appropriate manifestation – in other words, he stakes a communicative intention claim that does not come naturally to him.


            The speaker in this way has to sacrifice either the language that comes naturally to him or the point of view that comes naturally to him. Let us consider some examples of language diversity as diversity in cognitive style, taking up English, Hindi, and Marathi in turn. As with (19, 20, 21), the example at (23, 24, 25) will facilitate comparison.


(23)                       (a1)  I am under stress/tension. (obj/subj, tnt/subs)

             (a2) I incur stress/tension. (agt/subj, tnt/thm)

            (a3) I sustain stress/tension. (agt/subj, obj/thm)


            (b1) main enšan-se dab-gayā-hūn / parešān-hūn. (obj/sub, tnt/ subs)

            (b2) main –ne enšan mol-liyā hai . (agt/subj, obj/thm)

(b3) main  en šan bardāšt kar-rahā-hūn. (agt/subj, obj/thm)


(c1) malā enšan āle- āhe. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)

(c2) mī (-ne)  enšan ghetle- āhe. (agt/subj, obj/thm)

(c3) mī ¶enšan  ǰhelto- āhe. (agt/subj, obj/thm)


Note: Does the language make the desired passage from (1) through (2) to (3) harder or easier? Given the sets of preferences, Marathi speakers are perhaps batter of than hindi speakers and Hindi speakers better off than English speakers. Of course we need to know much more.


(24)      (a1) I helped Ram out of difficulty. (agt/subj, tnt/thm, tnt/subs)

(a2) Ram was out of difficulty with my help. (obj/subj, tnt-destn/subs, tnt-site/subs)


(b1) main –ne rām-kī madad kī. (agt/subj, tnt/subs, obj/thm)

(b2) rām-ne muǰh-se madad lī. (agt/subj, tnt/subs, obj/thm)


(c1) mī (-ne) rām-la madat kelī. (agt/subj, tnt/subs, obj/thm)

(c2) rām-la māǰhī madat jhālī. (tnt-destn/subs, tnt-source /subs, obj/thm)


Note: Given the sets of preferences, which language helps the speaker to be ethically more modest? Notice that (c2) literally means ‘Ram-to my help happened.’ Cf. Bhagavadgīta 11:33.


(25)                  (a1) I know the answer/solution to this. (tnt/subj, obj/thm)

(a2) The answer /solution to this is known to me. (obj/subj, tnt/subs)


(b1) main is-kā-hal /uttar ǰāntā-hūn. (tnt/subj, obj/thm)

(b2) mujhe is-kā-hal/uttar māum / augat-hai. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)


(c1) mī hyā-ce-uttar jāņūn- āhe/ jāņto. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)

(c2) malā hyāce-uttar mā hīt/hāūk- āhe. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)


Note: Given the sets of preferences, which language helps the speaker to be socially more confident/more modest?


( 26)                 (a1) The servant lost the key. (agt/subj, obj/thm)

                        (a2) The key got lost by the servant. (obj/subj, tnt/subs)

                        (b1) nau kar-ne čābī kho-dī. (agt?subj, obj/thn)

                        (b2) nau kar-se čāb#ī kho-gayī. (tnt/subs, obj/thm

                        (c1) nokrā –ne killī/cāvī nokrā-kaūn harau li. (agt/subj, obj/thm)

                        (c2) killī/cāvī nokrā-kaūn harau li. (obj/subj, tnt/subs)


Note: Given the sets of preferences, which language helps the speaker to be socially more strict/more lenient?


Other things being equal, of course: if the servant is replaced by someone closer or the speaker himself or if the key is replaced by some more (or less) dispensable item the sets of preferences will be different.

Here are some more examples in which the gaps in the possibilities of these languages are more glaring.


(27)      (a1) There is a bag of my own/of mine. (obj/thm, tnt/subs)

(a2) I have (got) a bag (of my own). (tnt/subj, obj/thm)


(b1) mere-pās apnī-ek-thai lī hai  . (tnt/subs, obj/thm)

(b2) (a2 is a simply unsayable in Hindi)


(c1) māǰnā-java˝ svatā-č#ī-ek-pišvī  āhe. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)

(c2) (a2 is simply unsayable in Marathi)


(28)      (a1) The thief sprinted. (agt/subj)

            (a2) The thief got sprinted. (Inadmissable passivation of verb)


            (b1) čor dau ¤ā. (agt/ subj)

            (b2) čor-se dau¤ā –gayā .(tnt/subs)


            (c1) cor dhāulā. (agt/subj)

            (c2) corā-čā-ne dhāule-gele. (tnt/subs)


(29)      (a1) The train/bus reached kalian at nine. (obj/subj, tnt/thm)

            (a2) kalian arrived at nine (by train/bus). (Inadmissable)


            (b1) gā,r#ī nau-baǰe kalyān (-tak) pahun č#ī. (obj/subj, tnt/subs)

            (b2) (,r#ī naū-vājtā kallyāņ āya/ā-gayā. (Inadmissable)


            (c1) gāī naū-vājtā kallyāņ-lā polclī. (obj/subj, tnt/subs)

            (c2) (gāī-ne) naū-vājtā kallyāņ- āle. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)


Note: compare Christmas has arrived with (a2).



(30)      (a1) The loss of revenue was due to apathy. (obj/subj, tnt/subs)

            (a2) Apathy was responsible for the loss of revenue. (agt/subj, tnt/subs).


Note: This is late Modern English.


            (b1) udāsīntā-ke-māre āmdani-men ghāā rahā. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)

            (b2) udāsīntā āmdani-ke- ghāe-ke-liye zimmedār hai . (Inasdmissable, felt to be Anglicism)


            (c1) audāsīnnyā-mu˝e utpannā-t  gha¶ jhālī. (tnt/subs, obj/thm) 

            (c2) audāsīnnya utpannā-tīl gha#ī-sāth#ī jabābdār āhe. (agt/subj, tnt/subs). (Marginally admissible, though felt to be Anglicism)



            The discussion along with the examples (22-30) should lead to some unexpected observations on language diversity and language contact in respect of points of view: (i) Modifying one’s own language under the influence of another (by way of new manifestations, new interpretations, new set of preferences) or switching from one’s own language or sub-language to another need not be an undue sacrifice: it could be a gain. (ii) Modifying one’s own point of view or switching from one’s own point of view to another need not be an undue sacrifice: it could be a gain. (iii) whatever the loss or gain, the sheer availability of more than one representation of reality or design of copying with life is probably more often a gain than a loss, especially when these are motivated by alternative points of view. (iv) Measures of gain or loss are with respect to cognition styles (28, 29, 30) or copying as guided by personality (23, 24) or society 25, 26) or, culture (22, 27).


            A consideration of these observations and a close study of (21-30) should be of special relevance at the present time in India. Many persons are getting exposed to more than one language. (Many Marathi speakers are getting exposed to Hindi and/ English, for example.) Some persons are predicting or even arguing that some languages have to give. Which ones? And will they? And should they?


            One more observation, and I conclude. At the close of section II. I offered a methodological observation that concepts and ideas coming out of current studies in multilingualism may be use for single language analysis considering that language diversity can turn up within the same language. Now I have to offer a complementary observation that concepts and ideas coming out of current studies in single language may be of use for studies in language contact, translation processes, language repertoire, or language network. I have in mind concepts like presentation and representation of reality or cognitive and communicative structures or search acts and ideas like the motivation of syntax by points of view or the reinforcement of communicative orientation by junctures, accents, and tones. It is time that multilingualism studies get out of the rut they have fallen into.


            There is much talk about the importance of biodiversity. The principle of ‘the more the merrier’ is also true of language diversity. I am not thinking of the dying out of dialects and languages so much as the awareness and accessibility of the world-views and lifestyles they embody. Points of view is only the help of the iceberg. Three cheers for glotto diversity!


            The author’s address: Ashok R. Kelkar, 7, Dhananjay, 759/33 off Bhandarkar Road, Pune-411004. Comments will be welcome.





            This is based on a lecture delivered at a seminar on Multilingualism at the Department of Linguistics, University of Delhi, January 1998. It has remained unpublished.