OF THE VIEW ACROSS LANGUAGES AND CONTACT
A SEMIOTIC PERSPECTIVE ON 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,
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.
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 (vivakṣa) 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-guṇa) 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-saṁvedya). 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.
the same language no less than between two or more different languages
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
(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.
(a) First occasion:
‘I have seen a young women naked: very embarrassing ‘/’A Young man had seen me naked: most embarrassing ‘.
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’.
‘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
(4) It is Moscow in June 1986. The present author was on a month-long
(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.
‘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
(a) Fregean analysis:
Murdering is the function/predicate of the arguments Brutus and Caesar.
(b) Aristotelian analysis:
Brutus is the one who murdered Caesar. (Subject-centred view)
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).
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.
He saw clouds.
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
Again, sentences often come in mutually paraphrasing
He gave the toy to the baby.
The baby got the toy from him.
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.
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.
The positions that are co-present can be assigned an order of priority.
The first priority of the subject is just one such assignment.
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.
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).
two views be elaborated with the following sentence to illustrate
sales man will give the samples free with a flourish to the crowd
after the sales talk.
to the predicate-centred view, the sentence can be said to consist
of the following:
The obligatory predicate nucleus: the verb give, in the present
case along with an auxiliary will and an elucidatory margin
Any obligatory complimentary margin: in the present case the agent
the salesman, the object the samples,
and the tenant to the crowd.
Any optional amplificatory margin: in the present case the quality
with a flourish and the time after the sales talk.
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’ (ākaṅkâā /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’.
to the subject-centred view, the sentence can be said to consist of
(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
(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.
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.
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.
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
(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
(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
(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.
second in each pair of examples has an elucidatory margin in the predicate
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
(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
(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).
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.
of the points of view may get reflected in the choice of the verb
(14) (a) He gifted
the house to her.
(b) He endowed
her with the house.
obtained the house from him.
also (7b1, 7b2, 7b3) in this connection.
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:
presented flowers to her. (agt/subj, obj/thm, tnt/subs, routine frame)
presented her with flowers. (agt/subj, tnt/thm, obj/subs, occasional
mayor opened the flower-show. (agt/subj, obj/thm, routine frame)
flower-show opened at the mayor’s hands. (obj/subj, agt/subs,occasional
is a devil/ the the Devil among us. (dummy subj, obj/thm, tnt/subs,
(c2) A Devil /The devil is among us.
(obj/subj, tnt/subs, occasional frame.)
officer was in charge of the matters. (agt/subj, obj/subs, occasional
(d2) The matters were in the charge
of the officer. (obj/subj, agt/subs, occasional frame)
swarmed in the garden. (agt/subj, tnt/subs, routine frame)
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
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.)
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
botal-men bhar-gayā. ‘water filled in the bottle’
(obj/subj, tnt/subs, occasional frame- derived from b1)
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 u∙āve. ‘a bird should fly’ (agt/subj,
(a2) pakâī u∙āvā.
‘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)
tolaulā/pelaulā / pellā. ‘ there
stood supportable the load to Ram’ (agt/ subs, obj/thm, occasional
nokar gharī ālā. ‘there came the servant home’ (tnt/subs,
agt/ thm, occasional frame)
gharī nokar ālā.
‘there came the servant home’ (tnt/ subs, agt/thm, occasional frame)
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
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).
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.)
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).
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
(19) In English:
Me thinketh so. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)
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.
She pleaseth me. (obj/subj, tnt/thm)
I like her (tnt/ subj,obj/thm)
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/
(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).
(a1) muǰeh/aisa lagtā-hai.
(a2) main aisā sočtā-hūn.
(tnt/ subj, obj/thm)
(b1) vah muǰhe bhātī-hai. (obj/subj,
(b2) main use čāhtā-hūn.
(tnt/ subj, obj/subs)
(c1) main a∙čan samaǰh –gayā. (tnt/
(c2) main-ne a∙čan samaǰh-gayā. (tnt/ subj, obj/thm)
Note: historically, (c1) with samǰhā is the
older structure. Note that the tnt/ subj in
(c2).See further under (21)note .
(c1) is less ‘active’ than the tnt/
(a1) malā ase vā¶le. (tnt/
ase mānto. (tnt/ subj, obj/thm)
(b1) tī malā
āva∙te. (obj/subj, tnt / subs)
(b2) mī tilā čānto.
(tnt/ subj, obj/subs)
malā a∙caņ samajlī. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)
mī a∙caņ 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.
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.)
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.
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.
(a1) I am under stress/tension. (obj/subj, tnt/subs)
(a2) I incur stress/tension. (agt/subj,
I sustain stress/tension. (agt/subj, obj/thm)
main ¶enšan-se dab-gayā-hūn
/ parešān-hūn. (obj/sub, tnt/ subs)
main –ne ¶enšan mol-liyā hai .
šan bardāšt kar-rahā-hūn. (agt/subj, obj/thm)
malā ¶enšan āle- āhe. (tnt/subs,
ghetle- āhe. (agt/subj, obj/thm)
¶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.
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)
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)
The answer /solution to this is known to me. (obj/subj, tnt/subs)
main is-kā-hal /uttar ǰāntā-hūn.
mujhe is-kā-hal/uttar māum / augat-hai. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)
mī hyā-ce-uttar jāņūn- āhe/ jāņto.
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.
(b1) nau kar-ne čābī kho-dī. (agt?subj, obj/thn)
(b2) nau kar-se čāb#ī kho-gayī.
(c1) nokrā –ne killī/cāvī nokrā-ka∙ūn harau li. (agt/subj,
(c2) killī/cāvī nokrā-ka∙ūn harau li. (obj/subj,
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
(27) (a1) There is a bag of my own/of mine. (obj/thm, tnt/subs)
I have (got) a bag (of my own). (tnt/subj, obj/thm)
mere-pās apnī-ek-thai lī hai . (tnt/subs, obj/thm)
(b2) (a2 is
a simply unsayable in Hindi)
svatā-č#ī-ek-pišvī āhe. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)
(c2) (a2 is
simply unsayable in Marathi)
The thief sprinted. (agt/subj)
The thief got sprinted. (Inadmissable passivation of verb)
(b1) čor dau
dau¤ā –gayā .(tnt/subs)
(29) (a1) The train/bus
reached kalian at nine. (obj/subj, tnt/thm)
arrived at nine (by train/bus). (Inadmissable)
(b1) gā,r#ī nau-baǰe kalyān (-tak) pahun č#ī. (obj/subj,
(b2) (gā,r#ī naū-vājtā
kallyāņ āya/ā-gayā. (Inadmissable)
(c1) gā ∙ī naū-vājtā kallyāņ-lā
polclī. (obj/subj, tnt/subs)
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)
was responsible for the loss of revenue. (agt/subj, tnt/subs).
Note: This is late Modern English.
rahā. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)
zimmedār hai . (Inasdmissable, felt to be Anglicism)
(c1) audāsīnnyā-mu˝e utpannā-t gha¶
jhālī. (tnt/subs, obj/thm)
utpannā-tīl gha¶#ī-sāth#ī jabābdār
āhe. (agt/subj, tnt/subs). (Marginally admissible, though felt
to be Anglicism)
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).
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?
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.
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!
address: Ashok R. Kelkar, 7, Dhananjay, 759/33 off Bhandarkar Road,
Pune-411004. Comments will be welcome.
based on a lecture delivered at a seminar on Multilingualism at the
Department of Linguistics, University of Delhi, January 1998. It has