National Identity and Language.
National Identity and Language.
World is the home for all the people who belong to different nationalities like Sinhalese, Muslims, Tamils, English, Japanese etc. All these nationalities have their characteristics of their own to symbolize their identity. Religious festivals, customs and traditions are important among them. From all those language takes the most important place. Most of the time with the pronunciation of a word, anyone can easily identify to which nationality that word belongs to. If we take some words as examples, London-David, Shinhua-Shanhai, Kiyoto- Shikoku- here the first sets of words belongs to English language, the second and third represent Chinese and Japanese respectively. With the above examples we can see how much a language can affect to represent the identity of a nationality.
Sri Lanka is a multi-national country. As a whole all can be known as Sri Lankans. But among them there can be seen a difference among the language that the Sinhala and Tamil people use. Most of the Muslim people use Tamil language. Therefore Tamil language represents both Tamil and Muslim nationalities. But Muslim’s identity represents through Arabic Language. They use it to read Quran. Tamil language represents the Tamils’ identity. Sinhala is used by most of the people in Sri Lanka. And it is like a mirror that reflects our identity. But nowadays we can see that the modern changes affect the national identity of our language. Because today there can be seen a mixture a Sinhala and English languages and it is a threat for official language of the country.
When we hear the words like London, Thames, Oxford we know that those words represent the identity of England. Today in Sri Lanka most of the time we hear these types of words, for example Five Star Apparel, Thames College, Jeeva Tours and Travels etc. with these words we see though language represents our identity now it has lost its roots. Today when people give a name for something or somebody most of the time they select a word from a foreign language, especially from English language. But if we pay attention to the government sector of Sri Lanka they we can see meaningful Sinhala names that represent our identity. However when we add English words for these things we destroy not only our language but also the ideal features of our culture. Since two thousand years we use our own language and it began to crack with foreign invasions. It is true the fact that one language can enrich with another language but if we use a language to destroy another language then it is not fair. For examples Sri Lankans has converted numerous English words according to Sinhala language. We can see the words like car, bus, radio etc. It is reasonable, because if we don’t have a proper Sinhala word for something without using its original word we can slightly change the word by adding some Sinhala roots to it. Then we can enrich our own language without spoiling its original roots.
Language is a tool of communication. So it should be simple as well as meaningful. Still in Sri Lanka in certain instances we can reflects of slave time when we use language. It is weird to see such things even a long period after independence. Independence of one’s country is like the life of its. If a country is not strong to use its own national language independently how can we consider that country as an independent, sovereign state? Though we have a powerful language of our own still we do changes to it by adding British words. It may be because still we are under the British power in certain way. In the past the situation was totally different. We could bring our own literature books to and country to represent our identity. But nowadays it is hard to find even a person who speaks pure Sinhala.
National language of one’s country is like a ball of clay. People can make numerous things that represent their identity by taking it as a raw material. People’s lives are inter-connected with their mother tongue. It has its own spelling rules, grammar rules, letters etc. Mother language of one’s country is like the life of it. So when it changes with modern situations it is a huge shock for the development of a nation. A language should be developed, it should be enriched with new words but at the same time people should keep in their minds to protect the roots of it.