Thursday, November 13, 2008

The position of Tulu Language - IV

I'm not fluent in Tulu, the language of my native land. And still less in Malayalam, my hereditary language. By linguistics, I am actually a Kannadiga. But when I converse in Tulu , I tend to mix Malayalam verbs and cases sometimes. Never Kannada, except for nouns. However, I haven't observed that phenomenon vice-versa(no idea if I missed noticing it). I of course don't know if this signifies anything.

11 comments:

milieu said...

Thats a very pregnant observation. Why verbs and cases of ur native language which is not the one ur most comfortable with?
Is there any neurological hardwiring of the mother tongue? Seems a fascinating thing to research on.
Ofcourse it could be a freakish phenomena as its hard to generalize from a sample of 1. My native language is malayalam too while I converse a lot in English and Hindi and actually Malayalam too. I do have occasions of slipping but usually I see it with embarassment and don't analyze further. I should do it to maybe increase the sample to 2!

Kamat said...

We must protect and advance our language!

Manjunat said...

I do have occasions of slipping but usually I see it with embarassment and don't analyze further.

:-). Linguistics can do wonders to your self-esteem. You are never wrong when you speak!

I should do it to maybe increase the sample to 2!

Indeed you should. However, our conditions are different. You know one Dravidian and two IE languages. Here I'm discussing only about Dravidian languages.

Is there any neurological hardwiring of the mother tongue?

I don't think so. Since I'm discussing this observation under 'Tulu's position in Dravidian language tree', I'm thinking about closeness of Tulu and Malayalam.

Maju said...

When you learn a different language, at least in early childhood, you seem to develope a distinct area of the parietal lobe of the brain (the area specialized in communication). Can't recall much but that's something that hit the scientific news back there in the late 80s; apparently some people with partial amnesia lost the ability to use one but not the other language, depending on the area of the brain affected. Maybe when you learn languages in adulthood, even if young, you do not develope a second or third area anymore.

Not sure if it's of any help.

Manjunat said...

We must protect and advance our language!

I'm not so sure why it should be. Anyway, I don't think apart from English, Spanish, Hindi/Urdu, Arabic and Mandarin any other languages survive in future. In my opinion, most of the other languages are surviving either because of chauvinism or social backwardness. Chauvinism at the end of the day is a barbarian attitude. I don't think civilized future would be comfortable with it.

I would rather think all other linguistic people must support invention of a new language that does not belong to any of these linguistic families and force the world to adopt it. That is lot better than accepting even if unforced but sometimes undeserved dominance(Colonial languages) of those above mentioned languages.

Manjunat said...

Maju:
Thanks for the info. As I have said earlier I was thinking if the closeness of the languages could have been expressed in that way. Let's say a native English speaker has picked up Spanish. Now, he is trying to learn Portuguese. I would expect in his speech he should substitute Spanish cases and verbs (instead of English) sometimes.

Maju said...

What you says make sense to me. The closer the languages, the more easy the confusion ("disglossy" or something like that may be the technical term). I know that romance native speakers when using English do tend to choose the romance words in that language (almost 50% of the vocabulary but with a tendency to be "cultisms") over the equivalent germanic terms (that will ring no bell in our brains normally but are often more popular choices among native English speakers) I also know that bi-/mulitilingual romance speakers do get offen confused about which is which language, as they are pretty similar (even often mutually understandable, and that's specially true between Spanish and either Portuguese, Catalan or Italian).

Maju said...

But maybe it's a feature of bilinguism anyhow, Basque bilingual speakers (all) are likely often to include Spanish or French words, even when a Basque one exists and they know it perfectly. Inversely they may introduce Basque terms when speaking Erdara (i.e. non-Basque languages, specially Spanish and French).

Manjunat said...

In this case, my native language (Kannada) doesn't influence as much as Malayalam when I speak Tulu. Nouns might say nothing as we profusely use English nouns. Probably, it is true for few verbs also. What about 'cases'? Do you think substituting Basque or English cases in Portuguese would be possible? I guess people who are fluent in Spanish may substitute Spanish cases in Portuguese(who donot yet have mastery over that language).

Maju said...

Probably grammar is much more language-specific, and that is what linguistics seems to suggest in general (i.e. a substrate language may alter much more easily the pronunciation and also introduce many words like nouns, adjectives and even verbal roots but it's much less likely to change the grammar of the introduced language).

Among similar languages though, as in the case of Romances, this may not be impossible for bilingual people (Romance languages, unlike classical Latin, have no cases btw: like English, they use prepositions instead). Nevertheless some gramatical changes may happen when a Basque native speaker learns Spanish as second language, not declinations (that just can't happen in Spanish) but certainly changes from the SVO structure to variable "Basque" style ones (OVS or SOV for instance - this is very typical "peasant" slang, though every day less common as literacy and fluency in Spanish becomes general - but I sometimes surprise myself doing it anyhow, even if Basque is second language to me).

In general, people may tend to "import" the known grammar (and certainly vocaulary) from their native language to the learned one. The first is less likely to be accepted and survive (sounds weird) but the latter has no real barriers, specially if bilinguism is generalized.

These are my, always subjective, impresions.

Anonymous said...


LOL! Guys this blogger is a Tamil Bastard that somehow wants Kannada down and Tulu, Konkani and Kodava to be parted from it. This man is neither Kannadiga nor speaks Tulu. He knows no crap about Tulu. He just thinks, it is connected with Malayalam thatz it, and out of that comes his fake theories. Bugger doesn't know that a Tuluva is the one, that always speaks the best of Kannada coz Tulu itself is a type of rich "Halegannada". These Tamils bastards are coming up with various hoax theories about our Karnataka languages. Be careful all of you! Not only that, they are also posing as Andhras and Mallus to defame them....