zydenbos at zydenbos at
Thu Apr 17 22:47:02 UTC 1997

Replies to msg 16 Apr 97: indology at (GANESANS at

 Gue> From: GANESANS at

 Gue> Hindi and English operate in two completely different
 Gue> domains. South Indians resist Hindi because of the real
 Gue> fear of losing their linguistic heritages. On the other
 Gue> hand, English is the language par excellence for today's
 Gue> science and technology, especially anything to do with
 Gue> computers.

 Gue> In US universities, for engineering PhD qualifying
 Gue> examinations, another European language like German
 Gue> used to be a requirement. With major and varied scholarly
 Gue> writings coming out in English, that requirement
 Gue> is slowly going away nowadays. 

Is this a real reason, or is this only a pretext and is the real reason
intellectual laziness and a general degeneration in standards?

I know Western social scientists who claim to be experts on Karnataka but who
cannot produce a single correct sentence of Kannada. Still nicer: I once heard
a lady who knew no Kannada speak at an international conference about oral
epics in Kannada. (And this is not because there is a wealth of good writing on
these topics in English or other European languages.) Recently there was
mention of "Danielou's" translation of Ma.nimeekalai on this list. All sorts of
things are going on nowadays.

 Gue> If this is happening
 Gue> to German and French, it is hard to push down the throat
 Gue> of any Indian, Hindi or any other language.

I do not see a necessary connection here. In Toronto we had the phenomenon of
North Indian students who already knew at least some Hindi taking Hindi for
their "humanities requirement" -- the staff suspected that this was because the
students thought they could pass easily!

- Robert Zydenbos

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