Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mors linguae

Yesterday my friend was wearing a T-shirt that said “ I blog therefore I am”. I wondered idly how one would translate it in Latin. Would it be “ Blogito ergo sum”? Rhyming with the original Descartian motto? Or simply “Blogo ergo sum”? If Latin were a living language, what would be the verb for blogging? “Blogitare” or “blogare”? and that got me wondering on the subject of ancient languages, and why they and how they became crystallized into “dead” languages, preserved carefully like the bones of dinosaurs but never used…

Why are all the classical languages “dead”? Is it because at some point of time every language loses its ability to incorporate newer concepts and ideas and phenomena? Is it because language is after all a human invention and can’t really keep pace with human progress? call it transmutation of the human race if you have a problem with the word "progress". The languages we speak today- will they too become dead and fossilized one day? Exhausted of all possibilities of further development, tired of trying to cope up with the incessant and ever increasing demand of naming newer and newer things? Sucked dry of all hope, convoluted and contorted to such an extent that it is no longer practicable to use such a language in daily affairs of communication. If every word is merely a signifier (I use the word as a layman, I don’t know much of linguistics) of a thing, or an idea, or an emotion, then the total number of such things must be infinitely greater than the number of such symbols, or combinations of symbols, the human mind can ever come up with…

Not everybody in Classical Greece and Rome spoke classical Greek and Latin surely? Not every body in India even in ancient times spoke Sanskrit? Of course I know there were languages like Pali in vogue even before the modern vernaculars came into existence. The people in their daily lives must have spoken corrupt or bastard forms of the language… very much like our own vernacular which has more than a dozen distinct dialects may be those people, just got sick of the declensions and conjugations and the rules of syntax (which of course became more and more complicated with the passage of time) and decided to chuck it altogether and switch to a more flexible version derived from the parent language…maybe the influence of foreign languages caused the language to mutate and modify into a different language…maybe…

I remember when I read 1984, what terrified me most was neither the Thought Police, nor O Brien’s torture , nor the Anti-Sex Squad , nor even Big Brother himself, but Newspeak. The language, which was constantly progressing by shrinking, contracting, turning upon itself and consuming itself. And its champions dreamt of the day when the entire language would consist of one word only. The greatest marker of this nightmarishly dystopic society was the death of language, the cessation of words. Till date I find this reduction of language frightening. Languages have an organic life of their own, they grow and when they outlast their capacity for further growth or expansion they simply become outdated. They are preserved in that state of stasis, embalmed like the bodies of erstwhile monarchs, because in the history of a language, the history of human civilization is encoded.

One day I shall write a blog in Latin, I promise….

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

because i could not figure out how to do it on facebook

first name: doyeeta
single or taken: not single, i don't like the word "taken".
sex: female
birthday: 16th sept.
hair color: black
shoe size: 4
height: 5 feet 7inches
innie or outie:maane ta ki???
what are you wearing right now: red top, blue jeans
righty or lefty: lefty, like most great people except bimbo!!(hi5 on that doyeeta!)
can you make a dollar in change right now: no
who are your closest friends? there are many close friend...closest...i dunno..
do you have a BF or GF? BF
best place to go for a date: we rarely go on dates, its mostly the chayer dokaan, with a bunch of weirdos.
favourite place to shop: fabindia (for clothes)
favourite kind of pants: pajama
favourite colour: red...not to wear though.
number(s): pi. which is not 22/7. it is an irrational non-surd. i used to know what that meant.
animal:dogs, big ones.
drink: water.
sport(s): tennis.
fast food place(s): tibetan delights, maharani for kochuri, chini's,paramount, campari, missy's.
current movie:ummm..
juice: orange..and aam-pora and musambi.
finger: left index finger
breakfast: nuchi-chholar dal
cartoon character(s): popeye.tom and jerry.uncle fester in adam's family.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------have you ever:----------------------------------------------------------
given anyone a bath? a cat i ran away.
smoked? yes.
bungee-jumped? no
made yourself throw up? everyday affair.
gone skinny dipping? no
eaten a hot dog? no
put your tongue on a frozen pole? why would i??
loved someone so much it made you cry? yes.
broken a bone? yes. my left hand.
played truth-or-dare? yes. favourite party game chhilo.
been in a police car? no
been on a plane? yes.
been in a sauna? no
been in a hot tub? no.
gone swimming in the ocean?not really swimming..bathing..yes.
fallen asleep in school? oh yes. pol. science class.
ran away? yes. not very far though.
broken someone's heart? not to my knowledge.
cried when someone died? yes
cried in school? yes. was beaten black and blue.
fallen off your chair? yes
sat by the phone all night waiting for someone to call? not all night
saved e-mails? not consciously.
fallen for one of your best friends? no.
made out with JUST a friend? no
used someone? yes i suppose. we all have at certain points of time.
been cheated on? no.
What is...----------------------------------------------------------------
your good luck charm? my viv richards poster.
the best song you ever heard?
the stupidest thing you have ever done? collecting polo wrappers..i'll leave it at that.
what's your room like? cluttered, cramped, horrible. once it used to be cluttered but big.
the last thing you said?"khaabo na" to ma.
what is beside you? an empty cup with dregs of horlicks.
the last thing you ate? ate? jilipi from moharani.
what kind of shampoo do you use?whatever man...
the best thing that has happened to you this year? i graduated...
worst thing that has happened to you this year? lets not get into that...
----------------------------------------have you had..----------------------------------------chicken pox? no
sore throat? uff...of course.
stitches? no
broken nose? no
-------------------------------------do you-------------------------------------
believe in love at first sight? no. not even lust at first sight. not the very first sight.
like picnics? yes
like school? LOVED it.
--------------------------------------would you/what is---------------------------------------eat a live hamster for $1,000,000 ? what is a hamster?
if you were stuck on an island, what people would you want with you? the swiss family robinson, who apparently could build houses out of nothing, build bridges, cook, and tame ostriches for transport.
who was the last person that called you? suchismita
who was the last person you slow-danced with? never slow danced.
what makes you laugh the most? friends, funny movies, wodehouse.
what makes you smile? dont smile much, am a surly bitch.
who is the last person--------------------------------------
you yelled at? ma i suppose.
who broke your heart? no one
who told you they loved you? laddoo?
who is your loudest friend? ragini.
------------------------------------------------------------do you/are you:------------------------------------------------------------
do you like filling these out? no
do you wear glasses or contacts? glasses, sometimes contacts...
do you like yourself? absolutely LOVE myself.
do you get along with your family? usually..
stolen anything over $50? no
obsessive? totally.
compulsive? no but impulsive.
,anorexic? no
suicidal? NO
schizophrenic? no.
----------------------------------------------------------------love life------------------------do you have a crush? yes...well not a crush definitely not a crush...but similar..
if so, does he or she know? i think he guesses, but he is used to it.
have you truly told him or her how you feel, face to face? dhur shala...pagol naaki?
how did he or she respond? aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgghhhh.
what is so great about him or her? dont get me started.
-------------------------------------this or that-------------------------------------------------coffee or tea: tea.
phone or in person: depends on who it is...
are you oldest, middle, youngest or only child:only
indoor or outdoor: depends...
--------------------------------------------------final questions
how many people are you sending this to: none
what are you listening to right now? nothing
what did you do yesterday? hung out with friends, went to an education fair thingy...
where do you want to get married? at a house which is not there anymore.
if you could change anything about yourself, what would it be? my indolence, my temper.
are you a good driver? i will be, someday...just you wait buggers who scare me with your cars, just you wait..
are you a good singer?" i'm the best.."
what do you dream about? umm...having a house, having a job i like, having leisure at forty, having all my friends around me...doing something, worth doing..however insignificant. figuring out this universe.