All of us know that when Julius Caesar went to the senate meeting for his tryst with death and Brutus, he was warned by a soothsayer, thus: ”Beware of the ides of march” – But did he ACTUALLY say this?
William Shakespeare has immortalized the lines of Caesar for posterityso well, that it is accepted as history. But what exactly did the soothsayer say, or did he say anything at all, is anybody’s guess. Forall we know, the soothsayer might have said something like, “O Caesar,you will inspire a writer in England several centuries later, if you go inside the senate now and receive Brutus’s stab” or maybe, “Hi Caesu, be wary of Brutus! – check if he has got a knife on his person!” etc etc – One’s imagination runs haywire when you think of all possible things that the soothsayer could have said.
But even today, when someone says, “Friends, Romans, Country men, lend me your ears” – something stirs up deep inside….The love, of/for the language.
The evolution of human language dates back to so many million years ago, from 2.3 million years ago, when Homo sapiens first started inhabiting the earth. Even before that, if one were to study the Pan age of 6 million years back, one can always draw some conclusion like,how the dinosaur spoke to the brontosaurus, in which grunt, etc, and how these grunts have migrated to the tennis arena of today, millions of years later, etc. But all these can only be assumptions and presumptions, and cannot be verified with visible evidence for the simple reason that we are far, far, separated from the actual time of these evolutions by many million years. When we are but a few hundreds of years away from the actual time of an event itself, we are unsure of so many things. And what to talk of millions of years? The evolution of communication and language is linked to the evolution of the species, and the various developments can be traced through the evolution of Homo habilis, Homo erectus and the Homo sapiens. A study of glottogony would be more apt for the avid seeker.
Whether the evolution of language was gradual or sudden, the evolutionary aspect itself, is very fascinating for some languages.They say that Sage Viswamitra could see the Goddess Gayatri as well as the formation of the Sanskrit syllables in LIGHT and SOUND when he heard the Gayatri Mantram for the first time.
But the evolution of any language, also invariably traces the evolution of the culture of that language. Tamil, for instance, has evolved so much that the original Tamil, almost looks like a foreign tongue now. But the Tamil grammar rules found in Tholkappiam, is unmatched for its almost mathematical precision for various usages.They say that Tholkappiam was written by Tholkappiar. Lord Siva and Lord Muruga, are linked to the development of the Tamil language at various stages of the development of the language. Many of the 18 ancient saint siddhars like Agasthyar, Thirumoolar, Bogar etc, were well versed in Tamil.
The development of language has been confined to regions, mostly due to geographical reasons of travel. But today, language can be exported right out of one country, to another, by air! All the same, language, HAS, evolved over the years, into a very fine medium of communication, such as this English that we are sharing – between the writer, and the reader. But right now, with the advent of computers and cell phones, this very language as we know, has undergone a certain and subtle change, and many languages are under pressure to change to a more adaptable or acceptable version for the computer user, threatening the existence of many usages and terms as we know today.
Today, technology is dictating terms to language – Today, technology seems to be telling language, “Conform, or else perish!” – Today, technology rules language with an iron fist of cold logic where once ink quills ruled with love and emotions.
Thank God that when Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address there were no computers! – Or else the computer techies would have encrypted his address over the years, and after so many years, it would have now read something like this:
4 scor & 7 yrs ago our 4fathrs broght 4thon dis continnt a new ntn, concvd in librty, & dedictd to d propostndat all men R created eqal …… & dat govt of d ppl, by d ppl, & 4 d pplshll nt perish 4m dis earth.
Perhaps the Shakespeares and Lincolns will have to be born again in the new world of computers, to ensure that what they had originally written, does not become extinct….