Will switching name make a langauge works miralce?

Posted On 04/06/2007

Filed under Food for thoughts

Comments Dropped one response

Perhaps I should rephrase the question,

How do one define language usefulness? Let’s list down purpose of the language first :

1. Communication – so the converse parties talking the same thing. E.g. When one say “chair”, the other party know he is talking about chair, not a table.
2. Expressions – express one feeling. well you know…
3. Expression of though – this is self explanatory
4. Transfer of knowledge and experience – this is also self explanatory

So how do one justify a language are strong and “useful”? Well, in the real world, there is few possibilities

1. Population
2. Economic power
3. literary writing
4. Mix of the above

So in the real world, we notice that China has the most population. But the outreach of Mandarin, the Chinese Language, are not as outreach as English (economy dominate). However, the third possibilities are universal. It is about mastering the language. For example, the highly regard Nobel Prize Literature winner are consist of many writers from different country.
p/s: Nobel Prize is not the sole measure of literary excellence and lasting worth.

And all the winner does has a common characteristic : they master their own language very well, together with the substance brought together with their own language.

It is almost impossible for a German to write a great novel if he wrote it in English. On the other hand, Goa Xing Jiang will achieve little if he write in French, vice versa.

But when come to other world of language, few writer will take their time to learn another language, they will read the translation instead. Unless the reader question the originality of the translation, they will look for another translation or just browse through the original section with a dictionary.

So will switching name will make a language stronger? It is similar to the question of asking whether changing an Elephant name to egg will make it smaller.

In my opinion, the Malaysia national lauguage is a language “strong” of population, “weak” by substance. Take the example of tool books, there is never lack of Japanese and Chinese tools book. When the speed of translation failed to catch up with the progress, the engineer will gasp different language in order to catch up. This can be German, France , English, etc technical dominate language.

While come to literary writing, translation play an important roles of it. If you go to Japan, you will find they never short of various country translation into Japanese. (and this happens to Chinese language world as well).

Let’s talk about some book category.

  • General Interest – Philosophy, poet, Psychology, religion,etc
  • Entertainment & Leisure
  • Business & Finance
  • Self Improvement
  • Tools book – agricultures, architecture, computing,medical, etc
  • History
  • Health & Living
  • Fiction and non fiction
  • etc.

How many books are translated from foreign language to Bahasa Melayu/Malaysia annually? I don’t know.

According to some source, the Mandarin world has translate more than 10,000 books from Western world (Europe & United States). Famous Chinese thinker Liang Qi Chao 梁启超 (1873-1929) says, “The build a strong nation, we must put translation of foreign language books(though) as first priority.”

So what is your conclusion?

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One Response to “Will switching name make a langauge works miralce?”

  1. meiqin

    switching at the year of 1986 sounds like an idioit thing to me….so does this one after 21 years of “getting used” to melayu instead of malaysia! however, malaysia sounds better to me!
    language to them is politically kind of integrity, in the name of COUNTRY….ho.ho..ho….election is around the corner!!

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