In Part 1 of a four-part series, Sinjoro Eng urges us to examine our native languages and how long they will survive.

Are you the one holding the modern gadget in your hand and yet you speak next to none of your tribal language?

It is a common scenario in Malaysia. Many are so used to it that they feel nothing is missing. It is too common that many felt it is as if a norm in the society. Yet is it a norm?

It was only a few generations ago that our former colonial master, the British Empire, tried to kill the minority languages in our countries, one by one throughout the entire planet, wherever the portrait of the Queen was placed.

Recently I posted a topic called “Protect the Endangered Language” (PEL) in an e-group. What did I get in response? Nothing — just the cold shoulders from the members of thehighly literate.

Later, I posted a few news reports to tell the members how serious the languages are dying off and how few are under the non-government projects on the road to recovery, especially in Australia. There was no interest shown either.

If you have a heart for the souls of others or your own community, read on.

Language is the soul of the people. Without the language, there is no soul.

I write only a few words here and instead  display more short films for you to ponder this time. I do not like to spoonfeed the readers after years of writing on the topic of language. I would like to see, and perhaps, train the youth to think and look at things from different perspectives.

The short films are in languages that Malaysians can understand, and most certainly not in Esperanto. If you cannot understand them, you should prepare to learn Esperanto which costs you only 150 hours to master.

3,000 languages may be extinct within 100 years — one of them can be yours.

This one may be a comedy, but it’s also a heartbreaking look into what it means to be one of the ‘banana people’ of Malaysia. If you are preparing to change your ways and learn Chinese, please take up 100 hours of Esperanto first before you jump into the sea of characters . Esperanto helps you save 40% of the learning time you would otherwise spend on learning Chinese; this is called propaeduetic values.


Featured image by Simmons Undergraduate College.

After watching the 8 minutes short film of the late Dr Claude Piron on the chanllenge of language, Sinjoro ENG has himself revolutionised. Watch it and see whether the short film will touch you too.

6 replies on “The Soul Dies When Language Is Buried”

  1. Sinjoro Eng,

    I do understand the emotive angle of your article albeit being the first in a series of four.

    Unfortunately, to the majority of us who are non-linguistically-inclined, language is merely to get us thru the day – nothing more.

    This lack of appreciation for language beyond it's mere day-to-day functionality makes it difficult for me to see the advanatges of preserving old languages.

    As a linguistic neanderthal, I cannot see the beauty of prose of the richness of phrase.

    I hope your following articles will disabuse me of my misconceptions.

    P.S. Oh yes, before I forget, I am an atheist and the only soul I know is by James Brown :)

    1. Saluton AnakKampung8

      It depends on what you are looking at. General term, when one refers to Chinese language, they refer to the Putong Hua. Secondly, they refer to the character writing. Chinese is the people, Chinese language is the language of the court in the past. They are many languages in China, the Tibetan is using the Tibetian language so as the Urgyur too.

    2. In fact, the Malaysians and others as well, always make a mistake to use Chinese. I would prefer to use Han language as the Chinese is ??, it is more appropriate in it. The Han language is from the Han ethnic tribe. Many Malaysians are Han ethnic tribes, there are few from other minority.

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