Another topic suggested by Maria/Gaelikka for LBC where seven of us write on the same topic.
Language is the system of words or signs that people use to express thoughts and feelings to each other. Basically all communication is language but the verbal medium is the most widely used and recognized system. There are hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects and variants.
Language can generate the most wonderful sounds from the throat. The same language can take on different colours as it were when spoken by different people. The male voice can be ‘rough’ with hoarse throats and guttural sounds. Women’s voices can be sweet, shrill, smooth as honey or staccato. Words can be expressed like bullets shot from a machine gun or flow smoothly like liquid gold.
Some languages are rough to the untrained ear. People like to think that German and many East European languages are harsh and rough. The French believe that theirs is the sweetest language ever to be spoken. In fact all the Latin based languages do sound smooth and treacly. If you read Old English it has a rough quality to it. The Scottish burr or the Irish brogue does have a smoothening effect on spoken English. The Americans have added a drawl that has changed the language considerable while the Australians have added the rough outback rhythms to the language. The West Idies have amalgamated the Calypso rhythm to English just as the islands have changed the French language into a local flavour of Creole!!
In India we have so many languages. My own mother tongue is Tamizh…if you pronounce it this way it has a lovely twirl of the tongue that smoothens its consonants. The British Raj changed this pronunciation to Tamil and managed to roughen up the diphthongs. Many other Indians find Tamizh a harsh and rough language that clatters and clangs like stones in a brass pot. Sanskrit is intrinsically tied up with music as the Vedas are chanted and the verses are created with mnemonic sounds that repeat and take off from endings…remember this was a language tht was passed on aurally.
Bengali and Telugu are spoken off as the sweetest languages of India. In fact it is said that Bengali sounds as if the speaker has a round, syrupy sweetmeat, the Rasogolla, stuffed inside the mouth. Telugu has been the popular language for lyrics that are set to music. Hindi is a language that is a dialect that has grown from Sanskrit and other regional variations. It is based on Khariboli, the vernacular of Delhi and the surrounding western Uttar Pradesh and southern Uttarakhand . Urdu was “the language of the court” and with many Persian words came into prominence during the Mughal Empire (1600s). In the late 19th century, there was a concerted effort to standardise a written language from Khariboli, for the Indian masses in North India and Hindi began to be standardised as a separate language from Urdu, the language of the elite.
Urdu is still considered a more flowing and smooth tongue that is used for poetry and romantic songs. The various dialects of Khariboli like Bhojpuri, Bihari, Rajasthani do sound rougher than pure or shudh Hindi and Urdu!!
Here is a wonderful clipping that demonstrates how the rough and guttural sounds can slowly be transformed in the mind’s eye or ear into a beautiful and soulful music.
Awesome Mongolian Throat Singing
Finally, any language becomes rough or smooth depending on the tone in which it is spoken, right?