Swahili's bid to become a language for all of Africa

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naturalplastic
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20 Feb 2022, 2:07 am

Its not my axe to grind. I was just being the Devil's advocate. Thinking up arguments someone might make against using Swahili as an official pan-African language.

Though the language has 40 percent Arabic vocabulary its still mostly African, and great bridge between local African languages. So its kinda like Yiddish. The language of East European Jews sprang up as pidgin of German with Slavic languages and Magyar (the language of Hungary).

Your history of Hindi is really muddled, and its not quite analogous.

The Mogols did not invent Hindi. Their conquered subjects in India already spoke it. It was the conquering Mogols who assimilated to the language of the vanguished natives, not the other way around, but the invading conquerors evolved their own militaristic Muslim-centric version of Hindi called "Urdu". The word "Urdu" is akin to the word "horde" (as in "Mongol horde"), and means "army". So its literally "army language".

Hindi was always there in its homeland in the central north around New Delhi. Like the rest of the Aryan languages of northern India its a local descendant of Sanskrit. The Mogols version called Urdu is the same language- but has a few Arabic and Persian loanwords where Hindi has Indian words, and Urdu is written in Arabic script instead of in the native Indian Devangari script that Hindi is written in. It may well be that Hindi-Urdu spread as a second language lingua franca because of the Mogol empire. But Mogol did not bring the language to India. The Mogols came from what is now a former Soviet Republic in central Asia where NO one speaks Hindi, nor anything like it.

I doubt that anyone speaks Swahili as a first language. But Hindi is, and always was, a first language of a small region of north central India. Though its also a lingua franca over a much bigger area of the Indian subcontinent (though still just the north). So its not exactly analogous to Swahili.

Because Hindi is widespread it became one of the two official languages of the modern state of India (the other being English). And Pakistan made Urdu its official language. Which, as I said, is really the same language.Religion and politics and alphabet hype up the small differences between them.



cyberdad
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20 Feb 2022, 2:24 am

nobody speaks Hindi outside of India (even in Pakistan they speak Urdu). But Hindi has been adopted as a national language. Even in non-"Aryan" states in the east and south of India Hindi is spoken or at least understood.

Likewise the Arabs don't speak Swahili outside Africa. Within Africa Swahili is either spoken or widely understood.



cyberdad
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20 Feb 2022, 2:26 am

r00tb33r wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
r00tb33r wrote:
But we all know that the only language that will matter there is Mandarin.


I don't think the African people are that enamoured with Chinese in Africa. The Chinese are behaving like colonial Europeans.

Not a damn thing they can do about it now.


I mean the Chinese have solidly inserted themselves in African economies (no arguments there) but whether African people bother to learn Mandarin is another matter. It's only useful if they live in China and we know what Chinese think of letting black people into their country.



kraftiekortie
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20 Feb 2022, 8:03 am

Urdu is often said to be the “Muslim equivalent” to Hindi. I have heard it expressed that Hindi and Urdu are pretty much identical….and that the “differences” between the languages are mostly “political.”

I have heard similar things as to comparisons between Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian.

I have heard it said that Yiddish is, basically, medieval German written with a Hebrew alphabet.



naturalplastic
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20 Feb 2022, 10:16 am

kraftiekortie wrote:

I have heard it said that Yiddish is, basically, medieval German written with a Hebrew alphabet.


That is indeed the best short answer to the question "what is Yiddish?". Archaic German written in the Hebrew alphabet.

The Jews who migrated into eastern Europe out of Germany in the Middle Ages evolved the dialect over the last thousand years. And then in the Nineteenth Century a bunch of rabbis sat down together and figured out how to transcribe spoken Yiddish into Hebrew characters in order to print books and newspapers in Yiddish- to make the language into a universal language for modern Jews.

But the long answer is that spoken Yiddish is a more of spicy goulash than that according to folks who know more about it than I do. A Jewish shrink I went to told me that it has a lot of Slavic and Hungarian vocabulary mixed in with the German. One book confirmed that, and said that Yiddish also seems to even have minute traces of the Semitic languages - surviving Aramaic, or Arabic, or even Hebrew- retained from the original Middle eastern homeland of the Jews from even farther back.



cyberdad
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21 Feb 2022, 12:26 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
Urdu is often said to be the “Muslim equivalent” to Hindi. I have heard it expressed that Hindi and Urdu are pretty much identical…..


Indians would defiantly oppose that premise but it's largely correct.

Interestingly Indians despise Pakistan but eagerly adopted the Hindi bazaar language which was used to communicate the Mughal muslim overlords who ruled India for 300 years (this is roughly the same amount of time the Norman kings ruled England which was sufficient time for English to no longer be a proper germanic language).



naturalplastic
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21 Feb 2022, 8:54 am

cyberdad wrote:
kraftiekortie wrote:
Urdu is often said to be the “Muslim equivalent” to Hindi. I have heard it expressed that Hindi and Urdu are pretty much identical…..


Indians would defiantly oppose that premise but it's largely correct.

Interestingly Indians despise Pakistan but eagerly adopted the Hindi bazaar language which was used to communicate the Mughal muslim overlords who ruled India for 300 years (this is roughly the same amount of time the Norman kings ruled England which was sufficient time for English to no longer be a proper germanic language).


Well...the governments of both Pakistan, and India, would crucify you for claiming that their respective official languages are the same darn thing. Hindi and Urdu speaking villagers on the ground who routinely talk to and understand each other probably wouldnt get upset. Lol!



cyberdad
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21 Feb 2022, 4:17 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
kraftiekortie wrote:
Urdu is often said to be the “Muslim equivalent” to Hindi. I have heard it expressed that Hindi and Urdu are pretty much identical…..


Indians would defiantly oppose that premise but it's largely correct.

Interestingly Indians despise Pakistan but eagerly adopted the Hindi bazaar language which was used to communicate the Mughal muslim overlords who ruled India for 300 years (this is roughly the same amount of time the Norman kings ruled England which was sufficient time for English to no longer be a proper germanic language).


Well...the governments of both Pakistan, and India, would crucify you for claiming that their respective official languages are the same darn thing. Hindi and Urdu speaking villagers on the ground who routinely talk to and understand each other probably wouldnt get upset. Lol!


The entire Indian ocean was once a pond before the advent of islam and European colonialism
The regions that make up northern India, Pakistan, eastern Iran and Afghanistan were culturally close in those days, Hindu and buddhist statues get dug up to this day in Iran and Afghanistan which curiously had permanent jewish/Greek trading communities established predating the invasion by Alexander.

All of these communities were seafarers and quite familiar with coastlines of east Africa.