- Khin Maung Oo
- Every country has its own characteristics: culture, customs and traditions, language, art and literature. Undeniably, these make us distinguishable from others. Socially-unacceptable ideas and habits disappear naturally. But we need to keep our own image. Our nation owes its existence to the determined efforts of our ancestors to maintain these characteristics, of which the language is an important factor. Here I would like to express my emphatic regret about our mother tongue, “Myanmar Language.” As a layman holding conventional views, I would not like to see our mother tongue deteriorating.
Like any other living language, new words including invented ones are coming into our Myanmar language. Concurrently, outdated, unacceptable and derogatory words are disappearing from our everyday expressions. And we, especially youths are eager to create new avant-garde words. Among them are some nonsensical words. Youths are spreading these meaningless words via Facebook, for example—သယ္ရင္း for သူငယ္ခ်င္း which is meant for “friend”, and ဘြ for ဘဝ which is meant for “life”. It takes a country time to develop its language to the present state. All researchers who have studied the origin and development of the Myanmar script know that its source was the Brahmi script which flourished in India from about 500 B. C. to over 300 A. D. The relationship and similarity between characters and letters forms suggests that there is no denying that Myanmar script had its source in Brahmi. The earliest Myanmar writing is from the Bagan period of the 11th and 12th centuries. Now I am highlighting these so as to convince our Myanmar youths that our well-established Myanmar language is a national heritage gained through the arduous efforts of our forefathers. All of us, including the authorities, scholars, writers, mass media and Myanmar language lovers urgently need to persuade our youths to learn to admire the prestigious Myanmar language, and not to fall into bad habits.
Such nonsensical invented words are now popularly used by youths on their Facebook pages and in their conversations. To your great sorrow and fear, you will find that ညီေလး meant for brother turned into ေညး meant for nothing; ခေလး meant for child turned into ေခး meant for non-sense; မဂၤလာေဆာင္ meant for wedding turned into မင္ဂါေဆာင္; ကိုယ့္ဘာသာကုိယ္ meant for “by onself” turned into ကြကိုယ္;
မုန္႔ဟင္းခါး meant for the name of our Myanmar traditional food turned into မြင္းဂါး. For fear of taking time to recount these words, I will stop mentioning these.
All living languages have many adopted words, as has our Myanmar language. All have the right to invent words. For example, many of us are aware that ေလႏုေသြး and
ပန္းႏုေရာင္—these words were invented by Sayar Dagon Taryar from the English words, breeze and pale pink. Sayar did not use these words randomly. As known by us, Myanmar language is said to be a mono-syllable one, so each and every one of the syllables has its particular meaning. We are ready and willing to accept youths who wish to be avant-garde, but I want them to invent words systematically, but concurrently I would like them to be careful, so as not to destroy our Myanmar language intentionally.
It is heartening to see the Nobel Literary Festival, literary talks, and nice programs such as Readers’ Channel. We hope that the authorities concerned would make necessary arrangements to prevent nonsensical invented words from replacing our deep-rooted words from our Myanmar language.