BADAGA SCRIPT – BADAGA BARAE [படக பரே – எழுத்து ]
[படக மொழியை எப்படி எழுதலாம்?]
It has always been felt that for a language to survive, it should have its own script. It cannot remain only as a spoken language for long. But of course, the script need not be peculiar and specific one pertaining to that particular language.
So too is the necessity of a script for Badaga. Many have attempted to achieve this objective with various degrees of success. But unfortunately, to my knowledge, no records exists, if any. I am no expert on phonetics or languages or much less innovating a unique script. But the urge to have a separate script has convinced me that it is very much possible to ‘ADOPT’ an existing script and ‘ADAPT’ it to Badaga language.
Three scripts come to mind straight away – Tamil, English and Kannada.Tamil – because a majority of us know how to speak and write due to the simple fact that we belong to Tamil Nadu, English – since most of us choose to learn as well as put our children in English medium schools and Kannada – due to the fact that Badaga is more akin to Kannada than any other language [though I firmly believe that Badaga is a separate language on its own merit and not a dialect of Kannada].
But when trying to choose a script for Badaga, Kannada script is ruled out for the basic reason that most of us do not know the language or familiar with the script and no scope to learn it in our schools in the Nilgiris. Hence the choice between Tamil and English. Badaga ,like many other Indian languages, has very definitive and distinctive sounds/words [I do not know the exact English equivalent] that distinguishes one word from another. Even a small change in pronunciation could result in an entirely different meaning in Badaga. For example, a subtle change in context of the word ‘BAE [bay]‘ could mean mouth, bangle, lentil, crop etc. Bella – பெல்ல [jaggery] or BeLLa – பெள்ள [ a male name] are two entirely different things. So are ‘kallu கல்லு – stone’ and ‘KaLLu கள்ளூ – a drink’. So, what could or should be the choice?
In Tamil script we cannot differentiate ‘K’ from ‘G’ or ‘T’ from ‘D’. This makes a huge impact when Badaga words are written in Tamil script. ‘Gaasu – potato’ is totally different from ‘Kaasu – coin, remove’. Or ‘Ettu – eight’ and ‘Eddu – getup’. Another drawback could be the absence of ‘Ha’ in classical Tamil. On the other hand, in English, we cannot clearly bring out the difference of ‘na’ from ‘Na’ [anna – அன்ன food, aNNa – அண்ண elder brother] or ‘halli – ஹல்லி lizard’ from ‘haLLi – ஹள்ளி name, village’. ‘Kalla கல்ல – a male name’ sounds the same as ‘ kaLLa கள்ள – a thief.
Yes, it is indeed a little tricky to choose between Tamil and English. But, taking into consideration the younger generation who are going to be the future hope and the irrefutable fact that they are all more familiar with English than Tamil, the choice is English. Keeping in mind the successful adaptation of English script for Malay language (Malaysia) I would plump in for English. With a few minor modifications to overcome the grey areas mentioned above, English script can be easily used in Badaga.
Remember Devanagiri (Hindi) is the script for Nepali. The ‘minor’ modifications that can be undertaken to overcome the drawbacks I referred above could be by using an extra ‘a’ – thus milk can be written as ‘haalu ஹாலு’; ‘dhadi தடி – stick’ can be different from ‘dhaadi தாடி – beard’. So on and so forth.
We may use ‘capital’ letters to differentiate between ‘bella and beLLa ’ as I have done above. What if a complete sentence is in capital letters ? – We may use ‘bold’ letters or underline the words to give the emphasis. Innovative use of – ‘ – [apostrophe] can bring out the difference between “soppu ஸொப்பு – green ” and “so’ppu ஸோப்பு – soap” or “kodi கொடி – flag” and “ko’di கோடி – crore”. [I have used https://vengayam.net/translate/tamil.html for Tamil transliteration. Google Input Tools online https://www.google.com/intl/ta/inputtools/try/ is another great util for Tamil to English and vice versa]
It is said that Indians [read Badagas] will reject 50% of anything without even hearing it, another 50% without understanding it; and if ‘anything’ is left behind they reject it just for the sake of rejecting it. Like what is happening in many hattis with ‘young gowdas’ ruling the roost.
BUT, ALL YOU TRUE BADAGAS – LET US START SOMEWHERE TO HAVE A SCRIPT FOR OUR LANGAUGE. IMPROVEMENTS AND INNOVATIONS CAN FALLOW. IF MICROSOFT CAN ACCEPT BADAGA AS AN UNIQUE LANGUAGE , THERE MUST BE SOMETHING .
SARI THAANE ? OK??
(first appeared in my blog http://badaga-script.blogspot.in/ )