1. MASS MEDIA AND THE PROCESSES OF SIMPLIFICATION AND NATIVIZATION
The language of mass media, whether it is newspaper or television, has the tendency to apply the process of simplification of expressions and nativization for the loan words and loan blends. The phenomenon of nativization of foreign linguistic elements in television programs including advertisements is observed commonly.
A foreign element cannot be easily assimilated into another linguistic framework owing to several reasons such as cultural differences, sound differences, etc. Certain steps, such as phonological modifications and morphological modifications, are usually pursued in the process of adopting a foreign expression in the native language. Many words from languages like English, Arabic, Portuguese, Hindi, and Persian entered into Malayalam language because of need-filling motive. And these words are simplified and nativized following certain processes in Malayalam.
2. NATIVIZATIONS AS REFLECTED IN PHONOLOGICAL MODIFICATIONS
Some of these borrowed words are nativized through phonological modifications as in the following examples.
|Parent language ||Original form ||Malayalam equivalent ||Meaning|
|English ||computer ||kampu:TTer ||'computer'|
|Collector ||kaLekTar ||'Collector'|
|superintendent ||su:pRaNT∂ ||'superintendent'|
|Hindi ||gamja: ||kañca:v∂ ||'ganja'|
|ca:y ||ca:ya ||'Tea'|
|sa:Di ||sa:ri ||'saree'|
|Persian ||a:bka:ri: ||abka:ri ||'a dealer of alcoholic beverages'|
|firangi ||pi:raηgi ||'cannon'|
|Arabic ||khasa:nah ||khajana:v∂ ||'treasury'|
|ta:alluka ||ta:lu:kk∂ ||'taluk'|
|Portuguese ||alma:rio ||alma:ra ||'cupboard'|
|istirar ||istiri ||'iron box'|
|padre ||pa:tiri ||'priest'|
|laterna ||Ra:ntal ||'lamp'|
|bateria || batte:ri ||'subdivision of regiment'|
3. NECESSITY FOR PHONOLOGICAL MODIFICATIONS
The phonological modification is a physiological necessity because the speech mechanisms or the speech habits of the recipient language community often follow phonotactic rules different from those of the donor language. Hence this nativization of the phonological features seems to be mandatory when the borrowed words reach the stage of absorption in Malayalam language.
4. MORPHOLOGICAL ADAPTATIONS
If this modification is not undertaken in a natural fashion that suits the phonological genius of the recipient language, the particular word borrowed often gets dropped from the active repertoire of the recipient speech community. Malayalam language has certain unique ways to achieve this morphological adaptation as shown below in the nativization process of Malayalam plural markers -ma:r and -kaL. These native plural forms are often suffixed to foreign forms and the nativized resultant form is used very commonly.
|Foreign expressions ||Nativized plural form|
|kampyu:TTer 'computer' ||kampyu:TTaRukaL|
|fLa:RR 'flat' ||fLa:RRukaL|
|ka:seRR 'cassette' ||ka:seRRukaL|
|va:RD 'ward' ||varDukaL|
|kaLekTar 'Collector' || kaLekTaRma:R|
Another method used to nativize the foreign expressions is native suffixation as in the case of kampyu:TtaRvalkkaraNam 'computerize', where the native suffix -valkkaraNam is used with the foreign expression in tune with other such familiar expressions like yantravalkkaraNam 'to mechanize', de:ši:yavalkkaraNam 'nationalize' etc.
5. LOAN BLEND
Hybridized forms, which are popular in Malayalam, are commonly used by mass media. A foreign word along with the native expression become naturalized and nativized in course of time.
Expressions like dantaDo:kTaR 'dentist' mrugaDokTar 'veterinary doctor' are examples of language blends where the fully assimilated word 'doctor' and the native forms danta 'teeth' and mruga 'animal' are used to get the equivalent forms. These hybridized forms are more popular among readers. It is observed that these forms get stabilized in the society. This may be because the forms obtained through loan blend are simpler and more natural than the original forms.
Other examples of loan blend are given below.
|tiriccaRiyal ka:RD ||'identity card'|
|ava:rD paTam ||'award film'|
|vaidyuti bo:rD∂ ||'electricity board'|
|lo:ka ba:nk∂ ||'world bank'|
6. MASS MEDIA IN SEARCH OF ATTRACTIVE WORDS, AND HOW IT IMPACTS LANGUAGE USE
Mass media at one level identifies that the effectiveness of communication may be increased whenever a non-native word is incorporated in a Malayalam sentence after the process of nativization. But, at another level, the same media people feel that the non-native usage must be minimized. Owing to such opposing ideas, often a compromise is worked out as a communicative strategy. As a result, the media tend to use hybridized forms, which seems to be more popular among the people. It is observed that such forms get stabilized in the society.
Loan translation is another method of making equivalent forms. The following expressions in Malayalam are nativized through loan translation.
|haritavipLavam || 'green revolution'|
|da:ridra re:kha ||'poverty line'|
|prakruti durantam ||'natural calamity'|
|duritašvasa nidhi ||'relief fund'|
|cuvappuna:Ta ||'red tape'|
|ohari vipaNi ||'stock market'|
|niSe:pasama:haraNam ||'deposit mobilization'|
|me:lppa:lam ||'over bridge'|
|de:ši:ya pa:ta ||'national highway' etc.|
|lo:haparišo:dhini ||'metal detector'|
In the following examples equivalents are coined in accordance with the contextual meaning.
|dhavaLavipLavam ||'operation flood'|
|nya:yavila kaTa ||'ration shop'|
7. CURRENT TRENDS
The present trend among Malayalees is to accept a foreign expression as such in Malayalam language. Mass media tries to incorporate current trends to gain popularity. This attitude enhances the free flow of English vocabulary into Malayalam language. As there is no social movement among the public to replace foreign expressions with the equivalent Malayalam forms, this free flow is likely to continue and increase in its intensity. This may result in certain drastic consequences for the phonology, spelling, and even grammar of Malayalam in the future.
It is possible that through some legislation, government may be able to encourage people and mass media to replace the foreign expressions with native ones to some extent. A Government order that changed the spelling and names of the districts to Malayalam have received wide-spread acceptance. Even the script reform introduced a few decades ago through a government order was wholly accepted. Speech, however, belongs to a different realm altogether. Legislation alone may not help, we need a conscious effort on the part of Malayalam native speakers to adopt a strategy that would open the language door to receive ideas and necessary words from English and other languages, while restraining them from extreme and thoughtless indulgence in this area.
8. FORGOTTEN WORDS
Due to the lack of popularity, some of the Malayalam forms that were used earlier in the society are ignored by the present mass media. For example, the word ancalo:TTakka:ran 'postman/mailrunner' was familiar among Malayalam native speakers but now it is replaced with its English counterpart 'postman'. Similarly Post office was known by the name ancala:ppi:s, now tapa:l vakupp∂ is the term for 'postal department'. But there is no word like tapa:lo:Ttakkaran* or tapa:l sipa:yi*. This may be because of the differences in the manner of work of the present-day postman. In olden days, he walked (or ran) from one village to another to deliver mail. Similarly, accukku:Tam was the Malayalam equivalent for 'printing press' which is now replaced with its English counterpart, 'printing press' in Malayalam. The Malayalam equivalent for village officer was ma:sappaTi or pa:rvatyaka:r; now these forms are replaced with ville:jadhika:ri. At present the word ma:sappaTi means 'monthly income'.
9. POPULARITY, SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE, AND MASS MEDIA
Mass media is the best medium to popularize any usage. These media select and choose to use the more popular vocabulary to reach the public more effectively. That is how new usages are getting more popularity through the media, while the old one vanishes in due course.
Social acceptance is the main factor for the popularity of a word. If 'switch' is to be referred to by a complicated form like vaidyuta:gamana nirgamana niyantraNa upa:dhi, such a term may find place only in the dictionary, not in current usage. The form velDanam for 'welding' also vanished because of its unacceptability. In such cases, the media suddenly shift to the socially acceptable forms and try to become people friendly.
The trend of the media to use more popular vocabulary can be seen in the following instances where the media quickly shifted from using glo:bi:karaNam to a:go:LavalkkaraNam for 'internationalization' and from selling to selvaRsam for 'shelling' in its reporting.
The terms which have cultural attestation will retain its originality even though the main trend of the society is to anglicize most of the forms. The forms with cultural significance are deep rooted in the language. The terms like a:lttaRa 'a platform built around the foot of a banyan tree', niRapaRa 'a paRa full of rice or paddy', taRava:T? 'ancestral family', šavapeTTi 'coffin,' etc., retains its original form because of its cultural relevance and deep rootedness.
Even in advertisements, the terms with cultural attestation are commonly used in order to get popularity for their product. By giving the terms with cultural relevance the media can evoke the sentimental feelings of the viewers.
I express my sincere gratitude to Dr.Sam Mohan Lal, Central Institute of Indian Languages, for his help and suggestions in completing this paper.