Language is a means to communicate between one person and another. Currently, there are more than 7000 languages spread throughout the world. Language usually has a close relationship with nation and nationalism. A language is a unifying tool in several countries because it unites people in one nation. However, language can also be a separator for the same group of people. This relates to the formation of nations and languages. Here the world’s languages are separated for political reasons despite being the same language.
Hindi and Urdu
Signposts in Kashmir written in Urdu, Hindi, and English
Hindi is the officially recognized language of India, while Urdu is the official language of Pakistan. Both languages are derived from Hindustani. During the time of the Delhi Sultanate until later during the Mughal reign, the Hindustani language, then received a lot of influence from the Persian language. The Perso-Arabic script which came from Persian was later modified and became known as Urdu. In 1857, Urdu then became the official language in the British Raj (India during the British colonial period). This then led to opposition from those who wrote with the Devanagari alphabet. Muslims in India are associated with Urdu, while Hindus are associated with Hindi. Conflicts and divisions also arise due to this policy. In the late 19th century, various movements began to promote Hindi as a substitute for Urdu.
In 1900, the colonial government gave Hindi equal status to Urdu. In the 1920s, Gandhi then came up with the idea of unifying Urdu and Hindi as Hindustani languages which could be written in either the Devanagari alphabet or the Perso-Arabic alphabet. However, Gandhi’s thoughts failed to materialize immediately. The conflict between these two groups ended with the founding of Pakistan in 1947. Pakistan, then adopted Urdu as its official language, while India then changed the official language in its constitution to Hindi in 1950. Currently, Urdu has 100 million speakers with 60 million of whom are native speakers. Urdu has some influence from Persian and Arabic.
Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin languages
Welcome boards in Bosnian, Serbian, and English
After the dissolution of Yugoslavia at the end of the 20th century, the countries of the former Yugoslavia then claimed to have their own official languages. Croatia with Croat, Serbia with Serbian, Bosnia with Bosnian, and Montenegro with Montenegro. These four languages during the Yugoslav era were called Serbo-Croat languages. The breakup of the Yugoslav Federation then ushered in a spirit of ethnonationalism that gave rise to these languages. Many people consider that the four languages that are claimed to be different by each of these governments are actually one and the same language. According to some experts, the differences that exist in each language are only dialects.
The difference in these four languages may be in the alphabet they use. Croat uses the Latin alphabet, Bosnian and Montenegro use Latin and Cyrillic letters but more often use Latin letters. Meanwhile, the Serbian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet officially. Another visible difference is found in the Croatian language, which carries purism or purification. Much of the vocabulary in Croatian includes old words.
Moldovan and Romanian languages
A graffiti that means “I am Moldovan and I speak Moldovan”
The Moldovan language is the language officially stated in the Moldovan Constitution. The history of the Moldovan language began with the annexation of this territory by the Russian Empire in 1812. After the annexation, the central government, especially during the Soviet Union, tried to separate Moldovan’s identity from Romanian. They then emphasized the differences that Moldovan has, a different language from Romanian. In the Moldavian language, the Cyrillic alphabet was adopted as the alphabet. This then distinguishes between Moldovan and Romanian languages.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldova, which later became a sovereign country, changed the alphabet it used to become the Latin alphabet. This further makes these two languages look like one and the same language. However, the Moldovan government still insists on using the Moldovan language name, not Romanian. In 2003, a Moldovan-Romanian dictionary appeared to show the differences between the two languages. However, some have stated that the dictionary is ridiculous and made for political purposes only. In the 2004 census, 60% of the population of Moldova stated Moldovan as their language, while the rest spoke Romanian. Identical Languages That Have Much in Common
Valencian and Catalan languages
Dialects in Catalan
Valencian is a language that is recognized as an official language in the Autonomous Region of Valencia. The Valencian language is governed by an institution called the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (Valencia Language Academy). Meanwhile, the Catalan language is regulated by a different institution, namely the Institut d’Estudis Catalans. The orthography adopted by the Valencian Language Academy comes from the 1932 Normes de Castello, a rule of Catalan orthography. Currently, there are around 2.5 million Valencian speakers. However, many scholars argue that Valencian is the same language as Catalan. The similarity between Valencian and Catalan is 90 to 95 percent.
Valencian can be said to be only part of the Catalan dialect. The dialect is the Western regional dialect of Catalan. Meanwhile, the standard Catalan language is heavily influenced by Eastern dialects. The emergence of Valencian as a language was a result of the political developments that took place where Valencia and Catalan were two distinct regions. According to a survey conducted in 2014, 52% of Valencians think that Valencian is different from Catalan.