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Creative writing required in S African Hindi: linguist Varma

Press Trust of India  |  Johannesburg 

A locally-developed dialect of Hindi has been gaining popularity in among the Indian-origin population with its use being encouraged by linguists.

'Naitali' Hindi- the dialect developed and nurtured since Indians first arrived in the Natal province 155 years ago- has evolved into a proper dialect.

Noted linguist and Indologist specialising in teaching Hindi as a foreign language, Vimlesh Kanti Verma, has urged South Africans to take up creative writing in Naitali Hindi.

He said that the fact that Naitali Hindi is referred to by some (albeit derogatorily) as kitchen language, proves that it is indeed the nucleus of existence.

"Language and culture go hand in hand, they provide an identity and become a unifying factor," he told a gathering of teachers organised by the Hindi Shiksha Sangh of South Africa, which has been promoting the language for the past six decades in an organised manner with examinations linked to Indian academic institutions.

"Just as British English is different from American, Australian and Indian English, Hindi too has many variations," he said.

"In Fiji it is called Fiji Baat, in Suriname it is Surnami. It is pertinent to note that great creative writings from these developed linguistic styles have proved their creative strength and popularity worldwide.

"Language reflects culture and this property makes every language rich."

Verma, however, cautioned that this did not mean undermining the importance of standardised Hindi or moving away from it, since that serves as a link language between people speaking various form of Hindi globally.

Verma has worked extensively for the promotion of Hindi in Europe, Canada, Asia, Pacific and the Caribbean.

He has several books to his credit including dictionaries, textbooks and books on conversational Hindi that are widely used by students learning Hindi across the globe.

Based in India, Verma travels extensively to promote and strengthen the development of Hindi in the Indian Diaspora.

First Published: Fri, January 02 2015. 20:30 IST