What is different about it?
VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
7. Respect versus pejoratives
I have reached a point wherein I need to proceed on three routes. One, on the aspect of freedom (an idea which has nothing to do with what it means in English). Second, on the issue of people trying to recluse themselves, and if that fails, to flee a place where another kind of people get empowered. This second one is actually deeply connected to the first.
The third thing that I should take up is the issue of ‘Respect versus pejoratives’. I mentioned in my last post that one person of native-African language nativity of South Africa had admitted that the issue of ‘respect versus pejoratives’ was there in South African native languages.
Here I would like to mention the comment made by lao quoting from my last post: “…. is quite easily understood by an average feudal language speaker ….” I’m sure there are millions of them
The fact is that English is near unique. The number of feudal language speakers in this world, among human beings (apart from beings currently mentioned as animals) would be near to the total number of human beings minus the total number of Englanders and the speakers of a few other planar languages.
This places both England as well as Englanders in a very special position; a fact which stay-of-home Englanders were never aware of during the colonial days. I assign this uniqueness due to the fact that as of now I do not know any language which might have the same planar link codes as in English. I have heard that unadulterated Arabic has some such features. However, I do not know how words link to social arrangement in Arabic.
And as in the case of English in Asian nations, Arabic, I think, has not been able to lift itself above the overwhelming grip of the feudal languages and low quality social systems that exists all around Arabic speaking people. It is quite possible that spoken Arabic has been corrupted by the proximity to population groups who literally exists in varying levels mentally and socially.
In a way, lao’s earlier comment about the usage of the word ‘Boy’ to Negro ‘slaves’ might be a slight approximation to what happened to English in a similar manner, when it tried to accommodate persons who quite obviously were the lower suppressed classes of the African continent in those days. (Even now these people are trying to escape the place in similar sea voyages, risking asphyxiation. If they manage to reach an English nation, it would be elevating experience. If they reach some feudal language nation, they had it!).
See the picture of African slaves after being saved by the British West African Squadron from Arab slave traders.
African slaves after being saved by the British West African Squadron from Arab slave traders
Respect versus pejoratives
Now let me speak of Respect versus pejorative. This is, at this point, a digression, in that I have to pause the continuity of the last chapter.
There is the word ‘respect’ in English. One understands its sense in English. And one sees this word ‘respect’ being used variously when one mentions Asian/African/Mafia social communication. [In the case of Mafia, when I read Mario Puzo’s Godfather in the year 1982, I immediately understood the context as that of a feudal language communication system. That of control and command being directed and maintained through the language codes. There is theinsistence on Sicilian dialect being mentioned all along].
When this word ‘respect’ is mentioned in connection to feudal languages (Asian, African &c.), the meaning is quite wide. In English, respect is connected to appreciation of quality, knowledge, refinement, honourable actions, courage, honesty, chivalry etc. However, in feudal languages, it has a very powerful meaning and sense. In fact, it is actually a part of a huge and powerful social machinery. Here words act as switches, triggers or even actual physical components of the machine that can accomplish physical actions such as push, pull, make a person stand up, sit down, show power, exhibit diffidence &c.
In English, if one says, ‘He is a very honourable man. I respect him’, or ‘She is a great scholar. I respect her’, it has no self-depreciating or self-humiliating sense. It is just a feeling of a particular kind of adoration for some splendid human quality. However, in feudal languages, this type of ‘respect’ has no meaning, and even to mention such a thing is simply being silly.
In feudal languages, ‘respect’ is addendums to words of address,referring and to the names. And they connect powerfully to the huge social machinery.
People who are powerful are to be respected. This power can be official power to hurt, physical power to hurt, financial power to dominate, professional status to manage by suppression, parental power to control, teacher level to beat and such. None of these persons, if they do not have the power to hurt would actually derive ‘respect’. Even teachers who simply are great in teaching without an apparent framework of a powerful school or college or some such thing to intimidate, wouldn’t get respect.
If knowledge would have given ‘respect’, the greatest ‘respect’ in the Indian peninsula region would have been for thecarpenter class of the subcontinent. For, they then had fabulous technical skills by which with no modern machinery in their possession, they would plan, and built huge and towering buildings. Yet, they were maintained on the lower scales the verbal ‘respect’ and hence treated with disdain by the upper classes. However, under the Master Carpenter, there would be small persons who would have to bestow ‘respect’ to the Master Carpenter.
Now, this giving ‘respect’ to another person is a terrible thing in feudal languages. It is more or less social or positional subordination. The horror is connected to the pejorative indicant words that come to attach on to the person who does the ‘respecting’. And to their verbal sounds. Pejorative words can have hurting sounds. Pejorative words which are used in a tone of affection might have a slightly different tone and tune.
Respect is not given to a person of refinement or politeness or someone who is kind or helpful, or someone who is honourable or truthful, or someone who show professional etiquette, or someone who cannot be bribed or someone who does not indulge in corruption or nepotism. Actually all these persons usually get only pejorative part of the verbal codes, unless they have some other power attributes which can hurt others.
‘Respect’ has to be compulsorily given to the rude, dishonest, arrogant, powerful individuals who hold the power to give/refuse to give, taunt, allow/disallow, permit/refuse permission, licence/refuse licence, authorise/disallow, delegate, hurt, give employment/refuse employment, give wages/refuse wages etc. Generally these are persons in senior position, elder persons, parents, government employees, teachers, social bosses, employers &c. Naturally when ‘respect’ is extended, an affectionate bond from the heights to the depths forms. It is the natural relationship in a feudal language communication system.
Yet, extending of respect to the other is forced and self-depreciating and humiliating, and an admission of lower social or positional worth. It is not a standalone action. Respect is encoded into physical poses and gestures. For instance, when using words of respect, varying poses of respect are acted out in the body posture. It is natural and in tune with the level of self-depreciation extended. Actually native-English speakers do not have any idea about this.
Actually a minor forgetting or disinclination to act out a ‘respect’ can create huge mental stress on the person who has to be respected. In this sense, the lower group do hold a very powerful weapon to distress and dismantle. I will discuss this point in detail later.
I remember an instance when I was studying in my 9th class in a state board school. The teacher came into the class. Everyone has to get up. Everyone did. I was engrossed in reading a book. I did not notice the arrival of the teacher. He sat down and called me. Thinking that he had something specific to tell me, I went fast to him. He simply gave me a series resounding slaps continuously on my face. Calling me totally unacceptable pejorative, dehumanising words (his right) like Nee, Eda etc. From an English perspective, there is nothing wrong that I had done. I had not done any mischief, or created any rumpus in the class. All I had done was not get up when the teacher came.
The power in my inaction cannot be understood in English. In feudal language social codes, these are very powerful codes that can dismantle another person’s right to leadership, and picture him as a nonentity. Yet, do not think of feudal language social systems as a military regimentation. There is a very powerful difference. I will speak about that later.
There is this story from the history of British-Indian political activities. During one meeting, Jinnah, (later the father of Pakistan), mentioned Gandhi as Mr. Gandhi in his speech, when Gandhi himself was on the dais. The reaction was immediate. Gandhi followers literally screamed abuses at him and made him run off the dais. Only persons who were ready to mention Gandhi as ‘Gandhiji’ were allowed to function in Congress party by Gandhi followers. It was to lead to a dislike for Gandhi among certain seniors in the party. However, Gandhi was very rich (son of a prime minister of small-time kingdom) and could finance media focus on himself.
In certain parts of the Indian subcontinent, during the English rule, the English administrators had to face a particular problem. The issue as they understood it was when the lower castes used ‘abusive’ words to the upper castes, the delinquent was caught and punished severely by the village headman. In most cases, it might be physical torture and incarceration. The judicial courts set up by the English East India Company did not really know how to handle this issue. For, to insert too much correction into social links and requirements of interior villages was not always tenable. The ‘abuse’ that was found to be so terrible a misdemeanour was just a wrong indicant worduse by a lower caste man. Actually, English rule really give a lot of spur to the lower castes to use the new found freedom callously.
In the kingdom of Travancore, [QUOTE from Native life in Travancore]:The proper salutation from a female to persons of rank was to uncover the bosom END of QUOTE
There is this quote from the book Native life in Travancore (Published in the year: 1883) written by Rev. Samuel Matteer of the London Missionary Society, who was one of the pioneering English Christian missionaries in India: QUOTE: When the Valans converse with high caste people, they must use the old terms of humiliation and self-depreciation. END of QUOTE. Rev. Matteer did not really understand the situation. It is not the Valan caste alone who acted out acts of humiliation and self-depreciation, but everyone who extended respect to any higher persons.
Now to a deeper discussion
In the Indian peninsular region, there are varying words ranging from respect to disdain for You (depending on the language), He, Him, His, She, Her, Hers &c. Even a single change of the exact form can be ofterrible mental effect, which in turn can affect the body also. For instance, the communication between two persons:
“I want you to go and get this information”.
It is like this in English. See the picture
In a feudal language, it is different. Depends on levels. Between two equals, both at a higher level of equal dignity communication or both at a lower level of equal dignity communication. See the picture.
Now, in higher level to higher level communication, one side can suddenly inform the other that he or she is in a social hole. By just changing the You. See this:
The effect is terrible, and the other side can feel a sudden drop through sheer freefall space, if he or she is of some personal dignity. If he or she is accustomed to this lower level, then there is basically no fall as such. Only a feel at home in the stink.
Here I would like to mention two more items today before closing.
One is that generally in feudal languages, using the name, i.e. calling a person by his or her mere name, addressing a person by his or her mere name, mentioning a person by his or her mere name, are generally seen as signalling that the other person is a nonentity, a subordinate of low stature, a social stink, a junior, one over whom the first person has dominanceetc. It can also signify that the other person is an equal. This equality can be a dangerous equality, at times.
For, people who are positioned on the lower pejorative location in feudal languages claiming equality by a crude short-cut method can really give a real physical and mental jolt to anyone who does not want that level of equality. Note that even the feudal language word ‘equality’ has connotations that cannot be explained easily in English.
Even though there is currently a feeling of rapture among English speakers in the bringing of usages such as Mr. Mrs., Miss etc. to near oblivion, and replaced it with mere name, there is a wider machinery at work. The tragic effect of allowing persons with no right to meddle with the exquisite codes inside English will be clear only when the nation slowly shifts towards feudal language speech codes.
Actually feudal language speakers use respectful suffixes to a person’s name to ‘respect’ him or her, when addressing, calling or referring to him or her. Not using this is actually a sort of social homicide. Such words as Ji, Bhai, Sabh, MemSabh, Maadam, Saar etc. are used. However, when these people speak in English, they have to use the English codes, which Mr., Mrs. Miss etc. when the relationship is formal or slight. I am not sure how many do it. It depends on the native language of the person. A feudal language native-speaker actually carries a virtual hierarchal frame of human arrangement around him as a sort of aura. Sitting inside that frame and briefly speaking English, may have certain serious issues which might need deeper discussion.
The second point is that, even though I have depicted the suppression, lowering and snubbing tool of the upper positioned person, in a feudal language ambience, this is not the real terror part of the communication. There is another more brutal area of terror and abuse. Much more horrific than any abuse that the English world has ever discussed.
I will continue….. taking up the first two points mentioned in the beginning.