Language is a diverse phenomenon.
Geographical difference is one of the main reasons behind the diversity of a particular language.The different forms of a language that arise due to geographical differences are known as dialects. Every language has some regional characteristics, which form its various regional dialects. However, a standard form of a language understood by all is necessary and desirable.
This standard form of a language is usually used around the city or town areas. Bangla also has a standard form, which is widely known as Pramita Bangla. As the dialects have their own respect and dignity, the standard form demands the same.
But unfortunately, there is a chaotic situation in Bangladesh with the use of standard and regional forms of Bangla. These different forms are often being mixed by the language users, along with English and Hindi. The main reasons behind this chaos are a lack of social awareness and a lack of specific functions.
Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, has recently gained the status of a metropolis. People from different parts of the country come to Dhaka in search of a living. When they come to this city, they bring their language with them. And thus,the presence of the dialects of different regions, including Sylhet, Chattogram, Noakhali, Barisal, Mymensingh, Cumilla, Rangpur, Khulna, Rajshahi can be seen in Dhaka.
Dhaka city also has its own local language or dialect, which is known as "Dhakai" dialect. Besides, there is "Dhakai Urdu," the vocabulary and grammatical rules of which have come from standard Urdu language. On the other hand, most of the words and grammatical rules of Dhakai dialect or "Dhakaiya" dialect have come from Bangla. The language in Dhaka is multidimensional due to the regional dialects, like other capital cities of the world.
The multidimensionality of the capital cities of the developed world is largely within the discipline which is overseen by the language planning agencies. However, in Dhaka,the regional languages are not being used in any disciplined way due to lack of public awareness.
At the same time, people have insufficient information and knowledge about the use of standard language and dialects. A dialect may be used in informal environments, but one should use the standard form of Bangla in a formal environment. People do not wear the same outfit in all environments. The dress for a wedding ceremony and a milad mahfil are different. Again, the dress of Pahela Boishakh, which is a cultural heritage of Bengali people, and the dress of Ekushey February, the event that gave birth to our national consciousness, are different.
Not only that, we do not wear the same clothes that we wear in the house when we go outside. Similarly, the use of language is expected to vary according to the environment and situation. But in our urban life, the citizens of Dhaka do not use language as the situation demands. As a result, the use of standard Bangla is being ignored.
The television channels of the country can play a positive and important role in creating social awareness and presenting exemplary models in the introduction of standard Bangla. If the use of standard Bangla in our television channels and other mass media increases, the common man will try to imitate it. However, regional languages may also be used on television, depending on the situation or demand of the character of a drama.
Another issue that needs to be taken care of in terms of language use in Dhaka city -- the mixture of standard and regional forms of Bangla. It is very important to control the trend of using mixed Bangla among the residents of Dhaka metropolis.
Many residents of Dhaka are interested in learning standard Bangla, but they do not know where to learn it or how to learn it. Television can play an active role in this. Television channels can broadcast programmes on various practical aspects of the Bangla language, including pronunciation. These programmes should not only be centred on the month of February, they must be broadcast throughout the year.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a prime example of the powerful, effective, and diverse role that television can play in the development and maintenance of a language. The BBC has been playing an active role in the practice of standard English and in the maintenance of that language for decades.
If the television channels of Bangladesh come forward more intensively and systematically in the practice of standard Bangla, the verbal form of Bangla will take a sophisticated and systematic form. At the same time, television can play a role in ensuring the proper use of regional languages of Bangladesh.
The common people of Bangladesh take the language used in television as a model. Therefore, the television channels of Bangladesh, as a medium of making the verbal form of standard Bangla universal, can ensure their memorable contribution in the development and promotion of Bangla language through their action plan.
Dr. Feroza Yasmin is a Professor of the Department of Linguistics, Dhaka University.