Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How a photographer makes friends with a pile of wood 1.
November 29, 2111

The subjection of the Latvian language over the past twenty years to an increasingly brutal secularization, has been gaining increasing attention lately.

The attention is a byproduct of a successful signature gathering campaign by members of the Russian population for a petition to hold a referendum (the current amount of signatures 137,500; the necessary amount 154,379) to change the Latvian Constitution so it will allow the Russian language in Latvia to acquire equal rights to the Latvian language, in effect to make such constitutional changes as are necessary to allow Russian to become the second language in Latvia.

The issue was first raised by certain Latvian jingoists parties (re Unity and All for Latvia; VienotÄ«ba and Visu Latvjai). The intent to bolster the political popularity of said parties has resulted in a counter movement by the Russian segment of the Latvia’s population.
In the face of many years of Latvian “do-nothingn politics” to reform corrupt politics or improve the country’s economic prospects, the language issue has proven itself exceedingly popular among the Russian speaking segment of the Latvian population.

Though one can sympathize with the point of view of the Latvian jingoists to some degree, such sympathy soon comes up against the fact that the ultra nationalist viewpoint turns the Latvianlanguage itself into no more than an advertising tool for the above mentioned parties.

Once one perceives the divide that forms between a secularized language and its earlier spiritualized and emotive equivalent, one (whether one is born to the Latvian or Russian language) understands that the present use of one’s language may add up to little more than that of  an advertising tool. This is when one makes the conclusion that one’s language has become a tool for advertising as such. In other words, the issue that the Latvian ultra nationalists have unintentionally raised is to focus attention on their use of the Latvian language. Needless to say, the jingoist effect of promoting themselves highlights a misuse of the language of their forebears.

How a photographer makes friends with a pile of wood 2.
 The misuse suffered by the Latvian and Russian languages is the dismissal (in toto) of their innate spiritual values.

It is not often that one hears in our day a discussion of the spiritual values imbedded within the language one speaks. An attack against such values has been a long and ongoing process, which runs parallel to the secularization and commercialization  of all Western languages and the communal values imbedded in same since their ancient past.

One may go so far as to say that the spiritual values embedded in the language one speaks goes back to the days, when implicitly and communally shared values were replaced with overt “religions”. The first such overt religion to impose itself over a native people was Western Roman Catholic Christianity. Instead of allowing the “endearing word”, which is imbedded in the use of one’s language to play an active role in community life, “religion(s)” began to deny such values as “pagan”, stressing the canonical values of “religion” instead.

It is interesting that both the Latvian and Russian languages are rich and bountiful in “endearing words”. The “endearing words” of both languages have suffered many centuries of open and surreptitious denial.

What is an “endearing word”? The academic world to this day knows these words as “diminutives http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diminutive ”. Essentially a misnomer by gramaticians, the diminutive does not diminism anything. What it does is to inflect just about any word [(it depends on the language) English being poor in such; whereas Latvian, Russian, and German languages are exceedingly rich in same].

For example, the Latvian name for “stone” is “akmens”. By adding to the word the inflection “(t)inshs”, re “akmentinsh”, one endears it. The adding of the inflection is often an involuntary and learned act of mimesis, whereby one ‘gets into’, so to say, the word. A similar effect in English is achieved when one readdresses “John” with an affectionate inflection, by which process “John” becomes “Johnny”; another trick of the English language (probably left over from days of yore) is to end the name by adding to it the inflection “-kins.” Thus, the word for  “baby” or "daddy"(arguably “endearments” and a “diminutives”, both) is sometimes heard pronounced “baby-kins” and "daddy-kins"..

By insisting that Russian is given official recognition in the Latvian Constitution, the Russian speaking public in Latvia necessarily reminds itself that Russian, too, has deeply imbedded spiritual values, which become manifest, first, in the language, second, in the behavior of those who use the language through yet further projection of mimesis.

Arguably, the root of mimetic projection is to be sought in the use of language by a mother when she is addressing or for that matter feeding her child. It is, thus, that a language acquires the meaning of being one’s “mother tongue”’. And surely there is no Constitution, written law, political party, or advertisement company  that can take from us the language that comes to us first through mother's milk and hearing.

How through a self-portrait a photographer makes friends with a pile of wood 3.

No comments:

Post a Comment