Printing & Publishing

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This section provides a documentation of the language’s acquisition of new functions such as use in print and broadcast media, administration, science, cinema, theater and expansion of its traditional use in literature and education during the post-1918 period.

Languages differ widely in terms of functions, domains or scope of use.
At the one extreme, English-the world’s most developed speech form-has surpassed behind even developed languages like French and German (Kloss 1978:41). At the other end stand numerous languages unable to find access to the media or the educational system.

Functional elaboration is not a property or quality inherent in the structure of any language. Rather, it is related to the social, economic, and technological development of a speech community. While it is quite easy to reduce any pre-literate language to writing, it is quite difficult to institutionalize the print media or to develop a flourishing print culture.

Many languages (e.g., Kurdish which has a century of journalistic history) lack a daily newspaper (e.g., Kurdish this changed in late 1990s and now (2008) there are several daily newspapers published in Kurdistan region in Iraq) let alone specialized journals which publish abstracts of scientific research.

It is known, at least to most linguists, that no language is structurally handicapped; language planners, however, know from experience that egalitarianism gives way to inequality every time an English language college level textbook is translated into a non-standard language. The linguist and the language planner are not, in fact, contradicting each other. There seems to be a dynamic or, rather, dialectical relationship between functional elaboration and codification. Thus, historically, terminologies were created and lexicalized (i.e., popularized) whenever a language was used in science, technology, arts, and professions; these functions required, in turn, specialized vocabularies. In other words, functional elaboration results in codification, and a codified norm allows increasing functional differentiation.

The following subchapters highlight various political, social and economic constraints on the development of new functions in the Kurdish language till mid 1980s.

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