Sacred language

A sacred language, "holy language" (in religious context) or liturgical language is any language that is cultivated and used primarily in religious service or for other religious reasons by people who speak another, primary language in their daily life.

Concept

A sacred language is often the language which was spoken and written in the society in which a religion's sacred texts were first set down; however, these texts thereafter become fixed and holy, remaining frozen and immune to later linguistic developments. Once a language becomes associated with religious worship, its believers may ascribe virtues to the language of worship that they would not give to their native tongues. In the case of sacred texts, there is a fear of losing authenticity and accuracy by a translation or re-translation, and difficulties in achieving acceptance for a new version of a text. A sacred language is typically vested with a solemnity and dignity that the vernacular lacks. Consequently, the training of clergy in the use of a sacred language becomes an important cultural investment, and their use of the tongue is perceived to give them access to a body of knowledge that untrained lay people cannot (or should not) access.

Because sacred languages are ascribed with virtues that the vernacular is not perceived to have, the sacred languages typically preserve characteristics that would have been lost in the course of language development. In some cases, the sacred language is a dead language. In other cases, it may simply reflect archaic forms of a living language. For instance, 17th-century elements of the English language remain current in Protestant Christian worship through the use of the King James Bible or older versions of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. In more extreme cases, the language has changed so much from the language of the sacred texts that the liturgy is no longer comprehensible without special training. For example, the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church remained in Latin after the Council of Tours in 813 ordered preaching in local Romance or German because Latin was no longer understood.

The concept of sacred languages is distinct from that of divine languages, which are languages ascribed to the divine (i.e. God or gods) and may not necessarily be natural languages. The concept, as expressed by the name of a script, for example in Devanāgarī, the name of a script that roughly means "[script] of the city”, and is used to write many Indian languages.

Buddhism

Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan are the main sacred languages of Buddhism.[1][2]

When Buddha's sutras were first written down in Pali, there were around 20 schools, each with their own version derived from the original. The Pali canon originates from the Tamrashatiya school. The Chinese and Tibetan canons derive from mainly Sarvastivada (originally written in Sanskrit). However, only fragments of the original Sanskrit remain. Fortunately they were translated into Chinese and Tibetan.[3]

Theravada Buddhism uses Pali as its main liturgical language and prefers its scriptures to be studied in the original Pali. Pali is derived from one of the Indian Prakrits, which are closely related to Sanskrit. In Thailand, Pali is written using the Thai alphabet, resulting in a Thai pronunciation of the Pali language.

Mahayana Buddhism makes little use of its original language, Sanskrit. Instead in East Asia, Chinese is mainly used. In some Japanese rituals, Chinese texts are read out or recited with the Japanese pronunciations of their constituent characters, resulting in something unintelligible in both languages.[4]

In Tibetan Buddhism, the Tibetan language is used, but mantras are in Sanskrit.

Christianity

US Navy 040411-N-1290G-005 Navy Chaplain Milton Gianulis conducts an Easter morning Orthodox Liturgy candlelight service aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75)
Navy Chaplain Milton Gianulis conducts an Easter morning Orthodox Liturgy candlelight service aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75)

Christian rites, rituals, and ceremonies are not celebrated in one single sacred language. The Churches which trace their origin to the Apostles continued to use the standard languages of the first few centuries AD.

These include:

The extensive use of Greek in the Roman Liturgy has continued, in theory; it was used extensively on a regular basis during the Papal Mass, which has not been celebrated for some time. By the reign of Pope Damasus I, the continuous use of Greek in the Roman Liturgy had come to be replaced in part by Latin. Gradually, the Roman Liturgy took on more and more Latin until, generally, only a few words of Hebrew and Greek remained. The adoption of Latin was further fostered when the Vetus Latina (old latin) version of the Bible was edited and parts retranslated from the original Hebrew and Greek by Saint Jerome in his Vulgate. Latin continued as the Western Church's language of liturgy and communication. One simply practical reason for this may be that there were no standardized vernaculars throughout the Middle Ages. Church Slavonic was used for the celebration of the Roman Liturgy in the 9th century (twice, 867-873 and 880-885).

In the mid-16th century the Council of Trent rejected a proposal to introduce national languages as this was seen, among other reasons, as potentially divisive to Catholic unity.

During the Reformation in England, when the Protestant authorities banned the use of Latin liturgy, various schools obtained a dispension to continue to use Latin, for educational purposes.

From the end of 16th century, in coastal Croatia, the vernacular was gradually replacing Church Slavonic as the liturgical language. It was introduced in the rite of the Roman Liturgy, after the Church Slavonic language of glagolitic liturgical books, published in Rome, was becoming increasingly unintelligible due to linguistical reforms, namely, adapting Church Slavonic of Croatian recension by the norms of Church Slavonic of Russian recension. For example, the vernacular was used to enquire of the bride and bridegroom whether they accepted their marriage vows.

Jesuit missionaries to China had sought, and for a short time received permission, to translate the Roman Missal into scholarly Classical Chinese. (See Chinese Rites controversy). However, ultimately permission was revoked. Among the Algonquin and Iroquois, they received permission to translate the propers of the Mass into the vernacular.[5]

In the 20th century, Pope Pius XII granted permission for a few vernaculars to be used in a few rites, rituals, and ceremonies. This did not include the Roman Liturgy of the Mass.

The Catholic Church, long before the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), had accepted and promoted the use of the non-vernacular liturgical languages listed above; while vernacular (i.e. modern or native) languages were also used liturgically throughout history; usually as a special concession given to religious orders conducting missionary activity. [6] The use of vernacular language in liturgical practice after 1964 created controversy for a minority of Catholics, and opposition to liturgical vernacular is a major tenet of the Catholic Traditionalist movement.

In the 20th century, Vatican II set out to protect the use of Latin as a liturgical language. To a large degree, its prescription was initially disregarded and the vernacular not only became standard, but was generally used exclusively in the liturgy. Latin, which remains the chief language of the Roman Rite, is the main language of the Roman Missal (the official book of liturgy for the Latin Rite) and of the Code of Canon Law, and the use of liturgical Latin is still encouraged. Large-scale papal ceremonies often make use of it. Meanwhile, the numerous Eastern Catholic Churches in union with Rome each have their own respective "parent-language". As a subsidiary issue, unrelated to liturgy, the Eastern Code of Canon Law, for the sake of convenience, has been promulgated in Latin.

Eastern Orthodox Churches vary in their use of liturgical languages in Church services. Koine Greek and Church Slavonic are the main sacred languages used in the Churches of the Eastern Orthodox communion. However, the Eastern Orthodox Church permits other languages to be used for liturgical worship, and each country often has the liturgical services in their own language. This has led to a wide variety of languages used for liturgical worship, but there is still uniformity in the liturgical worship itself. So one can attend an Orthodox service in another location and the service will be (relatively) the same.

Liturgical languages used in the Eastern Orthodox Church include: Koine Greek, Church Slavonic, Romanian, Georgian, Arabic, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Serbian, English, Spanish, French, Polish, Portuguese, Albanian, Finnish, Swedish, Chinese, Estonian, Korean, Japanese, several African languages and other world languages.

Oriental Orthodox churches outside their ancestral lands regularly pray in the local vernacular; but some clergymen and communities prefer to retain their traditional language or use a combination of languages.

Many Anabaptist groups, such as the Amish, use High German in their worship despite not speaking it amongst themselves.

Hinduism

Hinduism is traditionally considered to have Sanskrit as its principal liturgical language. Sanskrit is the language of the Vedas, Bhagavadgita, Puranas like Bhagavatam, the Upanishads, the Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata and various other liturgical texts such as the Sahasranama, Chamakam and Rudram.

Sanskrit is also the tongue of most Hindu rituals. It is an Indo-Aryan language and therefore a member of the Indo-European language family. It therefore has some similarities with Greek and Latin, as well as with many vernacular languages of Europe and south Asia. Like Latin and Greek, it also has secular literature along with its religious canon. Most Hindu theologians of later centuries continued to prefer to write in Sanskrit even when it was no longer spoken as a day-to-day language.

While Sanskrit has often been associated with Brahmanism, it remains as the only liturgical link language which connects the different strains of Hinduism that are present across India. The de facto position that Sanskrit enjoyed, as the principal language of Hinduism, enabled its survival not only in India but also in other areas where Hinduism thrived like South East Asia. Apart from Sanskrit, several Hindu spiritual works were composed in the various regional languages of India such as Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Odia, Maithili, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi and Tulu.

Islam

Classical Arabic, or Qur'anic Arabic, is the language of the Qur'an. Muslims understand the Qur'an as divine revelation -- it is a sacred and eternal document, as it is the direct word of God. As such, the Qur'an is only truly the Qur'an if it is precisely as it was revealed -- i.e., in Classical Arabic. Translations of the Qur'an into other languages are therefore not treated as the Qur'an itself; rather, they are seen as interpretive texts, which attempt to communicate a translation of the Qur'an's message. Salah and other rituals are also conducted in Classical Arabic for this reason. Scholars of Islam must learn and interpret the Qur'an in classical Arabic.

However, Classical Arabic is not itself sacred, and holds no inherent spiritual significance. This is unlike, for example, the significance of Biblical Hebrew in Judaism, Sanskrit in Hinduism, or Avestan in Zoroastrianism. Though the Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad in Arabic, other prophets received revelation in their own languages - e.g., Moses was revealed the Torah in Hebrew, and Jesus was revealed the Injil in Aramaic. These revelations were no less divine than the Qur'an; their texts have only become less divine, as their original message was corrupted over generations. The Arabic used in Muslim worship was also the same language used in day-to-day life by Arabs at the time, and the fact that the Qur'an was revealed to humans in Arabic does not make the Arabic language itself more sacred than any other. Sermons are delivered in local vernacular.

Judaism

The core of the Hebrew Bible is written in Biblical Hebrew, referred to by some Jews as Lashon Hakodesh (לשון הקודש, "Language of Holiness"). Hebrew (and in the case of a few texts such as the Kaddish, Aramaic) remains the traditional language of Jewish religious services, although its usage today varies by denomination: Orthodox services are almost entirely in Hebrew, Reform services make more use of the national language and only use Hebrew for a few prayers and hymns, and Conservative services usually fall somewhere in between. Rabbinic Hebrew and Aramaic are used extensively by the Orthodox for writing religious texts.

Among many segments of the Haredi, Yiddish, although not used in liturgy, is used for religious purposes, such as for Torah study. In contemporary Israel, where Yiddish has virtually disappeared as a spoken language among the general public, it is cultivated and extensively used by some Haredi groups - partly in protest against Hebrew, the traditional sacred language having been "profaned" by Zionism, making it the main language of modern secular Israeli society. Moreover, in these circles Yiddish is associated with the memory of the great Torah sages of Eastern Europe, who spoke it and whose communities were destroyed in the Holocaust.

Among the Sephardim Ladino, a calque of Hebrew or Aramaic syntax and Castilian words, was used for sacred translations such as the Ferrara Bible. It was also used during the Sephardi liturgy. Note that the name Ladino is also used for Judeo-Spanish, a dialect of Castilian used by Sephardim as an everyday language until the 20th century.[7][8]

List of sacred languages

References

  1. ^ "What Language Did the Buddha Speak?". www.hinduwebsite.com. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  2. ^ "Language in India". www.languageinindia.com. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  3. ^ Hahn, Thich Nhat (2015). The Heart of Buddha's Teachings. Harmony. p. 16.
  4. ^ Buswell, Robert E., ed. (2003), Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 1, London: Macmillan, p. 137.
  5. ^ Salvucci, Claudio R. 2008. The Roman Rite in the Algonquian and Iroquoian Missions Archived 2012-10-08 at the Wayback Machine. Merchantville, NJ:Evolution Publishing. See also
  6. ^ "Library : Liturgical Languages". www.catholicculture.org.
  7. ^ a b EL LADINO: Lengua litúrgica de los judíos españoles, Haim Vidal Sephiha, Sorbona (París), Historia 16 - AÑO 1978:
  8. ^ "Clearing up Ladino, Judeo-Spanish, Sephardic Music" Archived 2008-04-16 at the Wayback Machine Judith Cohen, HaLapid, winter 2001; Sephardic Song Judith Cohen, Midstream July/August 2003
  9. ^ Nirmal Dass (2000). Songs of Saints from Adi Granth. SUNY Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-7914-4684-3. Retrieved 29 November 2012. Any attempt at translating songs from the Adi Granth certainly involves working not with one language, but several, along with dialectical differences. The languages used by the saints range from Sanskrit; regional Prakrits; western, eastern and southern Apabhramsa; and Sahaskrit. More particularly, we find sant bhasha, Marathi, Old Hindi, central and Lehndi Panjabi, Sindhi and Persian. There are also many dialects deployed, such as Purbi Marwari, Bangru, Dakhni, Malwai, and Awadhi.
Aramaic language

Aramaic (Arāmāyā; square script אַרָמָיָא, Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡܝܐ‎) is a language or group of languages belonging to the Semitic subfamily of the Afroasiatic language family. More specifically, it is part of the Northwest Semitic group, which also includes the Canaanite languages such as Hebrew and Phoenician. The Aramaic alphabet was widely adopted for other languages and is ancestral to the Hebrew, Syriac and Arabic alphabets. During its approximately 3,100 years of written history, Aramaic has served variously as a language of administration of empires, as a language of divine worship and religious study, and as the spoken tongue of a number of Semitic peoples from the Near East.

Historically, Aramaic was the language of the Arameans, a Semitic-speaking people of the region between the northern Levant and the northern Tigris valley. By around 1000 BC, the Arameans had a string of kingdoms in what is now part of Syria and Mesopotamia. Aramaic rose to prominence under the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–605 BC), under whose influence Aramaic became a prestige language, and its use spread throughout most of Mesopotamia and the Levant. At its height, variants of Aramaic were spoken all over in what is today Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Eastern Arabia, Northern Arabia, and to a lesser extent parts of southeast and south central Turkey, and parts of northwest Iran. Aramaic was the language of Jesus, who spoke the Galilean dialect during his public ministry, as well as the language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and also one of the languages of the Talmud.

The scribes of the Neo-Assyrian bureaucracy had also used Aramaic, and this practice—together with other administrative practices—was subsequently inherited by the succeeding Neo-Babylonians (605–539 BC), and the Achaemenids (539–323 BC). Mediated by scribes that had been trained in the language, highly standardized written Aramaic (in its Achaemenid form called Imperial Aramaic) progressively also become the lingua franca of trade and commerce throughout the Achaemenid territories, which extended as far east as the Indus valley. (That use of written Aramaic subsequently led to the adoption of the Aramaic alphabet and—as logograms—some Aramaic vocabulary in the Pahlavi scripts, which were used by several Middle Iranian languages, including Parthian, Middle Persian, Sogdian, and Khwarazmian).Aramaic's long history and diverse and widespread use has led to the development of many divergent varieties, which are sometimes considered dialects, though they have become distinct enough over time that they are now sometimes considered as separate languages. Therefore, there is not one singular, static Aramaic language; each time and place rather has had its own variation. The more widely spoken Eastern Aramaic and Mandaic forms are today largely restricted to Iraqi Kurdistan, northeastern Syria, northwestern Iran and southeastern Turkey, whilst the severely endangered Western Neo-Aramaic is spoken by small communities in northwestern Syria.

Certain dialects of Aramaic are also retained as a sacred language by certain religious communities. One of those liturgical dialects is Mandaic, which besides being a living variant of Aramaic is also the liturgical language of Mandaeism. Significantly more widespread is Syriac, the liturgical language of Syriac Christianity, in particular the Assyrian Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Assyrian Pentecostal Church, Assyrian Evangelical Church, Ancient Church of the East, Syriac Catholic Church, the Maronite Church, and the Saint Thomas Christian denominations of India. Syriac was also the liturgical language of several now-extinct gnostic faiths, such as Manichaeism.

Neo-Aramaic languages are still spoken today as a first language by many communities of Syriac Christians, Jews (in particular, the Kurdish Jews), and Mandaeans of Western Asia, most numerously by Chaldeans, Syriacs and Assyrians with numbers of fluent speakers ranging approximately from 1 million to 2 million, with the main languages among Assyrians being Assyrian Neo-Aramaic (235,000 speakers), Chaldean Neo-Aramaic (1 million speakers) and Turoyo (112,000 to 450,000 speakers), together with a number of smaller closely related languages with no more than 5,000 to 10,000 speakers between them. They have retained use of the once dominant lingua franca despite subsequent language shifts experienced throughout the Middle East. However, the Aramaic languages are now considered endangered. The languages are used by the older generation, all beyond retirement age, and so could go extinct within a generation. However, researchers are working to record all the dialects of Neo-Aramaic languages before they go extinct. Royal Aramaic inscriptions from the Aramean city-states date from 10th century BC, making Aramaic one of the world's oldest recorded living languages.

Ashkenazi Jews

Ashkenazi Jews ( ASH-, AHSH-kə-NAH-zee), also known as Ashkenazic Jews or, by using the Hebrew plural suffix -im, Ashkenazim ( ASH-, AHSH-kə-NAH-zim; Hebrew: אַשְׁכְּנַזִּים, Ashkenazi Hebrew pronunciation: [ˌaʃkəˈnazim], singular: [ˌaʃkəˈnazi], Modern Hebrew: [aʃkenaˈzim, aʃkenaˈzi]; also יְהוּדֵי אַשְׁכְּנַז Y'hudey Ashkenaz), are a Jewish diaspora population who coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium.The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Germanic language with elements of Hebrew, Aramaic and Slavic languages), developed after they had moved into northern Europe: beginning with Germany and France in the Middle Ages. For centuries they used Hebrew only as a sacred language, until the revival of Hebrew as a common language in Israel. Throughout their time in Europe, Ashkenazim have made many important contributions to its philosophy, scholarship, literature, art, music and science.The term "Ashkenazi" refers to Jewish settlers who established communities along the Rhine river in Western Germany and in Northern France dating to the Middle Ages. Once there, they adapted traditions carried from Babylon, the Holy Land, and the Western Mediterranean to their new environment. The Ashkenazi religious rite developed in cities such as Mainz, Worms, and Troyes. The eminent French Rishon rabbi Shlomo Itzhaki (Rashi) would have a significant influence on the Jewish religion.

In the late Middle Ages, due to religious persecution, the majority of the Ashkenazi population shifted steadily eastward, moving out of the Holy Roman Empire into the areas later part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, comprising parts of present-day Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine1.In the course of the late 18th and 19th centuries, those Jews who remained in or returned to the German lands generated a cultural reorientation; under the influence of the Haskalah and the struggle for emancipation, as well as the intellectual and cultural ferment in urban centers, they gradually abandoned the use of Yiddish and adopted German, while developing new forms of Jewish religious life and cultural identity.The Holocaust of the Second World War decimated the Ashkenazim, affecting almost every Jewish family. It is estimated that in the 11th century Ashkenazi Jews composed three percent of the world's total Jewish population, while an estimate made in 1930 (near the population's peak) had them as 92 percent of the world's Jews. Immediately prior to the Holocaust, the number of Jews in the world stood at approximately 16.7 million. Statistical figures vary for the contemporary demography of Ashkenazi Jews, ranging from 10 million to 11.2 million. Sergio Della Pergola, in a rough calculation of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, implies that Ashkenazi Jews make up less than 74% of Jews worldwide. Other estimates place Ashkenazi Jews as making up about 75% of Jews worldwide.Genetic studies on Ashkenazim—researching both their paternal and maternal lineages—suggest a predominant amount of shared Middle Eastern ancestry, complemented by varying percentages of European admixture. These studies have arrived at diverging conclusions regarding both the degree and the sources of their European ancestry, and have generally focused on the extent of the European genetic origin observed in Ashkenazi maternal lineages. Ashkenazi Jews are popularly contrasted with Sephardi Jews (also called Sephardim), who descend from Jews who settled in the Iberian Peninsula, and Mizrahi Jews, who descend from Jews who remained in the Middle East.

Auxiliary language

An auxiliary language is one not the primary or native language of a community. It may refer to:

Interlanguage, an idiolect that has been developed by a learner of a second language

International auxiliary language, a planned language constructed for international communication, such as Esperanto or International Sign

Minority language, a secondary language that has official recognition

Sacred language, also called liturgical language or initiation language, used in religious services

Avestan

Avestan , also known historically as Zend, comprises two languages: Old Avestan (spoken in the 2nd millennium BCE) and Younger Avestan (spoken in the 1st millennium BCE). The languages are known only from their use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture (the Avesta), from which they derive their name. Both are early Iranian languages, a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages within the Indo-European family. Its immediate ancestor was the Proto-Iranian language, a sister language to the Proto-Indo-Aryan language, with both having developed from the earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian. As such, Old Avestan is quite close in grammar and lexicon with Vedic Sanskrit, the oldest preserved Indo-Aryan language.

The Avestan text corpus was composed in ancient Arachosia, Aria, Bactria, and Margiana, corresponding to the entirety of present-day Afghanistan, and parts of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The Yaz culture of Bactria-Margiana has been regarded as a likely archaeological reflection of the early "Eastern Iranian" culture described in the Avesta.

Avestan's status as a sacred language has ensured its continuing use for new compositions long after the language ceased to be a living language.

Church Slavonic language

Church Slavonic, also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative Slavic sacred language used by the Orthodox Church in Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia. The language appears also in the services of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese and occasionally in the services of the Orthodox Church in America. It was also used by the Orthodox Churches in Romanian lands until the late 17th and early 18th centuries as well as by Roman Catholic Croats in the Early Middle Ages. It is also co-used by Greek Catholic Churches, which are under Roman communion, in Slavic countries, for example the Croatian, Slovak and Ruthenian Greek Catholics, as well as by the Roman Catholic Church (Croatian and Czech recensions, see below).

In addition, Church Slavonic is used by some churches which consider themselves Orthodox but are not in communion with the Orthodox Church, such as the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, the Russian True Orthodox Church and others. The Russian Old Believers and the Co-Believers also use Church Slavonic.

Divine language

Divine language, the language of the gods, or, in monotheism, the language of God (or angels) is the concept of a mystical or divine proto-language, which predates and supersedes human speech.

Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin

The Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, in the United States, formerly known as the Wisconsin Winnebago Tribe, is one of two federally recognized tribes that were once a single tribe formerly known as Winnebago. The other federally recognized tribe is the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. The tribe separated when its members were forcibly relocated first to a reservation in Minnesota, and later to the current reservation in Nebraska. The name Ho-Chunk comes from the word Hochungra, meaning "People of the Big Voice" or "People of the Sacred Language."

Javanese script

The Javanese script, natively known as Aksara Jawa (ꦲ (a)ꦏ꧀ꦱ (ksa)ꦫ (ra)ꦗ (ja)ꦮ (wa)) and Hanacaraka (ꦲ (ha)ꦤ (na)ꦕ (ca)ꦫ (ra)ꦏ (ka)), formally known as Déntawyanjana (ꦢꦺ (dé)ꦤ꧀ꦠ (nta)ꦮꦾ (wya)ꦚ꧀ꦗ (nyja)ꦤ (na)) and Carakan (ꦕ (ca)ꦫ (ra)ꦏ (ka)ꦤ꧀ (n)), is an abugida developed by the Javanese people to write several Austronesian languages spoken in Indonesia, primarily the Javanese language and an early form of Javanese called Kawi, as well as Sanskrit, an Indo-Aryan language used as a sacred language throughout Asia. The Javanese script is a descendant of the Brahmi script and therefore has many similarities with the modern scripts of South India and Southeast Asia. The Javanese script, along with the Balinese script, is considered the most elaborate and ornate among Brahmic scripts of Southeast Asia.The script was widely used by the court scribes of Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands. Numerous efforts to standardize the script were made in the late 19th to early 20th-century, with the invention of the script's first metal type and the development of concise orthographic guidelines. However, further development was halted abruptly following World War II and especially during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, in which its use was prohibited, and the script's use has since declined. Today, everyday use of the Javanese script has been largely supplanted by the Latin alphabet.

List of religions and spiritual traditions

While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a

[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic."

A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.

Mass (music)

The mass (Latin: missa), a form of sacred musical composition, is a choral composition that sets the invariable portions of the Eucharistic liturgy (principally that of the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, and Lutheranism) to music. Most masses are settings of the liturgy in Latin, the liturgical sacred language of the Catholic Church's Roman liturgy, but there are a significant number written in the languages of non-Catholic countries where vernacular worship has long been the norm. For example, there are many masses (often called "communion services") written in English for the Church of England. Musical masses take their name from the Catholic liturgy called "the mass" as well.

Masses can be a cappella, that is, without an independent accompaniment, or they can be accompanied by instrumental obbligatos up to and including a full orchestra. Many masses, especially later ones, were never intended to be performed during the celebration of an actual mass.

Medefaidrin

Medefaidrin (Medefidrin), or Obɛri Ɔkaimɛ, is an artificial language and script created as a Christian sacred language by an Ibibio congregation in 1930s Nigeria. It has its roots in glossolalia ('speaking in tongues').

Speakers consider Medefaidrin to be a 'spirit language'. It was created by two leaders of the church, Michael Ukpong and Akpan Akpan Udofia. They report that the Holy Spirit revealed the words of the language to Ukpong, while Udofia wrote them down. At the time Ibibio was not a written language, and Udofia created a script to write Medefaidrin.

After finalizing the language in 1936, members of the church started a school in which children were instructed in Medefaidrin. This was not tolerated by the British colonial government, who closed the school that same year. Nonetheless, the language continued to be used for church activities, including liturgy and hymns, and for letters and written contracts between members. The language faded from use, but in 1986 Udofia began teaching it again in the church's Sunday school in Ididep. Old manuscripts in the script are in poor condition, and in the 21st century there has been some effort to preserve them.

In structure, the language is largely a relexification of English, though the semantics are closer to the native language of its users, Ibibio. Medefaidrin is a stress-accented rather than tonal language, though this may be changing under Ibibio influence. There are several consonant clusters that do not exist in English. (Ibibio has no consonant clusters.) The definite article is dei, and several prepositions alliterate or rhyme with their English equivalents: su "to", fra "from", nai "by", kin "in". Most words, however, resemble nothing in English or Ibibio, but appear to have been created without a specific underlying system. The morphology is not highly developed, but a few elements have been taken from English, such as the plural in -s (z?). The vigesimal numbering system, however, and the calendar, reflect Ibibio norms. The calendar year contains sixteen four-week months.The script has upper- and lower-case letters like the English alphabet, but the letters were invented and there is no systematic relationship between glyph and sound. There are a number of arbitrary digraphs, whose pronunciation cannot be determined from their component letters, again as in English.

Pali

Pali ( Pāḷi; Burmese: ပါဠိ) or Magadhan is a Middle Indo-Aryan liturgical language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of the Pāli Canon or Tipiṭaka, and is the sacred language of some religious texts of Hinduism and all texts of Theravāda Buddhism. The earliest archaeological evidence of the existence of canonical Pali comes from Pyu city-states inscriptions found in Burma dated to the mid 5th to mid 6th century CE.

Revival of the Hebrew language

The revival of the Hebrew language took place in Europe and Palestine toward the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century, through which the language's usage changed from the sacred language of Judaism to a spoken and written language used for daily life in Israel. The process began as a diversity of Jews started arriving and establishing themselves alongside the pre-existing Jewish community in the region of Palestine in the first half of the nineteenth century, when veteran Jews in Palestine (largely Arabic-speaking by that time) and the linguistically diverse newly arrived Jews all switched to use Hebrew as a lingua franca, the historical linguistic common denominator of all the Jewish groups. At the same time, a parallel development in Europe changed Hebrew from primarily a sacred liturgical language into a literary language which played a key role in the development of nationalist educational programs. Modern Hebrew was one of three official languages of Mandatory Palestine, and after the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948, one of two official languages of Israel, along with Modern Arabic. In July 2018, a new law made Hebrew the sole official language of the state of Israel, with Arabic having "special status". More than purely a linguistic process, the revival of Hebrew was utilized by Jewish modernization and political movements, and became a tenet of the ideology associated with settlement of the land, Zionism and Israeli policy.

The process of Hebrew's return to regular usage is unique; there are no other examples of a natural language without any native speakers subsequently acquiring several million native speakers, and no other examples of a sacred language becoming a national language with millions of "first language" speakers.

The language's revival eventually brought linguistic additions with it. While the initial leaders of the process insisted they were only continuing "from the place where Hebrew's vitality was ended", what was created represented a broader basis of language acceptance; it includes characteristics derived from all periods of Hebrew language, as well as from the non-Hebrew languages used by the long-established European, North African, and Middle Eastern Jewish communities, with Yiddish (the European variant) being predominant.

Santería

Santería, also known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla de Ifá, or Lucumí, is an Afro-American religion of Yoruba origin that developed in Cuba among West African descendants. Santería is a Spanish word that means the "worship of saints". Santería is influenced by and syncretized with Roman Catholicism. Its sacred language is the Lucumí language, a remnant of Yoruba language that is used in rituals but no longer spoken as a vernacular and mostly not understood by practitioners.

Suriyani Malayalam

Suriyani Malayalam (സുറിയാനി മലയാളം, ܣܘܼܪܝܵܢܝܼ ܡܲܠܲܝܵܠܲܡ), also known as Karshoni or Syriac Malayalam, is a dialect of Malayalam written in a variant form of the Syriac alphabet which was popular among the Saint Thomas Christians (also known as Syrian Christians or Nasranis) of Kerala in India. It uses Malayalam grammar, the Maḏnḥāyā or "Eastern" Syriac script with special orthographic features, and vocabulary from Malayalam and East Syriac. This originated in the South Indian region of the Malabar Coast (modern-day Kerala). Until the 19th century, the script was widely used by Syrian Christians in Kerala.

Syriac language

Syriac (; ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ Leššānā Suryāyā), also known as Syrian/Syriac Aramaic, Syro-Aramaic or Classical Syriac, is a dialect of Middle Aramaic of the Northwest Semitic languages of the Afroasiatic family that is written in the Syriac alphabet, a derivation of the Aramaic alphabet. Having first appeared in the early first century CE in Edessa, classical Syriac became a major literary language throughout the Middle East from the 4th to the 8th centuries, preserved in a large body of Syriac literature. Indeed, Syriac literature comprises roughly 90% of the extant Aramaic literature. Syriac was once spoken across much of the Near East as well as Anatolia and Eastern Arabia. Syriac originated in Mesopotamia and eventually spread west of Iraq in which it was became the lingua franca of the region during the Mesopotamian Neo-Assyrian period.The Old Aramaic language was adopted by the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–609 BC) when the Assyrians conquered the various Syro-Hittite states to its west. The Achaemenid Empire (546-332 BC), which rose after the fall of the Assyrian Empire, also retained Old Aramaic as its official language, and Old Aramaic remained the lingua franca of the region. During the course of the third and fourth centuries AD, the inhabitants of the region began to embrace Christianity. Because of theological differences, Syriac-speaking Christians bifurcated during the 5th century into the Church of the East, or East Syrians under Sasanian rule, and the Syriac Orthodox, or West Syrians under the Byzantine empire. After this separation, the two groups developed distinct dialects differing primarily in the pronunciation and written symbolisation of vowels. The modern, and vastly spoken, Syriac varieties today include Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic and Turoyo, among others, which, in turn, have their own subdialects as well.Along with Latin and Greek, Syriac became one of "the three most important Christian languages in the early centuries" of the Common Era. From the 1st century AD, Syriac became the vehicle of Syriac Christianity and culture, and the liturgical language of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Maronite Church, and the Church of the East, along with its descendants: the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, and the Assyrian Pentecostal Church.

Syriac Christianity and language spread throughout Asia as far as the Indian Malabar Coast and Eastern China, and was the medium of communication and cultural dissemination for the later Arabs and, to a lesser extent, the Parthian Empire and Sasanian Empire. Primarily a Christian medium of expression, Syriac had a fundamental cultural and literary influence on the development of Arabic, which largely replaced it towards the 14th century. Syriac remains the sacred language of Syriac Christianity to this day.

True name

A true name is a name of a thing or being that expresses, or is somehow identical to, its true nature. The notion that language, or some specific sacred language, refers to things by their true names has been central to philosophical study as well as various traditions of magic, religious invocation and mysticism (mantras) since antiquity.

Vernacular

A vernacular, or vernacular language, is the speech variety used in everyday life by the general population in a geographical or social territory. The vernacular is contrasted with higher-prestige forms of language, such as national, literary, liturgical or scientific idiom, or a lingua franca, used to facilitate communication across a large area. The vernacular is usually native, normally spoken informally rather than written, and seen as of lower status than more codified forms. It may vary from more prestigious speech varieties in different ways, in that the vernacular can be a distinct stylistic register, a regional dialect, a sociolect, or an independent language.

According to another definition, a vernacular is a language that has not developed a standard variety, undergone codification, or established a literary tradition. In the context of language standardization, the terms "vernacular" and "vernacular dialect" are also used as alternative designations for "non-standard dialect".

West Himalayish languages

The West Himalayish languages, also known as Almora and Kanauric, are a family of Sino-Tibetan languages centered in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and across the border into Nepal. LaPolla (2003) proposes that the West Himalayish languages may be part of a larger "Rung" group.

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