Talk:Sacred language

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Arabic is the sacred language of the Muslim world as it the language which every Momin will speak in the Hereafter thats Jannat. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:20, 17 June 2008 (UTC)


Is Hebrew a sacred language? I believe most Jews (in the US at least) speak Yiddish (or English) rather than Hebrew, and it is used for the ceremonies. -- zandperl 03:57, 28 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Yiddish, like English, German, and Russian, is a vernacular language spoken by many Jews--it is not the language of prayer or ritual. Vicki Rosenzweig 04:00, 28 Oct 2003 (UTC)
I added Hebrew, though I'm a bit shaky about how much Jewish liturgy is conducted in the language; I suppose it varies by denomination and congregation. -- Smerdis of Tlön 04:34, 28 Oct 2003 (UTC)
Many, perhaps most, religions conduct their services in both the sacred and the vernacular languages. The most ritualistic parts are in the the sacred language. The least ritualistic parts, almost always including the sermon, is in the language that most of the congregation actually understands.Bostoner (talk) 22:34, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Hebrew is an ancient language, with sacred words .Some of those words are common, some are not. YHVH is replaced with Adonai, as an example.

In interest of NPOV. I think we should allow all beliefs their sounds, and words.

I mistyped, I meant to say that I believe Hebrew is used for the ceremonies, rather than Yiddish. But I'm sure Smerdis is right, that it varies. -- zandperl 13:16, 28 Oct 2003 (UTC)

The references to Reform and Conservative Judaism use the American definitions of these terms - Reform Judaism in Europe is different and I think the article should reflect this.--Allanlewis (talk) 22:50, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Allanlewis. I believe American "Reform" equates to British (European?) "Liberal" and "Conservative" to "Reform". Just to confuse things! Herbgold (talk) 12:06, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Hebrew a sacred language? Don't be silly. :D Hebrew was a spoken language when the bible was written; after the exile of Jews, it was frequently used for non-religious prose and poetry; most notably, today it is the spoken language in Israel. And usually spoken quite rudely as well. ʝunglejill 21:56, 16 June 2012 (UTC)


The article says that Sanskrit is still a living language. Is that correct? In what sense? (Many years ago I read rumors of a village in India where Sanskrit was still spoken, but others wrote that it was a hoax.)
Jorge Stolfi 19:13, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

My understanding is that Hindu writers continue to write new texts in Sanskrit, and speak it conversationally. Oral performances of the Ramayana and other Sanskrit poetry continue to occur for entertainment, so I suspect even more people can understand spoken Sanskrit to some extent. While the language is no one's native tongue, it continues to be a living language if it is spoken and new texts are created in it. Smerdis of Tlön 19:24, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

That could be one sense of "living" indeed. However by that standard Latin is living, too; and possibly so Aramaic, Geez, and Coptic. The other sense of "living" is that the language is used for everyday communication without being tied to a particular historial canon, and thus capable of evolving (at least in principle). In this sense Latin is not "living", because "good Latin" is defined by the classical texts and not by current usage. I wonder which sense the linguists would use?
All the best, Jorge Stolfi 23:01, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

Of course, any language that is in fact used regularly continues to change, regardless of a historical canon. My take on the matter is that Latin was a living language until Renaissance humanists insisted on enforcing Classical norms; this made the workday Latin written by lawyers and clerics much more difficult to learn and use; late medieval Latin had its own non-classical norms of usage. My understanding is that linguists distinguish two continuums here: mother tongues versus learned languages, and living languages versus dead languages. This is what I meant by "learned but still living;" no one speaks Sanskrit as a mother tongue, but it is learned and used. Smerdis of Tlön 14:32, 19 May 2004 (UTC)

Sanskrit is not a dead language. There are millions of people who speak Sanskrit and there are a numerous organization working on Sasnskrit and there are many people who produce literary works on Sanskrit. A village near Shimogga in Karnataka state of India called "Maththu" which speaks only sasnkrit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Abnaren (talkcontribs) 14:27, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Sanskrit is not a dead language, because it has living descendants. The same is true of Latin and Old English. The modern, still spoken languages of Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, etc. are all descended from Sanskrit. It is an archaic of form of living languages.Bostoner (talk) 22:34, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

According to the Indian census there are native Sanskrit speakers. My guess is that this results from its being the parents' only common language. This certainly happens with Esperanto. Peter jackson (talk) 12:02, 29 January 2008 (UTC)


This article says that Telugu is the language of compositions in Carnatic music. While this is true, I should like to point out that Carnatic music is not a religion! It is a musical tradition, all right? If no one objects, I'm deleting the stuff about Telugu.--Siva 01:55, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

You are right Carnatic is a music tradition. Compositions are in all the the south Indian langauges (Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Abnaren (talkcontribs) 14:25, 5 October 2007 (UTC)


The article now mentions that Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu are chanting in Tamil as well as, or instead of, Sanskrit. Is this an archaic form of Tamil that is difficult for modern speakers to understand? The article is unclear about this, and makes it sound like these Tamil prayers are recent innovations. If the Tamil used for prayer is not markedly different from cultivated literary Tamil, I would question whether it constitutes a separate language cultivated for religious ritual, and would therefore fall outside the scope of the article. Smerdis of Tlön 22:43, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

FWIW, the text about Tamil read:

  • Tamil Lot of works that are considered to be sacred to Hinduism, such as Thiruppavai, Thiruvembavai, Kandar shashti kavacham etc., are equally chanted along with Sanskrit prayers in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The recent government rule had changed many of the Hindu Temples in Tamil Nadu, which were offering prayers in Sanskrit languages to Tamil language. This also changed some of the marriage ceremonies to be performed by chanting Mantras in Tamil instead of Sanskrit. Most of the Churches, and some of the Mosques in Tamil Nadu also offer their prayers in Tamil language.

Since no one has stepped forward to argue that this means that a distinct form of Tamil is cultivated as a sacred or liturgical language, or that the Tamil used in these ceremonies requires special instruction in order to be understood by the speakers of current Tamil, I don't believe this falls within the scope of the article. Smerdis of Tlön 14:02, 7 September 2005 (UTC)


Yes, Tamil is a sacred language used by the people following Kaumaram, Vainavam, Shaivam. Infact, the main gods of these religious traditions (Murugan, Thirumaal, Perumaal, Sivan, Natarajar, Dakshina moorthi) are created (!) by tamils. Hope you know that, Hinduism is the umbrella term given for all the religious traditions followed in India.

And the tamil used for liturgy is the Sangam Tamil or Middle Tamil. But, the spoken language is called koṭuntamiḻ.( a modern colloquial form ). Though the grammar remains same, it needs some scholars help to explain the meaning of the words used.

Tamils consider their language itself as a goddess TamilThaai. She is worshiped by tamils all over the world. In Madurai, there is a temple for Goddess Tamil Thaai!.

Sathish ! Ramadurai (talk) 21:37, 5 October 2009 (UTC) —Preceding undated comment added 20:43, 5 October 2009 (UTC).


EL LADINO: Lengua litúrgica de los judíos españoles, Haim Vidal Sephiha, Sorbona (París), Historia 16 - AÑO 1978 [my bolding]:

[...]ya que dicho ladino calca a lo largo de su discurso la lengua sagrada, recurriendo paso a paso a calcos lingüísticos (sintácticos, lexicales y semánticos), me atreví, haciendo de calco un adjetivo, a llamar dicha lengua judeo- español calco que se opone a la lengua hablada todavía hoy por los descendientes de los expulsos de 1492. De igual manera llamo judeo-alemán calco, judeo-italiano calco, etc., a producto de semejantes traducciones, y hasta islamo-persa calco el producto de la traducción literal del Corán al persa.
[...]La función primera del ladino o judeo-español calco fue pedagógica, pero, poco a poco, ya que el texto subyacente es sagrado, el ladino vino a sacralizarse y a funcionar -segunda función- como lengua litúrgica.
Así es que aún hoy en día, en ciertas sinagogas sefardítas, los sábados: siguen leyendo (meldando) la sección sabática versículo por versículo de esta manera: primero en hebreo, segundo en ladíno y, por último, en hebreo.
[...]5) Diferencia fundamental entre el ladino (judeo-español calco) y la lengua hablada primero en España, después fuera de España y a la que, por un contrasentido de la historia, se dio el nombre de judeo-español o español de los judíos.
[...]A este castellano de los judíos, que comenzó a diferenciarse -verdaderamente- del castellano peninsular hacia 1600/1620, lo llamo djudezmo o judeo-español vernáculo que siguió coexistiendo con el ladino, lengua litúrgica y no hablada a no ser el diálogo entre Dios y cada creyente.

Sacred languages as used by pagan reconstructionists[edit]

I'm not sure whether/where this belongs in the article, but pagan reconstructionists (those who emphasize historical accuracy) often use the language of the relevant culture in ritual contexts. For instance, a strict Hellenist pagan may learn and use Ancient Greek for religious reasons; a strict Norse pagan may do the same with Old Norse. Because that general attitude exists in many similar religions, however, I have trouble wording the new information consistently with the rest of the page. --Ingeborg S. Nordén 23:48, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Punjabi for Sikhism[edit]

Please add Punjabi for Sikhism — Stevey7788 (talk) 08:14, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Um, it already had Punjabi for Sikhism! In the Languages classififed as sacred section, just above Sanskrit it says "Classical Punjabi is the language of the holy scripture of Sikhism. It is different from the various dialects of Punjabi that exists today.". GizzaDiscuss © 08:26, 4 August 2008 (UTC)


There is a tendency within the German-speaking neo-pagan community (i.e. Druidic and Wiccan but apparently not Norse) to use English terms in rituals and for "name dropping". An English term like "Mother Earth" seems to carry more weight than the corresponding German term "Mutter Erde". (talk) 07:54, 15 August 2011 (UTC)


How is that photo at the top related to (or necessary for) this article? -- JALatimer 08:12, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Citation needed[edit]

this article is a bloody mess. someone please do something about it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:21, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Fix Redirect! Not "Sacred", needs to go to "Liturgical Language"[edit]

This page is ridiculous. Sacred is an Adjective. Not a real classification. Liturgical Language are languages only the priests knew, such a Ge'ez and pre-Masoretic Hebrew. Languages or Writing systems only the priests could read. People would memorize the words, then be told that is what the text says. Please — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

In some cases the languages themselves were or are actually considered sacred, divine or heavenly forms of communication by various groups, while with others it is more as you say -- this page kind of lists both sacred AND liturgical languages together, since the concept is similar. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 22:23, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

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