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‘In India, political unity does not automatically give us linguistic unity’

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New Delhi: Political unity in India has not led to, or required, literary unity and hence study of Indian literature should be organized primarily in terms of linguistic traditions and regional clusters, Marxist literary theorist Aijaz Ahmad said on Thursday.

“In India, political unity does not automatically give us, or requires of us, a literary or linguistic unity.

“Hence, the study of Indian literature should be historically grounded and organized primarily in terms of particular linguistic traditions and regional clusters, and discussed on the model of what I would call regional Indian cosmopolitanism,” he said in his keynote address after lighting the ceremonial lamp to kick off the Indian Languages Festival ‘ILF Samanvay 2015’.

The annual festival, which brings together authors, writers, translators, and publishers onto the same platform, is organized by India Habitat Centre.

Festival director Rakesh Kackere said that ILF Samanvay is a wonderful meeting point for Indian languages.

“I am delighted to see that the festival started four years ago as a rendezvous for different Indian languages has attained new heights. Hope that this platform shall appreciate the beauty and nuances of different languages and ensure that the audience is able to relate to the feelings underlying their writings and voice their views on them,” he said.

With the theme of ‘Insider/Outsider, Writing India’s Dreams and Realities’, this year, the festival has broadened its mandate by developing on a range of verticals.

The new format includes curated art space, daily workshops by eminent experts in a range of topics from translation to food appreciation, book releases, social outreach in schools, and curated food stalls focusing on the food traditions of Kashmir, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra.

The second session, titled ‘Tribute and Conversation: Common People, Uncommon Minds’, paid tribute to the late cartoonist R.K. Laxman by cartoonist E.P. Unny, Krishna Prasad, Christel Devadawson with journalist Hartosh Singh Bal moderating the session. The panel also discussed the state of cartoon art in India, with Unny opining that the cartoon is developing into uncharted terrain where the “image, text and voice meet and debate”.

The evening was brought alive by a sublime Tibetan music performance by artists- Loten Namling, Sonam Dolma, and Jamyang Tashi.

Earlier in the evening, the festival also saw the launch of “Art-Articulations”, a new feature of ILF Samanvay. The art works of Riyas Komu, co-founder of the Cochin-Muziris Biennale, artist-weaver Priya Ravish Mehra, and performance photography exhibition curated by Kanika Anand are among the highlights.

(IANS)

(Photo: www.youtube.com)

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Early Exposure to Language May Enhance Child’s Reading and Writing Skills

Researchers examined the spellings of 179 American children aged three years, two months to five years and six months, who were pre phonological spellers

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Reading
Toddler reading a book. Pixabay
  • New evidence suggests that children start learning about the important aspects of reading and writing at an early age
  • In the pre phonological activity, the study found that the children used letters that did not reflect the sounds in the words 
  • The research will enhance the possibility that teachers could get useful information from children’s early attempts to write

July 25, 2017:   The important part of reading and spell is to learn about the use of letters in written words and sound in spoken words. A study carried out by the researchers from Washington University in St. Louis in Missouri, United States has discovered that early exposure to language may enhance a child’s ability to identify and comprehend important rules and pattern of how letters are used in a particular language to develop words.

“Our results show that children begin to learn about the statistics of written language, for example about which letters often appear together and which letters appear together less often before they learn how letters represent the sounds of a language,” said study co-author Rebecca Treiman to ANI.

Researchers examined the spellings of 179 American children aged three years, two months to five years and six months, who were pre phonological spellers. The children used letters that did not reflect the sounds in the words they were asked to spell when asked to try to write words.

The older pre phonological spellers showed more understanding about English letter pattern than the younger pre phonological spellers.

ALSO READ: Toddlers Using Gadgets May Appear Cool but Involve Health Risk 

Treiman said, “The findings are important because they show that exposure to written words during the three-to-five-year age range may be important in getting children off to a strong start with their reading, writing and spelling skills.”

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He further added, “Our results show that there is change and improvement with age during this period before children produce spellings that make sense on the basis of sound.”

The research further enhances the possibility that teachers could get useful information from children’s early attempts to write.  It would thus show whether a child is on track for future success or whether there might be a problem, Treiman explained.

– prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter @Nainamishr94

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Language Lessons For Your Baby May Start in Womb

The study showed that foetuses can hear things, including speech in the womb

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The findings if a new study by MIT researchers could offer a possible way to reduce the risk of autism. Pixabay
  • A baby can distinguish the difference between sounds used in various languages even a month before being born
  • The study showed that foetuses can hear things, including speech in the womb
  • The team examined 24 women, averaging roughly eight months pregnant

New York, July 18, 2017: Love to speak to your unborn baby? Well he or she can typically distinguish the difference between sounds used in various languages even a month before being born, an interesting study has shown.

The study showed that foetuses can hear things, including speech, in the womb, although the voice is muffled.

In the study, the foetal heart rates changed when they heard the unfamiliar, rhythmically distinct language (Japanese) after having heard a passage of English speech, while their heart rates did not change when they were presented with a second passage of English instead of a passage in Japanese.

“The results suggest that language development may indeed start in utero. Foetuses are tuning their ears to the language they are going to acquire even before they are born, based on the speech signals available to them in utero,” said lead author Utako Minai, associate professor from the University of Kansas.

Also Read: Pregnancy seems Safe for Breast Cancer Survivors: Study

“Pre-natal sensitivity to the rhythmic properties of language may provide children with one of the very first building blocks in acquiring language,” Minai added.

For the study, published in the journal NeuroReport, the team examined 24 women, averaging roughly eight months pregnant.

Minai had a bilingual speaker make two recordings, one each in English and Japanese — argued to be rhythmically distinctive language, to be played in succession to the foetus.

“The intrauterine environment is a noisy place. The foetus is exposed to maternal gut sounds, her heartbeats and voice, as well as external sounds.

“Without exposure to sound, the auditory cortex wouldn’t get enough stimulation to develop properly. This study gives evidence that some of that development is linked to language,” explained Kathleen Gustafson, a research associate professor at the varsity. (IANS)

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World’s oldest Languages: 10 spoken in world today

Over the years, languages have taken up many forms diverging from different roots. These ten languages have survived the threat of extinction and are still spoken around the world today.

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10 oldest languages
One of the 10 oldest languages: The Torah is the holy book for the Jews. It is written in Hebrew, the Jewish language. Wikimedia

June 7, 2017: 

Lingual identity is a part of community’s identity. Over the centuries of societal evolution, languages have evolved too. The languages that were born many years ago have provided the basis for some of the contemporary languages that we see today. However, these 10 of the world’s oldest languages still live today. 

Lithuanian

Lithuanian is the oldest surviving Indo-European Language. It is related to Sanskrit, Latin, and Ancient Greek. Around 4 million people in the world today speak Lithuanian. It was added to the official languages of the European Union in 2004. 

Oldest Lithuanian Book. Wikimedia

Farsi

Farsi is the name given to the Persian language in Iran and is the official language of the country. It is primarily spoken in Iran and Afghanistan. 

Farsi Alphabets. Wikimedia

Icelandic

About three and a half million people are estimated to speak the Icelandic language today. It’s spoken in Iceland and in Northern Ireland. It was named the official language of Iceland only in 2011! The language is so historically old that words had to be introduced by the language purists. Icelandic did not have the word for ‘computer’, so the people came up with one.

Extract of Icelandic language. Wikimedia

Finnish

Along with Swedish, Finnish is the official language of Finland. Around 7 million people in the world speak Finnish. The language emerged in written form only in the 16th century!

The first page of Abckiria (1543), the first book written in the Finnish language. Wikimedia

Georgian

Georgian is the biggest Kartvelian language. It is the official language of Georgia. So about 4 million people in Georgia speak the language and an additional 5 hundred thousand abroad. It is the only Caucasian language with an ancient literary tradition.

Georgian Language. Wikimedia Commons.

Basque

A mystery to the linguistics, Basque is spoken by Basque people in France and Spain. There is evidence that it existed long before the birth of romantic languages- before the Romans brought with themselves Latin to the European land. 

Location between France and Spain where Basque langue exists. Wikimedia Commons.

Hebrew

The Jewish language fell out of common usage back in 400 CE, but the Zionist movement popularized the language once again. While the Jews in Western Europe continued to speak the European language that prevailed on land, the Eastern European Jews sought a Jewish homeland in Israel and began using the Hebrew to establish Jewish solidarity. 

Tamil

There is compelling evidence that Jewish language Hebrew is in fact derived from Tamil. It was the Asura language of the Babylonians. Many African languages are derived from Tamil as well. Because of its antiquity, it is was declared a classical language by UNESCO. The official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore is spoken by 78 million people worldwide. 

Ancient Tamil Script – Tanjore Bragadeeshwara temple. Wikimedia Commons.

Macedonian

The Macedonian language dates further back than the origin of the Slavic languages. It shares the same dialectic continuum as Bulgarian. It is the official language of the Republic of Macedonia. 

Macedonian Language. Wikimedia Commons.

Irish Gaelic

Gaelic (called Gaeilge) is the official language of Ireland. It is called Irish Gaelic to differentiate it from Scottish Gaelic. It was used by the Celtics. The study of language is compulsory for school children. 

Advertisement in Irish Gaelic. Wikimedia

Though there exist many other languages that are counted amongst the oldest in the world- The two most popular and oldest being Sanskrit and Latin, from which contemporary languages have emerged, but the number of people still using this language is substantially small. Back in 2001, Sanskrit was estimated to be spoken by 15,000 people as their native language. The influence of Latin is also seen in various other languages (and fields) but as such the language is not spoken today.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394