Sunday, February 17, 2008


Organizer: CIIL, Mysore
In collaboration with: NEHU, Shillong & Departments of Linguistics in the NE region
Workshop Series: 21st January-14th February
Venue: North Eastern Hill University, Permanent Campus, Shillong-793 022
by MK
The N.E Winter school of linguistics opened on the 21st January 2008, with a big bang from none other else than Pu. T. Aloysius Nehkhojang Evergreen Secretary of Zou Literature Society Manipur who is called Zogam Sakol’ in social circles. He led the assembly with the top of his voice; highest pitch of his vocal cords,he exclaimed aloud the familiar exclamatory words of ‘ KALAISAI’ 3 times and he requested the gathering of more than 200 N.E participants to intone the same with the best sounds of their vocal cords,who followed his exclamations of KALAISAI in childlike manner.
There were more than 200 participants participated like serious school students attending the classes in the chilly and windy Shillong winter. Young and old alike attended the classes enthusiastically with a lot of zeal . It was a very memorable experience to see them coming to classes like children of primary schools. The CIIL,Mysore managed to document video recordings more than 63 languages spoken in the N.E India including Zo/Zou language as recorded by Pu. T. Aloysius Nehkhojang.
The high point of the North East Winter School of Linguistics(NEWSOL) is the first ever workshop on the Kuki-Chin linguistic group on the 5th February 2008 at NEHU Campus,Shillong.
Based on the linguistics classifications of Sir George Grierson,the Kuki-Chin subgroups of Tibeto-Burman linguistic family met on the 5th February to discuss the ways and means to improve better understanding amongst these linguistic groups. This classificatory name given by Sir George Grierson has nothing to do with the present political scenarios in N.E states,its the accepted linguistic treminology of similar languages of the Tibeto-Burman famliy.
The workshop was organized by Dr. Kashyap Mankodi of Central Institute of Indian languages(CIIL), Mysore,Govt of India along with faculties such as Miss. Yankee Modi(JNU,New Delhi),Dhiren Singh and Pauthang Haokip( Assam University,Silchar) and Philip Thanglienmâng(New Delhi).
The sun was hidden behind the cloudy sky; the weather was harsh on the day of workshop; windy and extremely cold, so that all the members had to run out in the sunshine to catch some solar energy.
The workshop was conducted by Mr. T.Aloysius Nehkhojang, Secretary, Zou Literature Society Manipur. Prof/Dr. Rajesh Sachdeva,Dy.Director,CIIL urged the gathering to find some common meeting ground for coming together as one group so that some tangible and concrete steps could be taken to further the development of this group of languages.
Dr. Kashyap Mankodi went on to exhort the house to find a beginning somewhere as an experimental basis,at least for time being,later on, as and when there is consensus, one could arrive at some common meeting point.
There was a motion moved to the CIIL,Mysore for a change in the name of this group to which the CIIL faculties expressed their inability to do so at this point of time.
Kashyapji also cautioned the gathering not to mix up linguistics with politics,lest they lose sight of their real goals. He urged the gathering that for the present a kickstart sort of thing could be establish.
Thereafter,the gathering went on for general sharing and discussions from various linguistic groups such as C.D Aimol(Aimol language),Dal Sian Pau(Tedim language),Mary and Haupu(Thado-Kuki language), Satlun Hangshing and Henmminlal(Kuki language) Koninglee (Monshang language),Mr. M.Thanglianmang (Paite language), Ms. Ching (Tedim-Chin language),Joseph Hmar and Vanlal-englien(Hmar language),Chongam(Moyon language) ,Rohluahpuia(Mizo language), Kim Vaiphei(Vaiphei language),Richonsong Chiru (Chiru language),Aloysius Nehkhohang(Zo/Zou language),Khupminthang(Simte language) and others specific to their own realms.
After much discussions and sharing of views,the gathering resolved the following points:-
1. The meeting resolved to create a website on experimental basis for this linguistic group so that proper discussion and sharing can take place amongst the linguists and scholars in this group. The website is to be headed by Dr. Kashyapji and assisted by Mr. Pauthang Haokip and others.
2. The house also resolved to conduct a a week long National Seminar on linguistics for this group so as to inculcate the sense of linguistic appreciation and to imbibe linguistic knowledge for proper documentation of the respective languages. A Committee for National Seminar on Kuki-Chin group was formed by Kashyapji with Mr. T.Aloysius Nehkhojang,Secretary,Zo/Zou Literature Society Manipur as the Convenor of the Committee The seminar is to be held somewhere in N.E or some other suitable venues to be decided by the Committee which will submit the blueprint to the CIIL,Mysore for its approval before the year end.
3. Miss Kim Vaiphei was finally entrusted the work of documenting the endangered languages such as Moyon,Monshang,Aimol,Chiru etc.
Miss Yankee Modi from JNU lectured on Sociolinguistics, Mr. Pauthang Haokip gave a lecture on Typology of languagesa and on the 7th February 2008 Mr. Philip Mângkâng delivered lectures on Zo Morphology; Derivational Morphology and Inflectional Morphology which was an eye opener for many participants including two famous professors of Delhi.
The NEWSOL ended on the 14th February 2008 with high expectations from the participants in future courses.
North East India is linguistically a most diverse area which houses over half of the languages listed by the Census of India. The sociolinguistic profile of the eight states in the region offers a wide variety of speech forms and intriguing typology of pluralistic situations.
While a vast majority of the tribal communities are speakers of various sub-groups of Tibeto-Burman languages, there are a substantial number of Indo-Aryan speakers as well and the region is also the home of Khasi language which provides linkages with Mon Khmer and Austro-Asiatic group. In addition, there are ‘unclassified’ languages and lingua franca used in inter-lingual contact situations which are not even documented.
The language use patterns reveal dynamic multilingual repertoires and varieties of speech forms with domain differentiation at times. The differences in status and function of languages have also led to differentiation in development of languages with paucity of authentic written materials although several languages have stable literacy practices and some policy support.
Northeast may also have useful lessons to offer for planners at the national level because some tribal communities here are better empowered and more conscious of their rights.
Presently, The Departments of linguistics and related disciplines in the region have been involved in creating a pool of human resources, but the field situations pose fresh problems that are not always addressed in their theory driven academic courses. There is an absence of dialogue with communities and many a well intentioned move by the communities to resolve the problems posed bears no fruit in the absence of expert advice or inadequate resources. Ad hoc solutions are perpetuated which instead of resolving the problems at times exacerbate the situation. There is a dearth of shared resources and information leading either to duplication of efforts or isolation of ideas.
The resource crunch has led many an able student to drift away from the discipline and seek opportunities elsewhere. Language policies are often ambivalent and linguists have no role in shaping them. The vital role of language development in the development of the people has not been understood nor do linguists know how to lend or shape their products for use by the communities.
The Main Objectives of this Winter School of Linguistics were to address the issues raised above and to involve the people of the region in description, documentation and development of their own languages in responsible and informed ways with the support of national agencies and thereby prepare them to understand and resolve language problems.
The main timetables are given below:-
Lectures & tutorials

22nd Jan-31st Jan
Socio-cultural Aspects of Language:

Shobha Satyanath, Ramakant Agnihotri, R. Sachdeva, K.S. Rajyashree, Pramodini, Ramamoorthy, T.B. Subba, Betholia
22nd Jan-31st Jan
Diachronic Linguistics & Geolinguistics

Kashyap Mankodi, R. Sachdeva, Uma Maheshwar Rao
22nd Jan-6th Feb
Peri Bhaskarrao, Rekha Sharma, Tamuli, Barika
22nd Jan-6th Feb
GDP Sastry, Barika, Pramod Pandey, A.K.Mishra
22nd Jan-14 Feb.
P.P. Giridhar, J. War, Ayesha Kidwai, Dhiren Singha, A.K. Mishra, Surmangol Sharma
22nd-28th Jan
6th -14th Feb
Amritavalli, Yashwant Singh, Vijay Dhanwar, Gracious, L. Chhangte, Giridhar, Ayesha Kidwai, Tanmoy Battacharya, Shyamal Das
22nd Jan-6th Feb
Typology & Areal Linguistics:
K.V. Subbarao, Grace, Dhiren Singh, GDP Sastry, J. War
Activities: Workshops/Focus Groups
Field Linguistics: Anvita Abbi, L. Chhangte, Kashyap Mankodi, Bhamati Devi
Tibeto-Burman Linguistics: L. Chhangte, Yashwant Singh, K. Kapfo, Subbarao, Dhiren Singh, Pauthang Haokip, D. Kuolie, Madhumita Barbora, Suhnu Ram Sharma, Yankee Modi, Surmangol Sharma, A.K.Mishra, Shyamal Das
Khasi Language Analysis: J. War, B.War, Saralyn, Grace, Rekha Sharma
Dictionary making/Lexicography: K. Kapfo, Imoba Singh, T.K. Goswami, Krishna Bhattacharya, Lalita Handoo, Surmangol Sharma, Philip Thanglienmang
Language technology: Mallikarjun, Mahesh Kulkarni, Pushpak Bhattacharya
Cultural Documentation: Jennifer Bayer, Winston Cruz, Gail Coelho, Tolkappiyar
Audio recording: Gautam Sukumar, Siddharth, GDP Sastry
Demographic Profiles: B.D. Jayaram, Anjali, Madhubala, S.S. Bhattachrya, Yankee Modi
Participants are drawn from the following categories:
Category A - Research Scholars who have exposure to linguistics
Category B - Officials who are engaged with language development work but have little exposure to linguistics
Category C - Language Consultants/Educated native speakers who have no exposure to linguistics
Category D - Faculty members-CIIL, NORTHEAST, INVITEES, EXPERTS

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