My father recently recounted an anecdote from his post-graduate years at the University of Moscow in the mid-1960s. He and his friend-we’ll call him Dr. Ramanna-were chatting amongst themselves on a cold, wintry day, surrounded by a slew of Russian colleagues. One Russian gentleman seated nearby inquired: What languages were […]more→
Articles tagged with: Bengali
Multilingual Literature submission deadline: 12/15/09!more→
A couple of days ago, I chanced upon a very provocative piece entitled “I’m In Ur Base, Imitatin Ur Doodz!” posted by Ta-Nehisi Coates on his blog at The Atlantic Online, where he’s a contributing editor. Here’s what caught my attention:
Often when a white person wants to give his opinion on something […]more→
It’s that kind of a day in Berkeley, 58°F, overcast, drizzling lightly, fog swirling over the city. I am reminded of the mid-monsoon time in Delhi, where the grass suddenly becomes a vivid and lush green, swollen and distended with moisture; new leaves spring everywhere; and the scent of rain-soaked earth rises […]more→
So instead of writing a post inspired by a rereading of Bourdieu’s concept of habitus, I thought I would have a little more fun with my iMovie, and “vlog” instead of blogging. Here’s a short reflection on habitus through the scripts I have inhabited….and which have inhabited me.
Music: Jacques Dutronc, “Les cactus”
Habitus from […]more→
My mother often tells me stories of growing up in pre-Independence Calcutta (Kolkata), India, and I am always fascinated by details about Bengali (Bangali)* cuisine. I grew up in a (primarily) vegetarian household (where food was niramish), whereas the defining aspect of traditional Bangali cuisine is (traditionally freshwater) fish curry (machher jhol) and […]more→
In reading On Phenomenology and Social Relations, I was struck by some glorious lines Alfred Schutz (1970) penned on language. You find these lines in the chapter entitled Social Means of Orientation and Interpretation, which begins by situating language in the context of culture:
“In order to command a language freely as a scheme […]more→
Last night, I was interviewed in a radio segment for a show entitled “Four Elements,” to discuss the importance of “Fire” in Hinduism. The idea behind the show is to explore the importance of the four basic elements-earth, wind, fire, water-in different cultures. First off, Hindus recognize five elements: the four listed above, and sky. […]more→
An article by Neelabh Mishra entitled “An Awadhi Lilt For Obama: Let’s realise that language bridges make for creative cohesion,” appearing in this fortnight’s issue of Outlook, an Indian news magazine, caught my attention today. The title was immediately interesting to me: I was curious about how Awadhi (अवधी), a dialect of Hindi […]more→
One of the most fascinating aspects of my ethnographic work in a orphanage in a Hindu ashram in a satellite town of New Delhi, India, is the multilingual setting. The kids, to recap quickly, are first language Bengali speakers, second language Hindi speakers, attend an English medium school, and take part in mandatory 4 hour […]more→
This past Thursday, I attended Language Matters: Strengthening Asian and Pacific Islander Language Education at Berkeley. The stated aim of the event, according to the program brochure, was “to promote the creation of majors and minors for marginalized API languages like Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Tamil, Vietnamese, Khmer, etc, and to promote labor equity for […]more→
On the occasion of India’s Republic Day (January 26), two weeks ago, I engaged my mother in a conversation about her memories of growing up in pre-independence war-time Kolkata (Calcutta), in West Bengal, India. Out of the many stories, my mother’s vivid recounting of the “madman” of Bagh Bazaar stands out for me.
After being gently prodded to do a “post” on this, rather than simply offer an “aside,” I thought I’d write up “25 Language-Related Random Things” about me, inspired by the Facebook phenomenon taking the Internet by storm.
1. Sometimes when I am writing quickly in Bengali, I use Hindi letters.
2. When I was […]
The Mudra Institute of Communications in Ahmedabad (MICA) recently organized a popular conference on the phenomenon known as Hinglish. According to conference organizer Rita Kotharu, “Hinglish has been around for some time now, but it tends to be dismissed as the preserve of those who know neither English nor Hindi well. It now […]more→
I am immersed inexorably in the pulsating drumbeat of receding time…the throbbing hours close in on me. It is time, my precious, it is time…
These last few excruciating hours, I want to plunge into your soul….I want to taste you, touch you, breathe you in, feel your ebb and flow in all my senses…I […]more→
The Khadi Handicrafts Fair sign was only barely visible through the fogged up car windows as we arrived there around dusk yesterday. Four or five middle aged men in thick woolen caps and dark shawls gathered around a small bonfire, their palms spread out, the flames nearly licking their fingertips. A young man stood forlornly […]more→
“Happy new year, Didi!” the monkey-cap wearing kids yelled out as I stepped into the children’s study room in the basement of an orphanage. As I smiled at them, I felt the cold cement through the sheer nylon of my stockinged feet. The temperature in the room was little warmer than the 4°C outside, and […]more→
5:10 pm. Ma and I find ourselves at the NOIDA Trade Fair at the old circus grounds. There are stalls selling some Limca Book “record-breaking” variety of honey; “stomach flattening” abdominal belts; South Indian gold-plated jewelery; pleather accessories; miraculous “Ayurvedic” herbal supplements promising to cure every ailment known to man; tamarind, mango, and pomegranate flavored […]more→
The Hubli Unusual Abuse competition takes place today on the hallowed grounds of the Dakshina Vaishnodevi Temple in Karnataka, a southern Indian state. The participants will “hurl abuses” (in English, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and other Indian languages), and winners will be awarded flower garlands. There are some guidelines for […]more→