Sunday, Dec 14, 2003
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By J.P. Shukla
To a newcomer it may seem unbelievable, welcoming guests thus. However, in the local cultural milieu, the purpose of these songs is not to denounce or degrade the guest; it is only a jovial way of showing respect. These songs are seen to make the marriage ceremony lively.
The linguistic structure of these songs, which construct an avowed or literal meaning diametrically opposite to the intended meaning, and the "text" encoded in the sentences that construct a totally positive environment, is among the subjects being discussed at the International Systemic Functional Linguistic Congress in Lucknow.
The seven-day Congress, inaugurated on December 8, is being attended by delegates from countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, the U.K. and Iran, besides India.
The study of human language has several dimensions, socio-linguistics being one of these. Linguists have been asking themselves whether their discipline has an explanation to the apparent riddles of the human language. Manoj Kumar of the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad, says that the abusive songs have become a means for the endorsement of conjugal relations.
Sharon Thomas and Thao Le of the faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, have tried to answer another question pertaining to linguistics "What do words with social meanings, such as wife, teacher, neighbour, etc., mean to children of a different cultural background?" Indeed, the mystery of the children's world of words has attracted many researchers, particularly from an intercultural perspective.
The meet aims to disseminate the insights of Systemic Functional Grammar models to students of linguistics and to bridge past Indian knowledge with the present and the future, says V. Prakasham, convener.
A three-day international symposium on "Language, Law and Life" will follow the meet.
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