Planned Sessions

Session on Language and politics

Session in charge: Dr. Mithilesh Jha, IIT Guwahati

Language has always been central to our imaginations and thought. But from the beginning of nineteenth century, we have experienced the use of language in a different form particularly for the purpose of social and political mobilizations. Surveys, mappings and classificatory exercises have also contributed in such usages of language by different communities. With the emergence of modern nations and nationalisms, where languages have become of central political and ideological importance, one of the important things that has happened with the language use, is now for the every community, language becomes not just a marker of their group identity but also a rallying point for social and political mobilizations, for self-representations, and for their struggle for power. This process, however remains fraught with the issues of linguistic appropriations, dominations and subordinations on the one hand and questions of identity like class, caste, gender, region and religion on the other. We invite papers from the interested scholars on any of the themes mentioned above and it should be related to any of the greater Himalayan languages.

Session on Early migration patterns in the Himalayan Region

Session in charge: Dr. Manjil Hazarika, CCSU

The high Himalayan mountain range connects a wide region of the Asian landmass. Although certain areas are devoid of human settlements due to high altitude and climatic situation, most of the areas are presently inhabited either sparsely or densely depending upon the geographical and cultural context. Obviously a wide range of ethnic groups speaking diverse languages and maintaining unique cultural tradition are observed. A glance at the archaeological and historical sources suggests that the peopling of Himalaya is as ancient as other neighboring regions of South and East Asia. There are studies from different perspectives to understand the peopling of the Himalaya and arguments on the role of Himalaya as a barrier or corridor for ancient human dispersal/movements/migrations. In this context, there is ample scope for a detailed deliberation on the peopling of Himalaya from an archaeological point of view. Multidisciplinary data-sets of historical linguistics, human genetics and historical records can be thoroughly scrutinized in this special panel of the forthcoming Himalayan Languages Symposium.

Session on Syntax of Tibeto-Burman languages of India

Session in charge: Dr. Tanmoy Bhattacharya, Delhi University

In line with the proposal in Bhattacharya (2014) of early contact between at least two groups of migrations into the North-East of India, and in keeping with the session on “Early migration patterns in the Himalayan Region”, it may be reiterated that this region has been and continues to be the real melting pot of diversity. Apart from culture, language is another major artefact that has bore the imprint of these waves of diversity. The major sub-grouping of Kamprupan and Himalayish within the Tibeto-Burman group of languages, therefore, noticed a great extent of variety that is the bearer of this character of diversity. This session in particular wishes to uncover this theme of diversity within the greater unity of T-B languages as they can be deciphered through various syntactic patterns in at least the Kamrupan sub-group comprising of Tani group of languages (Tani, deng, Monpa) and Kuki-Chin (Kuki, Chin, Naga, Meiteilon, Mikir, Mru, Bodo-Garo, Chairel), among others. These patterns could be found within the nominal syntax, verbal syntax, (Noun/ Adjective/ Verb Phrases), simple, or complex sentences, in general and in particular in constructions/ processes such as nominalisation, deixis, quantification, locus marking, tense/ aspect/ modal categories, argument changing operations, agreement (clause and phrase level), binding relations, honorificity marking, relative clause formation, scope phenomenon, negative polarity, question formation, etc.

Session on Second Language Acquisition

Session in charge: Dr. Shruti Sircar, EFLU Hyderabad

After several decades of research, two big questions are still of particular interest in second language acquisition. The first is whether second language acquisition is UG governed. Most researchers have been trying to separate the universal elements of language from systems of parameters that are language specific. An interesting controversy within the UG based SLA community is whether negative evidence or the correction of student errors, is necessary in the acquisition of a second language. The second is related to cross linguistic transfer: (a) whether or not the L1 plays a role in the process of acquisition? (b) Is L1 influence restricted to the early stages of acquisition or are its effects pervasive, permeating every stage of development? (c) are the same effects found both in naturalistic and in formal learning contexts? (d) is transfer inevitable or are there certain factors which might (dis) favour it? (e) are different components of the grammar affected differently by crosslinguistic influence?

Other Sessions under Consideration

Session on Lingua Francas and Contact Languages
Session on Phonetics and Tones
Session on History of Pre-Grierson Linguistic research in the Himalayan Region
Session on Typography of Himalayan Languages