“Language Documentation and Archiving” by Prof Anvita Abbi (Padma Shri)

  • Directorate of Visiting Research Professors Programme

    B.B.Borkar Chair Professor in Comparative Literature, Goa University



    Prof Anvita Abbi (Padma Shri)
    Visiting Research Professor under
    B.B.Borkar Chair Professor in Comparative Literature, Goa University

    From 09th December to 20th December, 2019
    “Language Documentation and Archiving”
    At Council Hall, Administrative Block, Goa University

    For detail and online Registration: www.unigoa.ac.in/vrpp
    Course Coordinator: Prof. Prakash Parienkar

    Prof. Anvita Abbi (Padma Shri)
    Prof. Anvita Abbi, formerly at the Centre for Linguistics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, is currently Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Professor Abbi’s work on tribal languages and other minority languages of South Asia has been exemplary and is widely recognized in the world. Her pioneering work on the highly endangered languages of the Andaman Islands has been received with great acclaim in India and abroad. She identified a new language family of India, namely Great Andamanese, which is genealogically different from the rest of the languages of the Andamanese tribes. This was subsequently verified by the population genetic studies. This discovery has helped in understanding the peopling of Asia and Oceania.
    Born on January 9, 1949, Prof. Abbi received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1968, and Master of Arts in Linguistics in 1970 from the University of Delhi. She received her Ph.D. degree in Linguistics in 1974 from Cornell University, USA. She taught at Cornell University and Kansas State University, USA before returning to India in 1976 when she joined Jawaharlal Nehru University.
    She has designed and developed the discipline of Field linguistics in JNU and has trained a large number of students in grammar-writing and language documentation since 1977. Prof. Abbi has carried out first-hand field research on all six language families of India extending from the Himalayas to the Andaman Islands. Her outstanding contribution is the use of modern computational methods for preparing multilingual, multiscriptal, user-friendly talking dictionary of the present-day Great Andamanese language (2012) and unearthing unique grammatical structures of the language (2013).
    She has widely published in the areas of areal typology, language documentation, structures of tribal and minority languages, language policy and education, and analysis of ethno-linguistic aspects of language use. She has authored, co-authored and edited 20 books, in addition to over ninty articles in the areas of Linguistics published in national and international research journals. She has helped in creating interest and disseminating knowledge about Indian linguistic diversity in USA and Europe through TV interviews on BBC and CNN as well as giving lectures at major universities including London, Cambridge, Manchester, Edinburgh, Paris, Vancouver, Germany, Switzerland and Washington. She has been an acclaimed author of many award winning short stories in Hindi. She runs one of the most famous annual Hindi poetry award Bharat Bhushan Agarwal Kavita Puraskar.
    She is awarded the most prestigious Kenneth Hale Award (2015), by the Linguistic Society of America, Padma Shri (2013) by the President of India, Leverhulme Professor at SOAS, University of London (March – December 2011), Visiting Scientist position at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany (2000, 2003, and 2010), Visiting Professor at the Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Australia (2010-2011) and was nominated Distinguished Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia (2001) for her pioneering contribution to the languages of India. She received the Rashtriya Lokbhasha Samman 2003 award for her contribution towards the tribal languages of India. She has served as the advisory member of several international organizations including Terralingua and UNESCO on language issues and held the position of the President of the Linguistic Society of India. She is currently busy in documenting dying languages of the Nicobar Islands.

    Brief Description About Workshop:

    Workshop on Language Documentation and Archiving
    Goa University, Goa
    Spoken language is one of the gifts that make us human. Language has the power to encode knowledge- system covering every aspect of our life from ecological information to social behavioural patterns, our ideas, beliefs, values and ability of taking correct judgement. All this knowledge evaporates when the language becomes endangered or falls out of use. Our goal is to preserve the information contained in human language and for this, we need to learn how to document it through modern technological means. The best way to do this is by Language documentation which may include among others, making talking dictionary.
    The University of Goa proposes to hold a two-week long (16 days in all) workshop on language documentation where we intend to give training to the participants in field-data collection, sifting the data, storing and labelling on computer, taking pictures, recording voices and ultimately uploading the material to generate an interactive user-friendly talking dictionary. The workshop will also include familiarizing the participants with Oral tradition of Goa and will train the participants to document it. The intended workshop will outreach interested participants from Language departments, Computer science, Social Science, and Anthropology. The aim of the course is to give training in eliciting spoken language data within Goa and documenting it according to the specifications laid down by the UNESCO.
    Who can join the workshop? Researchers and Teachers from colleges affiliated to the Goa University and the faculty of the Goa University
    Any pre-requisites? Interest in language, oral tradition, culture, anthropology, and ecology in general and specifically of Goa. Familiarity with phonetic transcription is desirable. Candidates will be required to bring in their own laptops.
    How long is the Workshop? Two-weeks long with Saturday and Sunday off for data collection
    Dates of the works: 09th December to 20th December 2019
    LAST DATE TO SUBMIT your application by ONLINE FORM: 3rd December, 2019
    Maximum number of participants: 20
    Selection will be done based on response/justification provided in the registration form and participants will be informed by email accordingly.
    Conducted by Prof Anvita Abbi (Padma Shree) and two resource persons with expertise in making interactive dictionary and language documentation
    Certificates will be given at the end of the course.