ಕನ್ನಡದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನನಗೇನು ಗೊತ್ತು

ನಿವೃತ್ತನಾದ ಮೇಲೆ ಈಗ ನಾನು ಯಾವ ಭಾಷೆಯನ್ನೂ ಕಲಿಸುತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ; ಆದರೂ  ನಾನು ಕಲಿತ ಭಾಷೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿನ ನನ್ನ ಅಭಿರುಚಿಯನ್ನು ಪೋಷಿಸುತ್ತಲೆ ಇರುತ್ತೇನೆ.  ಅಂದ ಹಾಗೆ, ನನ್ನ ರೆಫರನ್ಸ್ ಗ್ರಾಮರ್ ಆಫ್ ಸ್ಪೋಕನ್ ಕನ್ನಡ ಪಿಡಿಎಫ್ ರೂಪದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಂತರ್ಜಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಲಭ್ಯವಿದೆ: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/plc/kannada


What I know About Kannada
H. Schiffman
Professor Emeritus, (retd.)
of Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Department of South Asia Studies
University of Pensulvania

My knowledge of the Kannada language is really very minimal, given that I did not make a specialty of it, and that it was not taught regularly at American universities when I was a graduate student, except in some summer institutes.  I was studying Tamil at the University of Chicago, and my Tamil professor was A. K. Ramanujan, who had grown up in Mysore and knew Kannada well, so one summer institute that I attended an American professor named William Bright, who had done his Ph.D. thesis on Kannada was in attendance, and I asked him if he would teach me and another student Kannada.
He agreed, so I was able to get an intensive summer of the language under my belt.  What happened next was that there was a Peace Corps program at the University of California, Davis, that was training volunteers in Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu, and Hindi.  They got my name from Bright, and asked me to come for three months and teach Kannada.  I didn’t know much Kannada, of course, but I knew more than they did, and I thought I knew how to teach it, so I left the frozen shores of Lake Michigan (it was February, 1965), and went to sunny California and kept a jump ahead of my students.  I had already chosen to write my M.A. thesis in Linguistics on the morphophonemics of the Kannada verb, so I kept working on that and presented my thesis at the end of the summer before I left for India.  
I had a grant to do my Ph.D. dissertation on Tamil, and was invited to come to Annamalai University in Tamilnadu, where there was a flourishing Linguistics Department.  There the students in Linguistics were all expected to study another Dravidian language, other than their own, so Kannada was offered along with others. 
 
I took advantage of this and sat in on the class, and learned more Kannada, especially the writing system.  
After I returned to the U.S., I got a job at the University of Washington, where we started having summer institutes together with some other west-coast universities, and I had the opportunity to teach Kannada in two summer institutes—one at Washington, and another at Texas.  In fact at Texas I was teaching both elementary Kannada and elementary Tamil, which was confusing at first, but eventually I was able to keep the two straight! 
What I did learn from this was that there wasn’t much choice in terms of good materials to use to teach Kannada; there was no grammar of the spoken language I could use to give the students, so when I returned to Seattle and was offering Kannada during the year, I began to make notes for grammar, and eventually then applied for a grant to put together a Reference Grammar of Spoken Kannada, which got published in 1983 by the University of Washington press. There was, of course, Spencer’s grammar of literary Kannada, but it was hard to obtain, and did not help the students much with the spoken variety.  My grammar was not published in a very large print run, and is now out of print, but I am going to try to get a grant to redo it when I finish some other projects.
Now that I am retired, I do not do any language teaching at all, but I still keep up my interest in various languages I have studied.  My Reference Grammar of Spoken Kannada is incidentally available on-line in PDF format, at
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/plc/kannada/
 
 
 


 

 

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