LINGUIST List 12.2398

Thu Sep 27 2001

Qs: "Talib", Kana/Kanji & Brain Damage

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  1. Aaron Shakow, Talib
  2. John W. Nelson, kana, kanji, & brain damage

Message 1: Talib

Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 11:27:34 -0400
From: Aaron Shakow <adshakowFAS.HARVARD.EDU>
Subject: Talib

I wonder if any South Asia specialists can give me a capsule history of the
usage of 'talib' to refer specifically to madrasa students. It entered
Dari/Pashto/Urdu from Arabic, obviously; what is the equivalent in those
languages for students who are NOT in religious schools? When did the
distinction between talibs and non talibs come into common usage? Were the
local words for 'student' used in parallel even before the advent of secular
education under the British?

Many thanks
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Message 2: kana, kanji, & brain damage

Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2001 01:14:51 -0400
From: John W. Nelson <jwnelson2COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: kana, kanji, & brain damage

An article was recently published on the web dealing with the
perceived limitations of Unicode in regard to Asian languages
Before discussing the nature of Unicode, the author presents a brief
overview of languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
Unfortunately, it appears that he may have been misled by the Japanese
sources he consulted since the article reveals a fundamental
misunderstanding of the Japanese syllabaries, i.e., hiragana and
Without going into the nature of the confusion, what I find most
intriguing in the article (and dubious, at least for the reasons
given) is a medical case that the author mentions where people with
certain brain disorders can function in one syllabary but not another.
I have come across other references to the effects of brain damage on
speakers of Japanese in several popular -- that is, non-academic --
works on the Japanese language, however I have never seen full
bibliographic citations of the published studies. The author of this
article does not provide them either. The study most often mentioned
is one whose subjects had brain disorders that allowed them to
function using either kanji or the syllabaries, but this is the first
time I have ever heard of a case where the speaker's linguistic
ability was limited to one syllabary at the exclusion of the other.

 If anyone has references to these or similar studies, please send
them my way. I will, of course, post a summary to the list. Thanks
in advance.


John W. Nelson
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