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LINGUIST List 17.1755

Fri Jun 09 2006

Diss: Historical Ling: Bandyopadhyay: 'Archaelology of Bangla Grammar'

Editor for this issue: Meredith Valant <meredithlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay, Archaeology of Bangla Grammar

Message 1: Archaeology of Bangla Grammar
Date: 09-Jun-2006
From: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay < bandyoisical.ac.in">anekantarediffmail.com, bandyoisical.ac.in>
Subject: Archaeology of Bangla Grammar

Institution: Pattabhi Sriramalu University, Hyderabad
Program: Ph.D.
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 1996

Author: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

Dissertation Title: Archaeology of Bangla Grammar

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Bengali (ben)

Dissertation Director:
B. Ramkrisna Reddy

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation is on the 'origin' and 'development' or constitution of
an object called 'Bangla Grammar', though all the epistemes within the
single quote were questioned in this narrative, i.e., two signifieds (they
are ultimately signifiers) involved in this project ('Bangla' and
'Grammar') were also scrutinized. The problematic questions, which were
involved here:

A. What is this metaphysical totality called 'Bangla'? What were its
changing (diachronic) geo-political boundaries? Who, based on certain
allegedly defined homogenous modular form, are imagined within 'our'
nation, and who are the 'outsider'? This question triggers the
inclusion-exclusion factor of the imagined nation.

B. Are the 'insiders' of this nation homogenous complex? The mediators (in
this case, Language Managers, Language Judges and Language Police of
colonized civil society) of the civil society were trying to homogenise
them by standardising, appropriating, codifying, grammaticalizing one
selected variety (religious or linguistic) for the sake of one metaphysical
umbrella called 'Bangla'. Here comes the question of standardization and
grammaticalization of chosen module. Inside 'others' (the constructs like
'dialects', 'folk-language') were to be considered under such standard
grammatical module.

C. Is such standard grammatical/sastrika module a classic language?
Searching (constructed) classical heritage entails enumerated and fantastic
deterministic history and a retrospective tribute to the predecessors, by
whom the private property of the selected module was to be transmitted to
the inheritors, the present inhabitants of the nation.

The whole project of projecting A, B, C needs institutional managerial
system within the civil society-- where a group of, language-judges
(grammarians),language-managers (language policy makers) and language
polices (teachers of Ideological State Apparatuses) were operating to
control and appropriate a chosen "good" language. They were engaged in
building an 'Autonomous History' or an 'Autonomous Grammar' simultaneously
as there was a growing need for national identity (the imagination of which
was a colonial derivative) among the elite in the context of 19 C
Industrial Capitalism. The whole hi(story) of such institutionalization of
language-selection and grammaticalization of the selected variety was
narrated in the dissertation in the context of colonial period of Bangla.
This thesis argues that the discursive formation of Bangla grammars, the
categoremes of grammar, order of things - all of them reflect the colonial
statist constitution as well as domestic order of things in a form of
hierarchical taxonomy. In the hybrid space of a colony, the categories of
grammar were epistemologically amalgamated—some categoremes were borrowed
from donor Sahibs' domain and some were from Classical Sanskrit Grammar,
which was also donating in the formation of Linguistics. Thus,
epistemological amalgamation was a certain kind of reciprocal role-reversal
of donor-receptor. Lastly, a question was raised on the utility of grammar
in the pedagogical purpose. If we can create infinite set of sentences out
of finite sets of words, why should we endorse something, which is nothing
but meta-symbolic order (grammar) over the symbolic order of language? The
concept of Anti-grammar(=GrammEr) was proposed with a goal to achieve
ideology of deschooling. Anti-grammar is a biologically constituted
algorithm/scheme for language. However, this biological competence was also
questioned in this thesis by introducing a hypothesis. The hypothesis,
concisely, describes the correlation between empty linguistic organism and
human malleability.

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