Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Oxford Handbook of Corpus Phonology

Edited by Jacques Durand, Ulrike Gut, and Gjert Kristoffersen

Offers the first detailed examination of corpus phonology and serves as a practical guide for researchers interested in compiling or using phonological corpora


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

The Languages of the Jews: A Sociolinguistic History

By Bernard Spolsky

A vivid commentary on Jewish survival and Jewish speech communities that will be enjoyed by the general reader, and is essential reading for students and researchers interested in the study of Middle Eastern languages, Jewish studies, and sociolinguistics.


New from Brill!

ad

Indo-European Linguistics

New Open Access journal on Indo-European Linguistics is now available!


Academic Paper


Title: Sukumar Ray’s 'Torture of Language': An attempted reading
Paper URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2030490
Author: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://isid.academia.edu/DebaprasadBandyopadhyay
Institution: Indian Statistical Institute
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Linguistic Theories; Philosophy of Language; Semantics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This paper is a meta-commentary on a pioneering paper “bhaSar ottacar” (“Torture of Language”, first published in probaSi, joysTho, 1322 Bangabda [May 1915 A.D.]) by Sukumar Ray. The author of this paper interpreted the discourse of Ray in the light of contemporary or “modern” linguistic theories. Thus, this paper is also a formal elaboration of Ray’s hypotheses on the problems of language.

When I first went through the reprint Ray’s paper, I was flabbergasted as I found that Ray commented on some fundamental linguistic issues, which were almost unknown at that time, i.e., in 1915, in that short paper written in Bangla.
Ray started his discourse with “familiarity principle” that disrupts the understanding of “too familiar phenomenon” (it is to be noted that Chomsky, 1972: 24 initiated his discourse on language and mind with this principle). The issues, inaugurated by Ray, include: (a) arbitrariness of signs (in Ray’s phrases: “relations of artificial illogical sounds”) and different types of signs (symbol, icon and index were exemplified by Ray) ; (b) cultural relativity [as proposed later by Sapir-Whorf in 1929] ; (c) The relationship between thought and language and the domination of language over the thought due to the burden of ideology; (d) the existence of signifier without “real” signified and condensation of thought; (e) ideological problems of interpretive translation and changes in meaning (Ray exemplified it with two almost different Bangla translations of Vedic hymns); (f) Problems of polysemy, metaphor and metonym; (g) neutralization of meaning; (h) problems of metalinguistic functions.

However, the main emphasis of Ray was on the controlling power of linguistic order of things over the thought process or cognition and the hermeneutic gap between perception and understanding. As we are living within the prison-house of language and our thought processes are regulated/telescoped/condensed/appropriated/approximated by the linguistic order of things, Ray justifiably called this as “torture of language”.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: 2002."Sukumar Roy-er bhaSar ottacar: ekTi paThoproyaS” Ababhas. II:2.(pp.25-35) Jul-Sept. Kolkata.
URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2030490


Back
Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page