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PHONOLOGICAL AND MORPHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS OF
ORIYA SPEAKERS LEARNING KANNADA
L. Manjulakshi, Ph.D.
1. COGNATE LANGUAGES MAY BE EASIER TO LEARN?
Learning a language other than one's own native language poses many problems. In some respects, it is easier to learn another language if that language happens to be a part of the group or family to which the learners' own native language belongs. For example, mother tongue speakers of Malayalam, Telugu, or Tamil may find it easier to learn Kannada because all these languages belong to the same Dravidian language family, with shared features in lexicon, grammar, and semantics.
Kannada may appear to be more difficult to learn for the speakers of other Indian languages such as Hindi, Oriya, or Bengali. The similarity between these languages and Kannada is, rather, not as close as the similarity between Tamil and Kannada, for example.
Yet, certain vocabulary items pertaining to kinship terms and proper nouns, etc., may be seen as common. The cultural part of the language may be shared by many Indian languages. In addition, most of the sounds may also be common. Amidst these similarities, there are other features such as gender classification, even at times word order, conjugation, syntactic patterns and processes, etc. may be different. These factors may make the "north Indian" learners of Kannada feel that learning Kannada is "difficult" in some sense.
2. CONTRASTING ORIYA AND KANNADA
The present paper deals with the phonological and morphological problems faced by the Oriya speakers in learning Kannada. It identifies the areas where they commit errors, and suggests some reasons for such errors, and offers some practical remedial steps.
Oriya and Kannada belong to different language families, and yet Oriya and Kannada languages have a lot of similarities between them. Even then, in phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, lexicon, and discourse, they exhibit many differences and distinctions. Along with such differences, the translation methods one may adopt to transfer information from one language to another, may also present problems to the learners of Kannada.
Historical and cultural backgrounds have great impact and influence on the linguistics of a region. In Oriya, there are terms derived from Sanskrit and influenced by Prakrit and Bengali, whereas in Kannada, the Sanskrit words occur abundantly with the Kannada inflections and case markers. In addition to this, Oriya speakers tend to use English as the mediating language to learn Kannada. They tend to use English to understand the meaning conveyed by Kannada words, phrases and sentences, for overall translation, and communication. English becomes an essential mediator for all the educated Oriya persons to learn Kannada. Thus, English also contributes to the list of difficulties faced by the Oriya speakers in learning Kannada.
3. A VARIETY OF PROBLEMS FACED BY THE ORIYA LEARNERS OF KANNADA
We may look at the problems faced by the Oriya speakers learning Kannada under three categories:
- Exclusive reading problems.
- Exclusive writing problems.
- Combined reading and writing problems.
1. Exclusive Reading Problems
Kannada script presents some problems to Oriya speakers because it has two additional vowels, 'yee' and 'voo' ( E and O ) which do not occur in the Oriya script and speech. Furthermore, the stop consonants are both aspirated and un-aspirated like, 'ka' and 'kha', 'ta' and 'tha'. There are long and short vowels which have to be recognized while reading, and pronounced properly. It is here that Oriya learners commit errors. There are pairs of words that give different meanings while pronounced with long vowels or short vowels. For example:
'maDu' means 'deep water'
'ma:Du' means 'to do'
There are many more similar pairs of words that are listed in this article as help for the Oriya learners to enable them to bear in mind and read them with proper intonations and pronunciation.
Another problem faced by the Oriya learners of Kannada is the list of conjunct consonants, like 'tta' in 'atta', 'nna' in 'anna'. There are consonant conjuncts that have to be pronounced as they appear in writing. However, at times, the order in which the consonant letters involved in making the conjunct letter should be read is not very clear even for the mother tongue users. Unfortunately, conjunct consonants appear complicated in Kannada, even though some complex conjunct letters are found in Oriya too.
Both in Oriya and Kannada languages, 'yogavaha' or non-grouped consonants, namely, 'sa', 'Sa' and 'sha' are common at the script level. But the pronunciation of these consonant letters is distinctively pronounced according to the varying contexts (especially in the educated speech) in Kannada. In Oriya 'sa' and 'sha' are not distinctly pronounced. For example, 'namaskara' in Kannada is pronounced as 'namashkara' and 'namaskar' in Oriya.
A major difficulty arises in the use of syllables, 'va' and 'ba'. In Oriya, there is no distinction made between 'ba' and 'va,' and only 'ba' is used. Actually, 'ba' is profusely used, instead of 'va'. For example, 'Ravindra' is pronounced as 'Rabindra', 'vigraha' as 'bigraha', 'chakravarthi' as 'chakrabarthi'.
In Kannada, grouping of words on the basis of attributive relationship that exists between them, and case markers and inflexions are prominent. Students need to cultivate specific skills while reading a sentence containing such features, because proper pauses have to be maintained between the words or phrases. Giving a wrong pause may result in an adverse meaning. For example, consider the sentence in Kannada: "municipa:liTiya, varama:na, kadime ya:gide". The pauses given above using appropriate commas are correct, and, because of this, the sentence conveys the intended right meaning: "The income of the municipality has decreased.".
An Oriya learner, who cannot anticipate or comprehend the intended meaning, may commit a mistake by reading the sentence with wrong pauses, like,
"municipa:liTiyavara, ma:na kadimeya:gide" which means "the prestige of the Municipality has become less (The prestige or self-respect of the officials of the Municipality is lost)!".
2. Writing Problems
As the saying goes, "Reading maketh a ready man, writing maketh a perfect man". Oriya learners face difficult problems in writing Kannada. At the initial stage of writing, knowledge of the structure of the sentence and the script is necessary. The Oriya learners, who otherwise speak Kannada correctly, will commit errors, while reducing their speech into writing. For example, long vowels will be wrongly written as short vowels, and vice versa. They will commit errors while writing conjuncts of consonants.
For example, to write "avanu ya:va:ga barutta:ne?" (When is he coming?), they may incorrectly write "avanu ya:va:ga baruta:ne," omitting a conjunct letter. If the learner is made to read, and if he has already developed sensitivity to recognizing the conjunct pronunciation (here doubling of the same consonant or prolonging the same consonant), he or she will rectify the mistake, because the pronunciation will sound s strange. In addition, consider this example, which is usually caused by the continuing impact of the Oriya phonology in writing and pronouncing Kannada words: "abanu ya:ba:ga baruta:ne?". The correct written form should be "avanu ya:va:ga: baruttane?"
The real difficulty lies in the field of using correct and appropriate case markers and verbs. Both in Oriya and Kannada case relations appear to be largely same, but the formal markers are not necessarily identical. Certain confusion takes place such as in the use of the instrumental/ablative and dative cases, involving case markers such as 'inda' and 'ge', 'ikke,' 'ke,' etc., in Kannada.
While nouns are used in the nominative case, the suffix, 'vu' and in objective case the suffix 'annu' will be left out in Kannada. For example,
'maga' for 'maganu' - son.
'pustaka' for 'pustakavannu' - book.
Both in Oriya and Kannada, there is the use of voices. The structure of a sentence is the same. Therefore, Oriya learners may not find it a problem. They themselves quickly and easily get acquainted with the reading and writing of Kannada correctly in this regard.
The Oriya learners are presented with great problems in the use of proper verbs and voices in Kannada, both while speaking and writing. To some extent, this requires proper understanding of the function of the 'verb' and the nature and context in which it is used. This difficult to master requirement causes some hesitation on the part of the Oriya learners to readily produce sentences, speak and write. They seek help, and we need to focus on how they could overcome their difficult and be bold and independent in using Kannada. If this difficulty is not overcome, their communicating ability does not develop well.
Oriya learners of Kannada have to overcome this problem because while speaking, reading, or writing, they have to keep in mind the structure of the sentence, the paradigmatic and syntagmatic relationship between the words used in the sentence, and the functions of both the structure and the lexicon. They require practice in the use of verbs in all the tenses, which is grammatically termed as "conjugation of the verb". This describes the action that takes place, is taking place, or has taken place. Furthermore, the correct past tense forms of the corresponding verbs have to be used. Past tense inflection in Kannada, as in other Indian languages, is more difficult and is peculiar to Kannada forms.
3. Combined Reading and Writing Problems
As already discussed, except for a few sounds and letters in Kannada, all other sounds and letters do not present any problem for the Oriya learners. They will be able to identify them with a little diligence and concentration. This, indeed, is a great blessing. However, there are other problems: vowel length, aspirated and un-aspirated consonants, and conjunct consonants.
It is generally assumed that the spoken language comes before the written form while teaching and learning another language. it is also generally assumed that unless one speaks the language clearly and correctly, he/she cannot write the language properly and correctly. This is a very strong claim, and may not be really true. However, as an educational strategy, one may assume that this is valid and following this assumption can organize the lessons and hierarchically order the language skills taught. So, I highly recommend learning the spoken language to some extent before one really starts writing it. As a matter of fact, there are so many similarities between Oriya and Kannada, I might even venture to say that Kannada is easier to learn (for the Oriya speakers), when compared to the other three south Indian languages. Therefore the Oriya learners should attempt to learn Kannada with confidence and diligence.
There are pairs of words that confuse, which have to be identified by practice and the contexts in which they appear.
maDu (deep water) (n) -- ma:Du (to do)(v)
iDu (to put) (v) -- i:Du (target) (v)
biDu (give up) (v) -- bi:Du (settlement) (v)
aLu (to weep) (v) -- a:Lu (to rule) (v)
dance (n) -- da:na (gift) (n)
mana (mind) (n) -- ma:na (self respect)(n)
kaLe (weed) -- kaLe (to loose) (v) -- kaLe (mark) (n)
Many such words and their meanings have to be comprehended.
The learners have to visualize and identify the correct spelling and structures of words and sentences. By constant practice, then, they will be able to become aware of the errors and mistakes.
4. A LIST OF ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS
Some of the problems relating to phonology and morphology faced by the Oriya learners of Kannada may be listed as follows:
- Voiced labio-dental consonants "v" as voiced bilabial stops "b".
- Voiced palatal affricates "j" as voiceless palatal affricates "c".
- Geminated consonants written and read as single consonants.
- Retroflex stops written and pronounced as dental stops.
- Dental stops pronounced with some coloring of retroflexion.
- Short vowels written as long vowels when they occur medially.
- Want of rudimentary knowledge of both formal and functional Kannada grammar.
- Lack of knowledge of agreement of the verb with the subject in number and person.
- Dative case used for instrumental/ablative case.
- 'j' Voiced palatal of affricate changed into Voiceless palatal affricate
- Voiced retroflex lateral - L changed into voiced alveolar lateral - l
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APABHRAMSHA - AN INTRODUCTION | LITERATURE, MEDIA, AND SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION - Andhra Experience | BHARATHI - A COMMON SCRIPT FOR ALL INDIAN LANGUAGES | PHONOLOGICAL AND MORPHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS OF ORIYA SPEAKERS LEARNING KANNADA | A REVIEW OF AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEXTBOOK TO TEACH ENGLISH IN INDIAN SCHOOLS - FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A NATIVE SPEAKER OF ENGLISH | A LEARNER'S INTRODUCTION TO MANDARIN CHINESE | COMMUNICATION VIA EYE AND FACE IN INDIAN CONTEXTS | STRATEGIES IN THE FORMATION OF COMPOUND NOUNS IN TAMIL | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR
L. Manjulakshi, Ph.D.
C/o. Language in India
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