Global networking for Konkani
NT Staff Reporter
Nov 27: The United Nations Digital Language Foundation has
initiated a process of establishing the universal networking
language which will help Konkani language to establish its
links with the Konkani speaking people scattered all over
the world and also to get global information in Konkani.
5-day international conference on ‘Universal knowledge and
language’ began in Goa from November 25 to deliberate on various
aspects of the universal networking programme. The conference
is being jointly organised by the UNDL foundation, Geneva;
Transcultura International Institute, France and IIT-Bombay
with the aim of promoting world peace.
papers were presented on Konkani language today and the delegates
could get information on Konkani language and its development.
Dr Kiran Budkuley presented a paper on ‘Goan identity,’ Ms
Madhavi Sardessai presented a paper on ‘Portuguese influence
on Konkani language and technical issues,’ while Mr Shantaram
Varde Walaulikar deliberated on his experience in building
of corpus of Konkani words.
Walaulikar also explained to the conference about the project
undertaken by the department of electronics over machine translation
of the languages. “The Konkani language corpus was formed
with 3.1 million words and this will help the UNDL programme,”
UNDL foundation chairman, Prof Della Santa opined that the
UNDL technology could be used “for linking all 18 Indian languages
so that there is better understanding between the writers,
scholars and others within the country.”
Spanish national Mr Santa told Konkani language delegates
that UNDL would be glad to provide its expertise to develop
networking of the Indian languages.
Konkani writer, Udai Bhembre, who presented his paper on ‘History
of Konkani language’ yesterday said that the history of Konkani
language is the history of a language which was being taken
for crucifixion but fortunately was not killed. “This is the
story of a language suppressed by the foreigners and neglected
by its own speakers,” he added.
said some of the languages from this “World, being difficult
and scholarly, are lagging behind. Some languages being less
spoken gradually become extinct. However, in a bid to demolish
a particular culture, an attempt to destroy its very base
was done, which was a bad fate for Konkani.”
he said Konkani sustained, grew and could very well dream
of a bright future only because it had an incredible vigour
of its own.
that presently around 40 to 50 lakh people speak Konkani in
India, Bhembre said these people lay scattered from Mumbai
to Kochi along the west coast. Konkani speaking people reside
in the four states of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra.
the origin of Konkani, Bhembre said most of the scholars concede
that Konkani language evolved around the 10th century.
to Dr Jose Pereira, during the 8th century, Aryans set their
feet on the Konkan soil. Their dialect was influenced by Prakrit
languages and that led to the birth of Konkani language in
the 10th century.
Raghunath Desai opines that during the 9th or 10th century,
Konkani, Marathi, Gujarati, Rajasthani, Bengali and other
modern Indian languages were born from apabhramsh Prakrit”,
for around 500 years, Konkani must have remained only a spoken
language continuing the oral tradition. No evidence is available
to prove its written tradition of that time, Bhembre informed.
the 12th century Gomateshwara idol at Sravana Belagola carries
an inscription under its feet in the words ‘Chawundrayem Karaviyalem.’
Dr Jose Pereira contends it to be the first sample of written
Konkani. The head of the department of Marathi at Nagpur University,
Dr S B Kulkarni agrees with this, Bhembre stated.
saint, Namdev in one of his verses of Gawlan type has written
one of the stanzas in Konkani, he added.
scholar, Dr Cunha Rivara has recorded that during conversions,
Portuguese rulers burnt most of the manuscripts that existed
then. Which included some Konkani manuscripts too. But before
the arrival of the Portuguese in Goa, there is no evidence
yet found to prove that written Konkani was in vogue during
that period, Bhembre said.
said the printing press came to Goa in 1556 and Konkani books
started getting printed and published in this press and thus
the propagation of Konkani books was rendered easier. Initially
the printing press was installed at Old Goa but it was later
shifted to Raitur. Rev Father Thomas Stephens published his
book Doutrina Cristam in 1622 and his book Arte de Lingua
Canarim the first Konkani grammar of its kind, was published
factors are important in this light: the first book in an
Indian language was printed in Konkani and second, the first
published grammar of any modern Indian language was of Konkani,”
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