India: Sahitya Akademi opens new centre for oral literature


If proof of the pudding is in the sampling, so too are pleasures of an oral language manifest in the listening. Keenly aware that an orality possesses more in its audible parts than the sum of its literation in a borrowed script, Sahitya Akademi has set out to document and archive in audio and visual form, samples of oral and tribal literatures of India.This means you can soon animate your reading of Toda folklore in Tamil with audio clips of the real thing. 
What started as a ‘project’ in the mid 90s to preserve oral languages, has gained solidity and singular purpose with the institution of an independent department called the Centre For Oral and Tribal Literature. Formalized in January, the Centre is headed by noted linguist and former JNU academic, Dr Anvita Abbi. She was awarded the Padma Shri for her work on endangered languages in India and the Kenneth Hale Award by the Linguistic Society of America, and is presently president of the Linguistic Society of India.

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