Established on the 17th of July, 1969 with a view to assisting and co-ordinating the development of Indian Languages, the Central Institute of Indian Languages, is charged with the responsibility of serving as a nucleus to bring together all the research and literary out-put from the various linguistic streams to a common head and narrowing the gap between basic research and development research in the fields of language and linguistics in India.
The Institute and its seven Regional Language Centres are thus engaged in research and teaching which lead to the publication of a wide range of materials. Preparation of materials in Indian languages designed for learning/teaching at different levels and suited to specific needs is one of the major areas of interest of the institute. Basic research relating to the acquisition of language and study of language in its interest. The instructional materials produced by the institute consist of a variety of books, audio cassettes, video cassettes, film strips and online courses.
Language teaching is an ancient profession in India. It has a long tradition of teaching classical languages following the Gurukula system. The teaching of a language was not considered to be independent of teaching philosophy, logic, grammar, poetics and for that matter even mathematics. But the teaching in those times addressed itself to a selected group in the society and thus was shaped in mathematics. But the teaching in those times addressed itself to a selected group in the society and thus was shaped in methodology and objectives by the motivations and purposes of this group. Through centuries and centuries the situation kept changing and the selected group multiplied into innumerable need based group of different age groups, professional groups, interest groups and groups of language learners who learn it for the sheer pleasure of learning a new language and not to exclude those learners who learn different languages as a result of policy implementation of the socio political system to which they belong.
Language teaching has developed as a sub-discipline within applied linguistics in modern time in India as it is elsewhere. All the segment of the society learn languages which may be the mother tongue/first language and/or the second language. The importance of language skills in the educational process, economic activities and cultural assimilation has been recognized and the population of second language learners is increasing by leaps and bounds. All these pose a challenge to the linguists and the materials producers to develop models, methods and materials which could meet each and every need of different learners and are suitable to the different learning abilities and aptitudes.
The Central Institute of Indian Languages has initiated and intensive Course Series in major Indian languages to provide suitable and comprehensive materials for learning and teaching the language concerned. In any language teaching situation, the teacher is expected to combine the roles of a psycho-linguist, socio-linguist, language pedagogue, a creator of materials, a literary critic and a testing and evaluation expert, Most of his competences are naturally reflected in the materials, which simultaneously are graded form known to unknown, simple to complex and contrived to the naturals. This is a very difficult task. After research and experimentation we have come out with more questions than answer at each stage of the material, for example, how basic is basic? What is grading? In what way can linguistic and cultural matter be graded? Is question, with which most learning begins, simpler than statement? How does one move from a purely language based competence to creating literary sensibilities? How does one move from a purely language based competence to creating literary sensibilities? How does one build into the material conceptual prose? How are lessons to be presented? Should the translated discourse structure be made to look similar to the original discourse structure? Different teachers and researchers have answered questions such as these differently. This search is a continuing phenomenon. Therefore, language instructional materials continue to represent linguists unfinished education in this area.
The format of this book An Intensive Course in Nepali is the result of a consensus arrived at by the lectures and principals of the seven Regional Language Centres and the researches in the centre for Materials Production of the Institute. This book is the product of six workshops spanning over six years and actual classroom teaching of Nepali to non-native adult learners who are school teachers from different states and union territories of India. This is the prescribed text for the three month Basic Course of the 10 month language training program in the North Eastern Regional Language Centre of the Institute at Guwahati, the institute has already published intensive courses in Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil Telugu and Urdu Nepali and Manipuri courses are being brought out presently.
Even though the intensive Course have been prepared specially for the teacher trainees of the Regional Language Centres, these books will go a long way in the learning/teaching of these languages by any adult learner.
I am happy to congratulate the Nepali lectures, the trainees, the materials producers, the supervisors and the editor, our press and publication people who have enabled the institute to bring out this book in a creditable manner.
Learning a Second Language
Acquisition of one's mother tongue is a natural phenomenon for a human being. When a child acquires his/her mother tongue, the acquisition is a slow and gradual process, and it happens quite automatically. The child is not aware that the process is taking place. He/she does not at all feel any burden or uneasiness. But this is not the case when an adult has to learn a second/foreign language within a specified duration of time. The problem becomes more acute when the learning has to take place in a situation where there is not much of an environment of the concerned language. In such a context the learner becomes conscious at every step that he is acquiring something new and finds himself in a difficult plight. It is because of this that many people are tempted to make the statement that a second/foreign language cannot be learned within the four walls of a class room, and that it has to be acquired in the natural environment.
Exposure to the language environment, no doubt, is the most ideal situation for the acquisition of a language, but equally important are proper motivation on the part of learners and teachers and carefully prepared instructional materials. It is in this direction that an attempt is made in this book to provide the adult second language learners of Nepali with, what could be termed, systematically organised learning materials. The three important principles, namely selection, gradation and presentation, which a materials producer has to bear in mind, while preparing a textbook, are taken note of and applied with meticulous care in the preparation of this book. The items to be learned/taught are presented on the basis of sound pedagogic principles, namely, a progression of items from simple to complex, from known to unknown, and the relevance of learning items in the given linguistic situation. Thus, the learners would find themselves being led to the language in a graded manner. This book would also help the second language teachers of Nepali in their efforts to transfer Nepali language habits to adult second language learners.
This Intensive Course is meant primarily for the Nepali learning teacher trainees of North Eastern Regional Language Centre (Guwahati) of the Central Institute of Indian Languages, (Mysore) who are not acquainted with the language earlier. This is the prescribed text for the Basic Course of the three phase ten-month course of 1100 hours of instruction. The other two phases are the Intermediate and the Advanced Courses. The Basic Course extends over a period of 14 weeks with 450 instructional hours. At the end of this course the learners are able to achieve the following objectives:
1. To perceive and reproduce the sounds and their meaningful sequences, which means identification of the sounds in their meaningful sequences, discrimination of the sounds 'in their meaningful sequences and oral reproduction of the sounds in their meaningful sequences
2. To form sentences orally from given patterns and lexical items
3. To converse with the teacher and with fellow trainees on specified topics under controlled situations
4. To narrate specified events and topics orally
5. To read simple and graded passages with comprehension, which includes the recognition of the letters of the alphabet in isolation and in sequences and the comprehension of passages containing simple sentences
6. To write simple sentences, guided and free compositions on specified topics, which means the writing of the letters of the alphabet in the initial stage followed by words and sentences and the writing of guided and free compositions on the basis of the cues and the topics provided
Structure of the Book
This Intensive Course consists of 10 units which contain a total of 60 lessons. Each unit, except the last one, revolves around a bundle of related grammatical features which form a major structural chunk of the language. Each lesson, in its turn, deals with one or more sets of teachable items which are the structural bits that make up the whole, called language. This book is, thus, based on a structural syllabus in which the structural bits form the basis for gradation. Both morphological and syntactical features are taken care of by the term structural bits. Each unit contains six lessons and the last lesson of each unit is a review lesson. A review lesson introduces no new teachable items, but only reinforces the items thus far included in the lessons reviewed. The 10th unit of this book contains only review lessons with free style dialogues which are prepared without observing any structural control of grammatical items in a way as natural as the native speakers would speak in the given situations.
Structure of a Lesson
A lesson in this book is made up of a dialogue, drills, exercises, vocabulary and notes in that order. The dialogue introduces the relevant structural bits Cising a context of meaningful interaction. While controlling the linguistic structures, an effort has been made to present as natural a situation as possible. There are a few dialogues that centre around the formal class room situations in learning/teaching a second language, while the rest present dialogues simulating real life situations, such as a conversation between mother and child, father and child, husband and wife, brother and sister, a teacher and students in a mother tongue situation, dialogues between friends, between colleagues, a journalist and a writer, a doctor and a patient, activists and lay women, a leader and a common man etc. The language variety used for dialogues and other purposes is the standard colloquial as spoken by educated Nepalis in India. The English translation given for the sentences of the dialogues does not have in all situations one to one correspondence structurally or stylistically but is intended only to convey the general meaning of the sentence in question as a device to acquire the learning items in Nepali.
Our strategy, while stressing language learning through practise of simulating real life situations, also emphasises that learners should be given ample opportunities to express their own ideas and opinions and chart out things for themselves by conversing with the fellow learners. This prepares the foreground for the practise of real life situations in the world outside the classroom. Because of the above reason, there are also characters and situations in this book which are not typical of Nepali environment and Nepali contexts, but are essentially relevant to the use of Nepali language by the adult second language learners.
Drills are provided for the oral practice of the teachable items introduced in the conversation.
These enable the learners to internalise inductively the rules governing the structural-bits in relation to the language. The practise of the same results in an automatism of the linguistic pattern introduced, and the learners are led to the production of meaningful utterances using the structure focused in each lesson.
Drills in this book generally include the following types:
1. Repetition Drill
2. Build up Drill
3. Substitution Drill
4. Multiple slot substitution Drill
5. Expansion Drill
6. Restatement Drill
7. Response Drill
8. Transformation Drill
9. Combination Drill
10. Split up Drill
11. Question Answer Drill
Each drill has a specific objective of achieving a particular linguistic activity. Repetition drill enables the learners to listen to model utterances of the teacher/native speaker and then repeat the same so that proper practice of correct pronunciation, sandhi and intonation are taken care of. The repetition drill also gives the learner a clear picture, at a glance, of the structural bits introduced in a particular lesson: The build up drill provides the learners with ample opportunities to practise the normal word order of the sentence and helps them memorise the sentence through a systematic building up of the same by a progressive addition of words in the given order. Expansion drill enables the learners to be familiar with the placement of additional words in a given sentence frame and thus form a bigger sentence. Substitution drill deals with the selectional restrictions among different categories of words in a sentence and among different manifestations of a single word and also gives practice of vocabulary items. Restatement drill is meant to enable the learners to practise the formation and use of different varieties of sentence patterns while transformation drill, in addition to the above purpose, also takes care of the inter-relationship between sentences. Response drill gives practice to put questions and give answers and for making relevant statements in appropriate contexts.
While drills give practice to the learners for mastering the linguistic rules by automation, exercises are meant to find out whether the learners have imbibed the rules which they practised inductively. So, it is necessary that exercises are attempted only after administering the drills. Exercises can be worked out by the learners both orally and in writing. The exercises are of different types, testing the learning of various elements of grammatical features from sandhi to formation of sentences that make up a conversation.
As in the case of drills, exercises also have specific objectives such as practising and testing word formation, use of proper words in given contexts, use of appropriate tenses in verbal constructions, use of proper vocabulary, transforming one type of sentence to another structural type as affirmative to negative, negative to affirmative, statement to interrogative etc, then forming sentences manipulating different types of derivation and inflection, building proper questions and forming suitable answers etc.
The Vocabulary section includes the words that occur in the dialogues for the first time. They are entered in the order and form of their occurrence in the dialogues. The meanings of the vocabulary items are given in English and most often are restricted to the context in which they occur in the lesson. In the case of certain verbs that occur in different forms, the verb stems are also given in brackets while listing the vocabulary items.
The index provided at the end of this book lists, in the alphabetical order, all the words, which appear in the lessons. There are a total of 1277 words in this index. They are also identified for their first occurrence in a unit and a lesson. In most of the cases the majority of the words in a lesson, more or less, belong to the same semantic field, thus facilitating ready recall by the learners. The users of this book may also refer to the Pictorial Glossary of Nepali a collaborative Publication of Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore and the Directorate of Education of the state of Skikkim, Gangtok.
The Notes give information pertaining to grammatical structures as well as cultural features the latter depending upon the need of the same in the particular lesson. Grammatical notes are given as explanations from the point of view of function. Each of the structural bits newly introduced in the lesson finds a .note on it with illustrative examples. When felt necessary, cross references are made with respect to the preceding notes in the same lesson or in the previous lessons. While explaining a grammatical point, use of technical terms is generally restricted to those used by writers of grammar books.
This Book as a Generalised Course
Though this book is the prescribed text for the Basic Course phase of learning Nepali in the North Eastern Regional Language Centre, it could be easily used for any generalised second language programme in Nepali both by adult learners and their teachers. The teachers could do well by exposing their students to additional materials, prepared by them closely in conjunction with the structures employed in a particular lesson. Such materials may be used for the development of all the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
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