I recently attended the conference on teaching languages called CLaSIC organised by the Centre for Languages Studies at the National University of Singapore on December 2-4 held at the Orchard Hotel Singapore. My talk at it was on the theme that language learning, at least in relation to learning Hindi and Japanese, is about how language learning is really at every stage learning about the culture expressed by the language. The audio is in MP3 format and about twenty minutes in length. Audio of talk at CLaSIC 2010
So far my ideas look like this: http://sites.google.com/site/latrobehindi/
I am currently giving a series of talks at the E-vam Institute in Melbourne. Each talk will be an hour long and I gave the first last night. The audio is available below (mp3 audio, around 14MB, one hour). The general introduction to the talks is as follows:
This program looks at pilgrimage in Buddhism and pilgrims’ accounts of India. We start by considering the development of pilgrimage in India to the sacred sites associated with the Buddha and the role of pilgrimage in the spiritual life of Buddhism. We will then study the travel accounts of famous pilgrims, such as Xuanzang (602-644) and in conclusion examine the issue of how Buddhists see India and how India sees Buddhists.
|Session||Date||Topic (click on the link for the audio from the talk)|
|1||21 Oct||Worshiping sacred sites|
|3||4 Nov||Bodhgaya down the ages|
|4||11 Nov||Chinese Pilgrims|
|6||25 Nov||Modern day Buddhist pilgrims to India|
An interesting day at the Tucci conference at Monash on the 29th September. I gave a talk on Tucci and views of ritual in relation to Mandala practice and in Kabir Panthi traditions.
I was interviewed for the Hindi magazine Kadambani and there is an article about me and my Hindi teaching activities in the September 2010 issue.
See http://www.livehindustan.com/kadambini/1.html page 28-29
People sometimes ask me about Hindi dictionaries. I recommend highly Stuart McGregor’s Oxford Hindi English dictionary, available in a number of editions, and if you can find one which was originally printed for South Asia considerably cheaper. It’s the best for telling you the origins of words and has a very good coverage. Otherwise another useful dictionary is Chaturvedi and Tiwari’s A Practical Hindi-English dictionary, Delhi: National Publishing House, various editions over many years. Its coverage is slightly less that McGregor but it has good examples of usage in some instances and is generally one of the two Hindi-English dictionaries I have on hand. For English-Hindi there is no ideal dictionary. I still like that by Kamil Bulke, (Delhi: Chand and sons) which has all the words you want, but a lot you don’t even know exist in English to begin with! Otherwise the Oxford English Hindi is okay, but at times a little terse, and Hardev Bahri’s Rajpal English-Hindi dictionary has some merits as well. The key issue with English-Hindi is always look the word up you got through using such a dictionary again in a Hindi-English dictionary to check you got the right register or type of word for your purposes. There is no good dictionary I know of that does both Hindi English and English Hindi.
Also don’t forget there are some great online Hindi dictionaries now, such as Chaturvedi’s’ (see above) at: http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/caturvedi/ and the original and largest Hindi to Hindi dictionary, the शब्दसागर is now also online at the DSAL at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/dasa-hindi/
I was sometimes told by people in India that rickshaw (रिक्शा) was a Chinese word. But in Singapore I found people told me it was not a Chinese word either. It is a form of a Japanese word. 人力車 jin-riki-sha ‘person-power-vehicle’ from which the initial jin ‘person’ has been dropped leaving only ‘riki-shaw‘ (Gilhooly, 2003: 17) and then somehow it ended up in Hindi. (pardon my poor attempt to draw the kanji for the word). For more see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickshaw
Gilhooly, Helen (2003). Teach Yourself Beginners Japanese Script. London: Hodder Education.
A possible link between India and Japan related to scripts, and why Hiragana and Katakana are organised like the Indic syllabary is that raised by John Stevens in his book Sacred Calligraphy of the East (Boston and London: Shambhala, 1995. p. 6). In this he says that the Buddhist monk Shouwen invented a set of Chinese radicals to represent sounds and organised them on the model of the Indic organisation of sounds as found in Devanagari and Siddham scripts. This then would provide a second way that Kukei might have thought about how to organise Hiragana and Katakana scripts in Japanese. There is also a picture in Stevens (p. 10) that shows a Siddham alphabet, and Katakana transliteration, attributed to Kukei.
However, so far I can find nothing more about Shouwen as a Buddhist monk, although a search for Shouwen brings up a related topic on Chinese script. Unfortunately (due to my lack of Japanese and Chinese language skills) the answers seem to lie in works such as Mabuchi Kazuo’s 日本韻学史の研究 / 馬渕和夫 (1962) and Nihon Ingakushi no kenkyuu 日本韻学史の研究. (thanks to Bill Mak for these references)