on the Plan of this Manual
Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri is a manual for learning spoken Kashmiri of
Srinagar, the summer capital of the Jammu and Kashmir state in India. The basic
assumptions behind both the planning of this book and its structure are
discussed below. We hope that the following notes will provide a guide to the
users of this manual.
STRUCTURE OF THE
The book is divided
into eight sections. The first section provides a very brief socio-linguistic
profile of the Kashmiri language. The second section describes the sounds of
Kashmiri, and provides some material for pronunciation practice. The third
section introduces sixteen functional conversations (Lessons 1 through
16). By a functional conversation is meant a situation-oriented short
conversation in which the participants are primarily using repetitive language.
The fourth section comprises fifteen lessons (Lessons 17 through 31). These are
termed conversations. The aim of these conversations is to use language
for discussing Kashmir-oriented topics in a semi-formal relationship between the
participants. The participants are a Kashmiri and a non-Kashmiri. These
conversations are longer than the ones presented in the previous section. A
majority of the lessons in this section discuss the topics about Kashmir, the
Kashmiris, and the important places in Kashmir. There are also two lessons about
the Kashmiri firepot and the Kashmiri shawl merchant. The fifth section,
entitled Notes on advanced grammar, provides a skeleton description of
some topics on grammar which have not been discussed in the previous sections.
This section may be consulted by a learner at any stage, depending on his
interest and his background. The sixth section includes twelve review
exercises that emphasize grammar, comprehension, and translation. In the
Table of Contents of this book, the focus of each exercise is given to help the
teacher and the learner in selecting the exercises. We have also included hints
for working on the exercises. These hints should be consulted with reluctance,
but, preferably not until after the answers to the exercises have been
attempted. The seventh section (Lessons 32 through 45) includes fourteen narrative
texts. These lessons discuss the following types of themes. The legend
about Kashmir; the places of interest in Kashmir; a Kashmiri folk tale; some
historical characters; typical Kashmiri objects; the saints, some earlier poets
of Kashmir, and three modern poets of Kashmir. The last section includes
specimens of Kashmiri poetry. These poems are by the same poets who are
included in the previous section, namely, Lal Ded, Habba Khatun, Zinda Koul 'Masterji',
Gulam Ahmad 'Mahjoor' and Dina Nath 'Nadim'.
STRUCTURE OF EACH
The lessons 1 through
31 have been structured in the following way. At the beginning of each lesson,
there is an introduction to the lesson. This is divided into three brief
subsections, namely, the contextual focus, the grammatical focus,
and the lexical focus. After this the main lesson starts. There is at
least one illustration in a majority of the lessons, drawn by a native Kashmiri
artist, which provides some visual aid for understanding the lesson. In each
lesson, the lexical meaning of all the new words is given before presenting a
Kashmiri sentence in which the word(s) occur. The Kashmiri sentence is then
followed by a free translation into English. The translation does not
necessarily provide a one-to-one correspondence with the Kashmiri sentence. Each
lesson is followed by a detailed section which includes notes on cultural
matter, or other contextually relevant information, grammar, vocabulary, drills
and exercises. It is up to the instructor or the learners to determine how much
of this section is to be used in the class. It is also up to the instructor to
determine whether the drills are to be used only for the oral practice in the
class or also as take-home assignments. In the lessons 32 through 50 we have
provided no notes; we have only provided 'equivalents' of important lexical
STYLE OF SPEECH
The variety of
Kashmiri presented in this book is my idiolect, with serious input from Onkar N.
Pandit. If we use George Grierson's terms, our variety of Kashmiri may be termed
"Hindu Kashmiri" though I personally do not like this term. However,
we have made a serious attempt to neutralize the Sanskrit elements in our speech
at the lexical level. In the narrative texts (Lessons 32 through 45), it has not
always been possible to avoid the Sanskrit items. The tradition of prose writing
is still very recent in Kashmiri, and the present prose is either Persianized as
that of Radio Kashmir or Sanskritized. Radio Kashmir has developed a very
stilted prose style which sounds like servile translations of English or Urdu
We feel that in
grammar and pronunciation the difference has been substantially neutralized.
In a few cases, a
learner will find in this text the variant forms of the same lexical items. At
the beginning, this may be a little confusing. It is, however, good to learn
that human languages have a component of variation, too.
The notes given in
this book on Kashmiri culture are very brief. We have attempted to cover all
those points which are crucial for the understanding of the text. A learner who
is interested in a more detailed treatment of either the Kashmiri culture or the
literature will find the suggested reading list useful.
In the Introduction to
each lesson, the subsection entitled "Grammatical focus" gives some
indication of what follows in the lesson. The grammar section which follows each
lesson does not necessarily form a part of the lesson. However, we have
attempted to incorporate those grammatical points in the discussion which we
think are relevant to the text. It is important that an instructor and the
learner do serious shunting back and forth to make those sections meaningful.
The aim of the
grammatical notes is not to present a complete grammar of the Kashmiri language
in this manual. These are merely skeleton notes and are not complete or
exhaustive. We suggest that the author's A Reference Grammar of Kashmiri
(RGK) be used as a companion volume to this book. The author recommends
the RGK with hesitation since it needs serious revisions. In a revised
version of it, ideally speaking, the author would like to retain only its title.
A Kashmiri-knowing instructor should be able to draw a learner's attention to
its weak points as well as to its strong points. In the grammar section, we have
presented several tense forms in one place. This has been done for the sake of
convenience actually, such material may be presented to students in smaller
sections at various stages.
In the contemporary
language pedagogy, it is fashionable to use the term "grading". A word
on that might not be out of place here. The materials presented here have been
"graded" intuitively. We have not used any statistical techniques for
the vocabulary control or for grading the structures. We propose to prepare such
supplementary materials in the near future.
The translation of
lexical items or of constructions does not represent a formal equivalence. At
places, it was difficult to establish even lexical equivalence between Kashmiri
and English lexical items. For example, Kashmiri tsot
is not English 'bread' or Hindi-Urdu chapati. It is a Kashmiri version of
which is eaten as snack with Kashmiri tea. The translation of Kashmiri tsa:man
as English 'cheese' also shows arbitrary equivalence.
All translations of
the poems in section VIII have been done by the author, except for four va:ks
of Lal Ded for which we have used the translations of George Grierson or Richard
In the introduction to
each lesson (up to Lesson 32) there is a subsection entitled lexical focus.
Under this subsection we have provided contextually determined lexical sets.
After each lesson there is a list of useful vocabulary items. In Part II of An
Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri there is also a glossary.
CONTENTS OF PART II
This manual has a
companion volume (Part II). It includes a glossary
which is divided into three parts. The first part gives English equivalents for
Kashmiri words. The second part gives Kashmiri equivalents for English words.
The third part includes a partial list of English borrowings in Kashmiri. In
addition, it also includes a glossary of selected terms used in this manual and,
suggestions for further reading.