TODAY -

Prof Scott DeLancey refutes 'fake documentation' charge
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, October 18 2014 : Reacting to news reports claiming siphoning off around Rupees 2 cr.

under fake documentation regarding a linguistics project on Monsang language Manipur, Prof.Scott DeLancey, Head of Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon, USA has categorically clarified that the allegation made against him was incorrect as the said project on writing a grammar of Monsang language in Chandel district has just started and the documentation is yet to be completed.

There is no question of fake documentation as claimed, the professor said.

Prof.Scott DeLancey said he and his research associate Dr.Linda Konnerth received an institutional research grant administered by the University of Oregon to write a grammar of the Monsang language in Chandel District.

"We are just beginning this work, with the assistance of the Monsang Art and Culture Association", he asserted, while saying that the documentation has not been completed as claimed in the news report.

"During my visits, I met with representatives from several communities of Chandel District who are interested in language development and linguistic research, and discussed plans to form the Chandel Endangered Languages Committee (CELC)", stated the professor who made it straight that CELC remained an informal and non-official forum for language development and research and is not the recipient of any funds from the research grant.

"What we hope to do is to collect and transcribe a large body of oral texts in Monsang, and then write a complete reference grammar of the language, Prof.Scott continued and claimed that the writing of a grammar of an unwritten language is a very large task.

He said that within Manipur, only Meiteiron has been fully documented, although scholars at Manipur University and in the Centre have provided preliminary documentation of several other languages of the state.

"Why would I want to learn about Monsang, and why would a U.S.research agency want to support this work ?", questioned the professor who pointed out that every language is of interest to the field of linguistics.

The languages of the Northeast have many unusual or unique features which are of great interest to linguists, he disclosed.

But a certain set of languages from Chandel District Aimol, Anal, Monsang, Moyon, Tarao, and some others are especially interesting to him, he elaborated.

"These languages, like almost all the languages of Manipur, belong to the Sino-Tibetan family which means that they are distantly related to Tibetan, Burmese, many languages of the Himalayas and NE India, and to Chinese", the professor explained.

These languages descend from a common ancestor which was spoken at least 5/6 thousand years ago, probably somewhere in southwest China, he informed.

In the meantime, the descendants of this original language have spread until the family stretches from Beijing in the east to Ladakh in the west, from Qinghai in the north to Mizoram and Chittagong in the south, he said.

Prof.Scott DeLancey on whom the allegation was made said that within the Sino-Tibetan family, some languages, including Tibetan, Burmese, and Meiteiron, have changed greatly over time, and lost much of the original grammar.

Chinese is the language which has changed the most.

Explaining the reasons for study of the Monsang language, he cited that a group of languages spoken in Chandel district, including Tarao, Aimol, Anal, Moyon and Monsang, are the languages particularly interesting from a historical linguistic point of view.


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