The Central Institute of Indian Languages was set up on the 17th July, 1969 with a view to assisting and co-ordinating the development of Indian languages. The Institute was 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 developmental research in the fields of languages and linguistics in India.
The Institute and its four regional language centres are thus engaged in research and teaching which lead to the publication of a wide-ranging variety of materials. Preparation of materials designed for teaching/learning 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 manifold psycho-social relations constitute another broad range of its interest. The publications will include materials produced by the members of the staff of the Central Institute of Indian Languages and its Regional Language Centres and associated scholars from universities and institutions, both Indian and foreign.
The Central Institute of Indian Languages has initiated the Primetime Reader Series in Indian languages with a view to presenting the range of phonetic variation obtaining in this sub-continent and demonstrating the closeness of language on the basis of phonetic patterning. These Readers are biased towards learning the sound systems of languages. Thus it is hoped that this series will be of interest to both scholars who are interested in phonetic studies and practical learners of languages who wish to make a beginning in their language study.
If these materials help solving the problems in the State and help in understanding the people speaking the language, then our efforts will be deemed to have been amply rewarded.
About six per cent of the population of India is tribal. There have been three views about how best they can be drawn into the main stream of our national life. One obvious way is not to draw them at all and leave them alone and preserve their culture and traditions intact as museum pieces. The other extreme view has been to sort of drown them in the mainstream and completely assimilate them. The third view is to see that the best in their traditions and cultures that is consistent with modern life is preserved and they are integrated so that they maintain their individuality and at the same time participate in and benefit by the modern developments.
It is also the considered view of all the people that matter that these tribal’s should be integrated with the regional population amidst whom they live. This can be done only when they are approached through their own mother tongues. It is also obvious that it is impracticable to use their mother tongues throughout their education. Their mother tongues are to be used so that they can effectively be integrated into the regional population. This does not mean that they should forsake their mother tongues, but only means that they should gain native-like fluency in their respective regional languages as early as possible. It is for this purpose that their languages have, to be scientifically studied and grammatical sketches and vocabularies have to be prepared. The scripts of the regional languages have to be adopted for writing their languages. Primers and textbooks have to be prepared.
To do all this the expertise of the linguists of the country should be placed at the disposal of persons interested in the education of tribal’s. Administrators who come in frequent contact with the tribal’s have in learn to speak fluently the tribal language in question. Learning a language implies an acquisition of a good pronunciation.
Firstly, the learner must acquire the capacity to recognise readily without any error the various speech sounds occurring in the language he is learning. Secondly, he must acquire the capacity to produce them with the help of his own vocal organs. Thirdly, he must acquire the capacity to produce the individual speech sounds he has learnt in sequences. In addition to these three skills, which may be sufficient to gain a reasonable pronunciation, the learner, depending on his needs, has to get a mastery over the orthography of the language he is learning. This involves developing automatic associations between written forms and speech sounds.
The Phonetic Readers in this series have been designed with the above points in view. They are mainly intended to meet the needs of administrators who have to learn the language in question.
Each Reader consists of a brief exposition about the organs of speech and their functions. It also introduces some technical terms. Then each speech sound is described in detail giving the movements of the vocal organs. Each description is rounded off by the technical term for that sound. A brief phonemic statement which meaningfully groups the sounds described in the preceding sections is also appended. A statement about the correspondences between the phonemes of the language and the letters used to write them comes at the end. In this section suggestions for improvements in the existing orthography are made. In the case of languages which have not yet been written, suggestions for adopting the script of the regional language are made.
It may be too much to claim that these Readers are perfect. There are lacunae still to be filled up. The most conspicuous of these is the lack of information on intonation. Though it is true that certain features of pronunciation can only be learnt with the aid of a teacher, the utility of such Readers cannot be underestimated. It is hoped that these Readers will be useful to even persons other than those for whom they are intended.
Ao is one of the Naga group of languages spoken in the
state of Nagaland in the North-East frontier of India. The Naga
languages belong to the Tibeto-Burman language family. The
name Ao denotes the language as well as the community.
The Nagas fall into more than a dozen major linguistic
groups. Aos are one of the largest groups of the Nagas. According
to.the 1971 census report the population of Aos is 64, 462. They
are mainly concentrated in Mokokchung district of Nagaland and
form the dominant linguistic group in the district.
Sharing the boundary with Lotha Nagas and Sema Nagas in
the South, the Ao speaking area has the State of Assam in the
North-West: and Dikhu river in the North-East as geographical
The Ao-Naga language has several regional dialects. Three
of them, viz., Chungli, Mongsen and Chanki are prominent, Of
these the Chungli dialect is accepted as the standard Ao language
for. printing purposes. Though folk songs and a few religious
"songs are written in the Mongsen dialect at present, efforts are
being ‘made to reproduce them in the standard Chungli dialect.
The Chanki dialect is spoken mainly in the Chanki village. The
accepted. standard Chungli dialect is spoken in the villages of
Melongimsen’ and Longpa. Moreover in many villages both
Chungli and Mongsen dialects are spoken. This study is based
"on the standard Chungli dialect.
Previous: works on the Ao language include GRrIERSON’s
Linguistic Survey of India, Vol. I, part II, Mrs. E. W.
CLaRK’s Ao Naga Grammar and Dr. E. W. CLarK’s Jo Naga
Dictionary. In their anthropological studies of the Nagas the authors W. C. Smith (The Ao Naga Tribe of Assam, London
1925) and J. H. HUTTON (The Angami Nagas, London, 1921)
have given some scanty information on the Ao language also.
Apart from these works done by foreign authors there area few
works on Ao by some native speakers of the language. A Junior
Ao-English Dictionary (1972) by Renthy Kerirzar, 4o Grammar
(1961) by W. CHUNBANUNGBA Ao, are some of them. Most of
these works suffer from lack of linguistic sophistication and
The Ao language is taught in schools as mother tongue upto
matric level. The Textbook production branch of the Directorate
of Education, Nagaland, produces textbooks in the language
There is an Ao Literature Committee which works for the
development of literature in the language. The existing literary
works are mostly religious in content. Original and creative
literature is yet to develop in this language.
The main objective of this Phonetic Reader is to describe in
detail all the sounds of the Ao language. This Phonetic study of
Ao is expected to help to teach the pronunciation of Ao speech
sounds to the non-native learner of Ao. Since the Users of this
Reader will be language teachers and students and may not have
linguistic training, the description of the sounds has been given in
a non-technical way as far as possible.
There are many factors involved in learning a second
language. Acquiring the skill to recognise and produce the
various speech sounds of the second language is a very necessary
one. This can be achieved only by constant practice. The
student who learns Ao asa second language must acquire the
ability to produce the various speech sounds and tones of it.
Difficulties may exist in the beginning in perceiving and producing
the various sounds and tones of the language. However, by
constant practice this can be overcome.
This Phonetic Reader is arranged in the following form :
First, speech organs are illustrated and described; then a general
description of speech sounds and tones is given; the third chapter consists of the individual description of various speech sounds
and tones of Ao; the fourth chapter gives phonetic drills for
practice; a brief phonemic analysis is given in the fifth chapter;
and the last chapter contains a note on the present writing system
of Ao grapheme, some suggestions for improving the same and
a phoneme-grapheme chart of Ao and Nagari.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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