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An Intensive Course in Manipuri

An Intensive Course in Manipuri
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Item Code: NAK229
Author: B. Syamala Kumari and N. Pramodini
Publisher: Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore
Language: English and Bengali
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 8173421196
Pages: 938
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.5 inch X 6.5 inch
weight of the book: 1.5 kg

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 developmental 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 manifold psycho-social relations constitute another broad range of 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 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 groups 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 times in India as it is elsewhere. All the segments 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 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 an 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, 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 from known to unknown, simple to complex and contrived to the natural. This is a very difficult task. After research and experimentation we have come out with more questions than answers 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 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? Questions such as these have been answered differently by different teachers and researchers. This search is a continuing phenomenon. Therefore, language instructional materials continue to represent linguists' unfinished education in this area.

The format for this book An Intensive Course in Manipuri is the result of a consensus arrived at by the lecturers and principals of the seven Regional Language Centres and the researchers 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 Manipuri 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, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. Manipuri and Nepali courses are being brought out presently.

Even though our Intensive Courses have been prepared specifically for the teacher trainees of the Regional Language Centres, these books will go a long way in learning/teaching of these languages by any adult learner.

I am happy to congratulate the Manipuri lecturers, the trainees, the materials producers, the supervisors and the editors, 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 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 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 carefully prepared instructional materials. It is in this direction an attempt is made in this book to provide the adult second language learners of Manipuri with, what could be termed, systematically organised learning materials. The three 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 teachable items are presented on the basis of sound pedagogic principles, namely, a progression of items from known to unknown, simple to complex and the relevance of the learning items in the given linguisticituation. 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 Manipuri in their efforts to transfer Manipuri language habits to adult second language learners.


This Intensive Course is meant primarily for the Manipuri 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 Intermediate and 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 specific topics under controlled situations.
  4. To narrate specific 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 sequence and the comprehension of passages containing simple sentences.
  6. To write simple sentences and guided compositions on specific 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 compositions on the basis of the cues provided.

Since many Indian learners of Manipuri are familiar with the Devanagari script, first seven lessons in this book are provided with literature in Parivardhit Devanagari using extra symbols to represent the different Manipuri sounds so that they can read from the first day of their learning the sentences they orally practice. The help of a teacher or a native speaker may be sought to realize the exact sound value of the symbols used to indicate Manipuri sounds. The learners may also refer to the book 'Manipuri Phonetic Reader' published by Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore.

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 conversations.

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 using 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 of the lessons present dialogues simulating real life situations, such as conversations between mother and child, father and child, husband and wife, brother and sister, between friends, between colleagues, between a doctor and a patient, an environmentalist and children, women 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 Manipuris in the valley districts of Manipur. The English translation given for the sentences of the dialogues has no one to one correspondence structurally or stylistically but is intended only to convey the general meaning. Translation is given only as an aid and also to satisfy the adult second language learners' natural urge for a reference and not as a practice tool for learning Manipuri.

Our strategy, while stressing language learning through practice 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 practice 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 Manipuri environment and Manipur contexts, but are essentially relevant to the use Of Manipuri 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 practice 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 include the following types:

  1. Repetition drill
  2. Build up drill
  3. Expansion drill
  4. Substitution drill (single slot and multiple slots)
  5. Restatement drill
  6. Integration drill
  7. Transformation drill
  8. Combination drill
  9. Split up drill
  10. Response drill
  11. Question answer drill
  12. Odd man out 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 that lesson. Build up drill provides the learners with ample opportunities to practice 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 selection restriction 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 practice 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. Odd man out drill practices the identification of the members of a specific category. Integration drill trains the learners to conjoin sentences to form a single sentence which could be a simple, or a complex sentence. When the resultant sentence is a simple sentence, the process of combination takes place by deletion of some items in anyone of the sentences. 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 practiced 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 of different types, testing the learning of various elements of grammatical features from sandhi to formation of sentences that make up a conversation. Types of exercises included in this book can be summarised as below:

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