writing a pedagogically-oriented manual for learning a language, it is claimed
that an author generally has a specific type of consumer in mind. These
consumers are defined, for example, according to their age group or first
language identification, or in t.mp3s of their goals for specialization in a
particular second language. If one is guided by the latter category in planning
a textbook, such a textbook is t.mp3ed a "register-oriented" textbook.
However, the producer of pedagogically-oriented materials soon learns that a
pedagogue's partiality for particular types of language learning materials is a
very personal matter. It is like one's preference for a particular vintage of
wine or a pinch of special spice in a curry. Perhaps that explains why there
still is no agreement on a theory of materials production. This may also
be the reason that there is not a generally acceptable theory of
mother-tongue or second language teaching. It is, therefore, not surprising that
even now the following words of Henry Sweet, written in 1899, continue to be
In fact, things are altogether
unsettled both as regards methods and textbooks. This is a good sign: it
gives a promise of survival of the fittest. Anything is better than artificial
unif.mp3ity enforced from without. (The Practical Study of Languages: A
Guide for Teachers and Learners, [London, Dent, 1899], p. 3)
There are innumerable manuals and
textbooks for teaching of western languages (e.g., English), yet, the urge to
produce more -- both for the western and non-western consumer -- is unlimited.
One reason for this ever increasing production of textbooks is that every
intelligent teacher and student has his own ideas of what makes an ideal
textbook. (If there is a general agreement on a textbook, that is an
accomplishment for the author.) Thus, the field of textbook writing continues to
be very individualistic.
The tentative and exaggerated
nature of contemporary theories, methods and techniques of textbook writing has
not helped the situation. It seems to us that the primary reason for this state
of the art is that we still have not gained meaningful answers to the basic
theoretical and applied questions which are relevant to the textbook writing.
For example, there are such questions as: What are the processes which are
involved in the first (or second) language acquisition? or, What are the
theoretical prerequisites for producing a satisfactory textbook for various
types of learners?
We started with the above
digression in order to point out that this manual has been produced for that
consumer who is primarily interested in learning the Kashmiri language as a tool
of cultural interaction in typically Kashmiri situations. The age group, the
individuals specialization, or the learner's particular first language, did not
play a serious role in the planning. The book is, however, written for the non-Kashmiris
who are not familiar with either the Kashmiri language or the distinct culture
of the Kashmiris.
In teaching the western languages,
a teacher and a learner has, at least, a wide choice in selection of the
materials, since the tradition of the textbook writing in these languages is
very old. The situation in the teaching materials for the non-western languages,
especially those of South Asia, is very discouraging, in t.mp3s of both their
quality and their availability. Among the non-western languages, Kashmiri
presents a unique problem: there are practically no teaching materials available
for this language. This manual is, therefore, the first attempt to initiate
pedagogical material for it.
This book has been written with a
very modest goal in mind: that of presenting the language materials for Kashmiri
in Kashmiri cultural settings. We have not attempted to present a new
approach to the teaching of a non-western language, far from it. If any such
approach emerges out of this book, that is unintentional. The general
organization of this book has been discussed in the section entitled "Notes
on the plan of this manual."
The lack of any previous tradition
of pedagogical materials for Kashmiri--for learning it as a first or second
language--has made the author's job particularly difficult. In Kashmir where
Kashmiri is natively spoken by about two million people, Kashmiri has not
attained any serious status in the educational system of the state. It is the
only state in India in which a non-native language has been recognized by the
legislature of the state as the state language.
This manual may be used either for
classroom teaching or for those wanting a self-instructional course. In the
bibliography we have included a list of the supplementary materials which a
teacher and/or a learner might find useful. An Introduction to Spoken
Kashmiri has developed out of an ongoing research project on the Kashmiri
language at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We are circulating
this preliminary edition to interested scholars in Kashmir and elsewhere, with
the hope that their comments will help us in revising it in order to provide a
better manual in the future. These materials have all the limitations and
inadequacies which such language materials have that have not been tried for a
prolonged period in the actual classroom situation. We propose to use this
manual at the University of Illinois in a course entitled "Introduction to
Kashmiri" to be offered in the Summer 1973. We will be pleased if this
manual initiates interest in the teaching and research in Kashmiri in Kashmir
and elsewhere; subhastu te panthanah santu.
BRAJ B. KACHRU