Saturday, August 21, 2010

भाषा Beguine

While I fully realize that if I have to explain a title it means I was thinking about it too much, I think "Bhasha Beguine" is the best choice for a blog documenting my Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Nepal (the next two contenders were "Kathmandu Konundrumz" and "Luke's Log" and it only gets worse from there). Let's break it down!

Bhasha (भाषा) means 'language' in Nepali, as well as in Hindi, Sanskrit, and other related languages in South Asia.

A beguine is a dance originating from the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, a combination of Latin, French and local dances. I found different sources that claim the name comes from either a word meaning 'infatuation' or 'white person' - both seem appropriate here in the context of language.

Taken together, 'bhasha beguine' suggests 'bhasha bigyan' (भाषा विज्ञान), 'language' and 'science,' the Nepali term for 'linguistics.'

So the image here is that of a dance of languages. My main focus is teaching English, but I am also here to learn about the languages of Nepal, their politics and their communities. This is a dance of the flirtations, struggles, and liberations of languages, and the flirtations, struggles, and liberations of its speakers. I'm not a very good dancer, though, so I will be in the band, maybe playing the claves. I like claves.

So are we excited? I'm excited! Let's get started.

... only two more weeks to go ...

No comments:

Post a Comment