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Events : MAC - Initiative to revive Konkani
on 2008/9/1 20:50:00 (1375 reads)

What happens when a languages withers away and dies? When a language is no longer used to converse within the home and in the community, it ceases to develop as a means of communication. The transmission of ancestral values, life-styles, culture, traditions and recipes are sadly lost and never recovered.

Konkani speaking people migrated and flourished throughout the coastal belt of western India but in recent generations have moved further away to Ireland, England, Australia, Canada and the USA. The Konkani language is a language with no script and there has been a lot of controversy over the script that is used. For example, Konkani is written in Roman and Nagari scripts in Goa, Kannada script in Karnataka and Malayalam script in Kerala. Despite all these limitations, Konkani is a much loved and interesting language.

How can we ensure the promotion and revival of our mother tongue? What needs to be done for our language to gain acceptance and popularity among the younger generation? The Mangalorean Association of Canada accepted this challenge and proposed a 2-week spoken Konkani Beginnerís course to be held in Mississauga or Scarborough depending on the number of participants. The proposal received enthusiastic response and the session was held from August 14 to 29, 2008. 6 students registered and attended the classes held in Mississauga with great interest and a true passion to learn the language of their forefathers.

The curriculum was simple yet challenging. The students learned to count up to 25, recite prayers, memorized vocabulary ranging from colors, names of fruits, vegetables, plants, animals, gadgets as well as to use these words in sentences. Their achievements were tremendous and noteworthy as they were able to ask questions and answer them in Konkani. More importantly, they became part of a heritage and culture that was foreign to them until the classes were held. The students also wrote a script for a short Konkani play and enacted it out to extremely satisfied parents and friends. This was an incredible accomplishment that will serve as an impetus for the children to continue using the language and improving on it.

This goal and project was successful due to the hard work and dedication of the Konkani instructor, Clara Fernandes whose diligence and determination was matched by the zeal of her students. We also extend our appreciation to the parents who participated in this maiden venture and to the MAC members who initiated the project and contributed time and skills.

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