The Central Institute of Indian Languages has reached 25 years of age and it is a time
for reflection about its origin, development, achievements and shortfalls.
The study of Indian language with the objective of preparing them for the new roles
of national reconstruction and development was the concern of many from the
independence of the country. The major responsibility to support such a study was to be
taken up by the State. The Kher Commission of the Government of India recommended
the establishment of three Central Institutes for this purpose. The Official Language
Resolution of 1968 made the Central Government also responsible for the development of
all Indian languages in addition to Hindi. These and other developments led to the
establishment of Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) in Mysore on July 17, 1969.
The primary objective of the Institute is the development of Indian languages ensuring
coordination between the various developmental activities at the governmental and non
governmental levels and also by orienting linguistic research for the development of Indian
languages. The Institute is also to contribute towards the maintenance of multilingualism
of the country through language teaching, and translation and to strengthen the common
bond between the Indian languages.
The work of the Institute consists of research, training and production of teaching
materials. The results of these activities can be seen in its more than 300 publications and
6879 teachers trained in its Regional Language Centres. The Institute has been able to make
an impact in language teaching in schools making it skill based and function oriented. It
has brought audio visual and computed technology to aid the teaching of Indian languages.
It has helped many tribal languages to be codified, described and used in education. Its
research and training programmes in social, physiological and folkloristic aspects of
language and culture have introduced new dimensions to research on Indian languages.
The International Institutes organised by the Institute in sociolinguistics, semiotics,
phonetics and other areas have helped the development of human resource in these areas.
The major problem of the Institute is that it cannot meet all language needs of the
whole country. It has to play the role of a catalyst and model setter. The other agencies are
to take over the universal implementation of the innovations. This has not taken place to
the desired extent.
In the coming years, the Institute plans to consolidate the earlier work and expand
the work in the areas of translation, computer applications and production of audio visual
materials. It wishes to strike new grounds in language evaluation and storage and
dissemination of language information. The Institute will move into anew Campus to carry
on the work with new vigour and vision.
One part of the Silver Jubilee Celebration is the publication of 25 special volumes.
The present book is one of these volumes.
There is a need for instruments in evaluation of reading in the language Kannada. It is
important to differentiate good readers from poor réaders. Identifying poor readers should
depend on the criteria of factors which contribute to normal skilled reading. Diagnosing the
areas of strengths and weaknesses in reading will lead to the therapeutic work among poor
readers. This study concerns building a framework for testing Kannada reading based on the
criteria of certain factors that research has identified as important for reading.
Speech and language are universal. Difficulties in reading also seem universal. The
claim that some orthographies are better than others and that orthographies are the
determining features for the incidence of reading difficulties across cultures has been
questioned (Stevenson, Stigler, Lucker, and Lee, 1982). However it is also known that
orthographic variations affect cerebral processing, memory functions, problem solving
Strategies, and pathways for lexical access (Tzeng and Hung, 1981). Tzeng and Hung (1981)
State that the "Human information processing system has been found to depend on written
language to the extent that it happens to use the machinery of that particular communicative
system" (p 253). Whatever the nature of difficulties, some children, in every language that
is written, have problems in reading or acquiring the ability to read.
1. Reading Difficulties in India
Thorndike (1973) in a survey of 15 countries on reading comprehension has shown
that children in India were the poorest readers. Oomen (1973) points out that to a great extent
school failure in India is probably due to poor reading achievement. However there are many
other important factors such as socioeconomic considerations Which may be highly
contributory to the school failures apart from the reading disability. There are no formal
provisions for children who fail in reading. Those children who fail are retained in the same
grade until they show improvement.
2. Reading Difficulties in Dravidian Languages
Indo-Aryan languages (Hindi and others) are spoken in the northern part of India.
Dravidian languages are spoken in the southern part of India. There are four major Dravidian
languages which are written: Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. Of these languages, Kannada and Telugu have highly phonetically regular scripts. A study by Aaron (1982)
recorded the difficulties in reading of Tamil children. Aaron stated that about 10% of
children have difficulties in reading. Although children reading or learning to read Kannada
have been observed to have difficulties, no studies on reading difficulties have been
conducted. The present Study concerns the language Kannada.
3. The Language Kannada
Kannada is one of the major Dravidian languages spoken and written in south India,
Spoken by 15 million people. The language has written history dating 500 A.D. Two major
dialects, northern and southern, have been found. However, the literary from used in
literature, newspapers, and writing is relatively uniform throughout the north and south
Kannada dialect speaking areas (Nayak, 1967).
Kannada is a highly inflected language, that is, a verb in a sentence also carries the :
forms of tense, gender and singularity/plurality. For example,
hoguttiddale ‘she is going’
1. hogu ‘go’
2. hogu + utta ‘going’
3. ir ‘tobe’ +ale ‘sheis’ = iddale
4. hogutta + iddale = hoguttiddale ‘she is going’
The script is also syllabic. Thus the word hoguttiddale is written in five units: ho gu tti
dda le. Written in Kannada it looks. In similar ways there are derivations and
suffixes which render the word order in sentences to less restriction. The word when chan geu
does not change the meaning. For example,
avalu manege hoguttiddale = she home to is going (feminine), ‘she is going home.
The alternative arrangements do not change the meaning.
avalu hoguttiddale manege
manege avalu hoguitiddale
hoguttiddale avalu manege
hoguttiddale manege avalu
manege hoguttiddale avalu
The alternative arrangements are used to help stress the intended part of the message,
The intonation pattern of Kannada is said to emphasize the first syllable of the utterance.
Words and utterances in Kannada always end with vowels. Unless specially Called for
even the borrowed English words like, bus, school, etc., are modified to end with vowels.
4, Reading in Kannada
As indicated earlier, writing across dialects is similar. However, there is a differene
between the colloquial and literary Kannada. The spoken form has more variants than the
literary from, more consonant Clusters occur in spoken Kannada than in written form (Nayak,
1967). There is also a trend to write in the colloquial form.
The population speaking Kannada constitute the political state Karnataka. Karnataka
has a uniform school system. Children enter school after the age of five and a half years.
Preprimary education is not a norm though it Occurs in urban areas. Thus a child entering
school at first grade does not necessarily know the alphabet. For two decades the teaching
method has been the "whole word method’. But as Oomen (1973) points out, the change
of method is in name only and children are invariably taught using a synthetic approach.
Reading is always silent reading is nonexistent in the Primary grades.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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