A Framework for Testing Kannada Reading (On the Basis of Automaticity, Rules of Orthography and Segmental Processing)
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A Framework for Testing Kannada Reading (On the Basis of Automaticity, Rules of Orthography and Segmental Processing)

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Item Code: NAW186
Author: G. Purushothama
Publisher: Central Institute Of Indian Languages, Mysore
Language: English
Edition: 1994
ISBN: 8173420041
Pages: 96
Other Details 9.00 X 7.00 inch
Weight 170 gm
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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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