Thursday, June 09, 2011

India Week 3: Jowai

I recently got back to Shillong from Jowai, where I was gathering data on the main Pnar dialect. Jowai is the cultural and administrative centre of the Pnar community in Jiantia Hills, and I'll be focusing on learning to speak the variety of that place. I was able to connect with Ram, who is part of the Passah clan and very involved with the traditional religion. We were able to go down to the archery field where men shoot arrows at a target on a daily basis, and conduct some interviews about the origins of this event.

100_0556.JPGRam also showed me around the area - on Sunday we went to a waterfall further south of Jowai, toward Bangladesh, which was a lot of fun. The walk down was a bit slippery, but once down the water was cool and inviting. I swam up behind the waterfall and waved to Ram and his cousins on the other side. Here's me and the waterfall in all its glory.

Language data-gathering was also productive. Besides the interviews, I was able to collect a couple wordlists and a retelling of The Pear Story, following a technique used by my advisor Alec Coupe for collecting language in context to make grammatical structures easier to identify. I'll be working on translating these texts in the coming weeks and in analyzing the wordlists to acquaint myself with the phonology of Pnar.

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