Green learning: language grows on trees in this plot

 

Global Language Park in Pune to promote linguistic diversity
In what is certainly the first such experiment in the country, and perhaps the world, the eminent linguist Ganesh Devy plans to set up a Global Language Park ( bhasha van in Hindi) in Pune. It will be located on a one-acre plot on the premises of the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU). Conceptualised as part of the 84th PEN (Poets, Essayists, Novelists) International Congress that is under way in the city, the park will have about 80 ‘language trees.’ “Akin to the concept of a language tree in English grammar, each of the 80 trees will symbolise a major or minor language tree sprouting from the important language families. Each tree represents the languages and dialects derived from the family or parent tree,” said Dr. Devy, explaining the connection between natural trees and languages in the park. Linguists estimate that the world has more than 140 language families, each with its member-languages and dialects.
Audio tour
Set to open in January 2019, the park will have a tree-lined walkway. Each plant will be equipped with a ‘bespoke audio tour’ to aid visitors. Audio samples of songs, poems, folk tales, sayings, and jokes will be drawn from different world languages. “Visitors will be given an audio guide with a microphone akin to those in museums. During their tour of the park, when they approach each tree that identifies certain languages and dialects, they will hear commentary in the form of poetry and literary snippets stored as audio files on the device,” explained Vijay Khare, director, Savitribai Phule Pune University ’s International Centre.
“The idea is to physically represent 6,000 of the world’s spoken tongues in one space,” said Dr. Devy, who was awarded the Linguapax Prize by the United Nations in 2011. “Since it was not viable to plant 6,000 individual trees in the space allotted, we decided to plant 80 trees representing large and small family trees.”
Saplings planted
Writers from across the world, including poet-essayist Ashok Vajpeyi, Spanish poet Carles Torner and political psychologist Ashis Nandy, planted a sapling each on Friday. The Savitribai Phule Pune University will nurture the trees.
“It is an incredibly beautiful idea,” said American-Mexican author and PEN president Jennifer Clement.
Source :  https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/green-learning-language-grows-on-trees-in-this-plot/article25076151.ece

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