Archive for December 19th, 2006

Yeh Jo Desh Hai Tera 

December 19, 2006

Mitti ki jo khushboo, tu kaise bhoolaayega!

Whatever you say sister, there is no place like our Coorg in all the seven worlds, I tell you!

Santas go to Tadiandamol, I am feeling very, very homesick looking at all those gorgeous photos!

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Shakespeare, Sangam poetry and Sujata

December 19, 2006

According to Science Blog,

Shakespeare uses a linguistic technique known as functional shift that involves, for example using a noun to serve as a verb. Researchers found that this technique allows the brain to understand what a word means before it understands the function of the word within a sentence. This process causes a sudden peak in brain activity and forces the brain to work backwards in order to fully understand what Shakespeare is trying to say.

Link via John Hawks.

I see that this is similar to the “Mayakkam” technique that was used in Sangam poetry–unfortunately, I do not have my Collected Essays of A K Ramanujan with me to quote the relevant section. However, in Sangam poetry such shifts were related to poetics, and hence at a much deeper level; thus, unless one is aware of the rules of poetry of the Sangam period, one is apt to miss those nuances.

Of course, another modern Tamil writer, Sujata (who, surprisingly, does not seem to have a wiki page, nor a homepage) tried to introduce the concept of making verbs out of nouns into Tamil, since he felt that that would add to the flexibility of the language; one example of which is his sentence,

Avan, idli-ththu, sambar-iththu, office-inan (i.e., he Idly-ed, Sambar-ed and Office-ed–more along the lines of He telephoned!);

instead of saying, After eating Idly with Sambar, he went to the office. I am sure that such writing also caused some brain activity; but, that is more related to the novel use of language than to any problems in understanding, I believe.