Sunday, January 4, 2009

Goa's Very Own 'Wren & Martin' - by Walter Menezes

I was happy to see the following article in the GT the other day. I am
posting it here for wider reading.

The book, with an uninspiring light blue cover, is really the most
useful book I have seen to date for learning to read and write Konkani
in Roman script ....specially if you are familiar with spoken Konkani
or written English or both. The English-konkani and Konkani-English
vocabulary is also very helpful. The book is available at
TSKK-Porvorim, Varsha Book stall-Panaji [near Panaji-Betim Ferry
jetty], Broadway Book store-St. Inez [opposite Caculo Ford] and St.
Paul's Book store -18 June Road, Panaji. In Margao it is available at
Rhythm House opposite Hotel Meenaxi. The book is priced just Rs.250/-

Those who do not know to speak Konkani, may find it helpful to buy a
CD that comes along with Mr.Edward D"Lima's book "Learning Konkani"
available at Singbal Book Stall, near the Church, Panaji. The pair
costs Rs.200/-

Mog asundi.


Gomantak Times, Wednesday, dated: 02/01/2008.


By: Walter Menezes
Great persons, someone said, are no different from the
rest of us. They only do things differently! On
September 29, 2007, Fr. Matthew Almeida did just that.
He celebrated his birthday differently. To a ˜sizeable
section of Goan society and a ˜great number of
Indians and foreigners who wanted to learn Konknni
without having to learn a new alphabet, Fr. Matthew
gave a precious present: ROMI LIPIENT KONKNNI KORS.
For nearly two months the book remained on my bedside
table, always staring at me.. Then one day I had to
leave for Baroda and I picked up the book, dusted its
cover and said, You are going to be my companion for
the next few days!
All through the days of the journey, the book remained
my constant companion as I leafed through the pages
and found that ROMI LIPIENT was indeed a precious
present. The amount of time, energy and midnight oil
that must have been burned by Fr. Matthew and his
"textbook team" of Fr. Pratap Naik, S.J., Joanita
D'Silva, Fr. Ave Maria Afonso and Shilpa Salvi to
complete the Konknni Course can best be summed up
thus: the book is simply outstanding!
The Konknni Course is primarily meant for beginners
and uses the Bardeshi dialect which is adopted by all
the Church publications in Goa. The graded lessons are
based on grammatical structures of Konknni. The
grammar is explained in English and there are
extensive exercises for the learner. With structural
table drills, vocabulary at the end of each lesson and
50 pages of Konknni-Inglez / English-Konknni
dictionaries, the book at once reminds you of ˜Wren &
Martin, that old classic for a generation of students
and teachers alike.
In a brief write-up in the Nov-Dec'07 issue of The
Goan Review, the magazine highlights the advantage of
Roman script being ˜universally used script and any
one who wishes to learn Konknni can make use of this
book. This could well be the reason for ‘an
enthusiastic response that the book has stirred up.
According to Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr Report
2007, the publishers received ˜pre-publication orders
coming in from all over the world.
The course uses all the letters of the Roman alphabet
except q and w and an additional symbol â called
tilde or til with a or o to give the accurate Konknni
nasal sounds, e.g. pay (foot), and teaches one the
typical patterns of sound, forms, words and sentences
found in Konknni.
Fr. Matthew informs us that ‘the optimum age for
language learning is from birth up to eleven to twelve
years of age. But that should not discourage anyone.
Though not written as a ˜teach-yourself-tutor", the
course, with certain adaptations, ˜can be used to
learn Konknni by oneself.
Once the introductory lessons are behind you, Fr.
Matthew takes you through everything that is so
special about Goa. In Lesson 5, the children get a
taste of ˜ambeachim kapam and˜ponnsachim sattam"
when they go to Saliganv. Up the hill, they find
˜zambllam, bhennsam, churnam ani charam" and I
couldn't but remember my own childhood days when we
went in search of such berries during the summer
˜Sobit Ghor" is another lesson that gives you an
inside view of the ancestral houses we grew up in,
complete with ˜zollvachi khomp ani dukrancho ghudd".
And with the kind of frenzied development that is
taking place all around us, we may very soon find such
houses only in history and coffee-table books.
There is a beautiful line in one of the lessons:
nisteachea nanvan mel'lim jitim zavpi ami! It means,
without fish, Goans really feel like fish out of
water. Even to read the very mention of such words
like sungttancho balchanv, sukea bangddeancho parra,
nisteachi mol ani rexiad in the book, is to leave a
tang on your tongue.
In some lessons there is sadness also. Sadness at the
way Goans are selling off their houses and properties.
At the way we celebrate our wedding receptions, where
time is always the first casualty. And sadness to find
that more and more players from Africa and Brazil are
signed by the football clubs in Goa.
Konknni uses are, ago, aga, age and the dependent
forms re, go, ga, ge. Fr. Matthew cautions us that
˜care must be taken to find out the social
acceptability of the forms to a particular group"..
Rather than run the risk of insulting some person, ˜it
is best to avoid them altogether", he suggests.
Saying numbers and fractions, too is made that much
simpler by using the old, decimal oriented practice as
in English. 23 becomes vis ani tin and 1/3 is tinantlo
ek vantto.
>From Lesson 23 onwards, if the narrator or speaker is
Hindu, Antruji dialect is used and if he is a
Catholic, Bardeshi dialect is used to prepare the
learner ˜for the real life situation in Goa.
One cannot help but notice a few slips. Xarak vortolo (page
149) should be xarant. And is dovornnem the right word
for a bus-stop?
Apart from being a basic course for learners, Fr.
Matthew Almeida's book takes the student through the
hills and houses, the customs and everything that
makes Goa truly fascinating. Like the good earth after
the first showers, the pages literally ˜smell" of the
Goan way of life as seen through the discerning eyes
of a great educationist like Fr. Matthew.
Porbim tumkam, Fr. Matthew Almeida. We eagerly look
forward to your next birthday and your next present!

Pages: 252
Price: Rs.250/-

Walter Menezes,
42, The Mustard Seed,
Cusmene, Quepem,
Goa 403 705
Mobile: 9370569296

Miguel Braganza, S1 Gracinda Apts,
Rajvaddo, Mhapsa 403507 Goa
Ph 9822982676

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