Posts Tagged ‘pedagogy’

  • One+ Language: Three+ Scripts?

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    My research and teaching is based in Hindi and Urdu.  Although arguably different spectrums of the same language, they are written in different scripts.  Hindi, which in general has more Sanskrit vocabulary  is written in a left-to-right devanagari (देवनागरी) script and Urdu, which draws more on Persian and Arabic, in a right-to-left Perso-Arabic script called nastaleeq (نستعلیق).  Both scripts are generally but not entirely phonetic.

    In a series of small projects, I have explored the possibility of creating a meta-notation that will encapsulate enough information to allow the representation both scripts, as well as phonetic transcription and diacritic-based transliteration, of any given text (http://bit.ly/cYnMCi ; http://bit.ly/krcUT3).  The overall goal of my project is to use digital technology to override the limitations of the division between these scripts/languages.  My interest is in encoding more phonetic of etymological information about texts than Unicode will allow, so that digital texts can be used for both advanced humanities research as well as for language pedagogy.

    My  particular research interest is in Urdu poetry, which is among the most prized literary genres in South Asia.  I have explored ways of building on the class-based lexer/parsers used for script conversion in order to facilitate computational prosody of Urdu poetic texts.  Urdu meter is based on length rather than stressed syllables.  Using the meta-notion therefore would allow that these popular texts could be read not only in Hindi and transliteration but also exposed as sound in time.  How can that be visualized?

  • Translating Text to Digital

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    I’ve been working on a project that translates Euripides’ Medea into Inform as a side project/experiment dealing with issues I’m researching for my dissertation (narrative theory). Various problems and questions have come up during the process, so I’d like to propose a discussion session to talk about some of them and also explore the uses (or whether there are any) of this kind of project in both research and classroom practice. Below are a number of questions/topics I could see us talking about, but not by any means an exhaustive list.

    1. Digital and the text: How does the meaning of “the text” change when moving from a purely textual format into something like Inform that not only blends text and code (a form of text itself), but also deconstructs (or perhaps, metaconstructs?) the original linear format of the work.

    2. Pedagogy: How can a tool like Inform be used with literature (like Medea) to engage students in the text? Is it useful to have them translate into a digital format? Can a digital translation of a work provide a better learning experience for students? Can it help them come to a deeper understanding or does it distract from close and/or thematic readings of the text?

    3. Narrative: How does our idea of storytelling change when we look at the same work in both a linear, textual format and a multi-linear, digital format? (There is another session on this so maybe everything under this heading will be covered there!) Can we find new insights into the text or into narrative itself through an exercise like this? On what particular aspects can a digital translation shed light?

    4. Inform: Is Inform the best choice for a project like this and/or for a pedagogical exercise? What are its strengths and weaknesses? What place should aspects of interactive fiction (like puzzles and world exploration) have in a translation from traditional text?

    5. Authorship (and Translation): How does translation, but a digital translation in particular, undermine the idea of authorship? Is it ethically problematic for a translator to take the limited world of the text and populate it for exploration and discovery?