Friday, December 19, 2003

Polyglot Caroling

I'm not 100% ready for Christmas yet, but a story over at FN's Ramblings about the Goa Choral Symphony's 2003 concert sounded interesting. The group is performing carols in a variety of languages:
  • English: "Ring dem Bells," "Sing Noël," "On Christmas Night All Christians Sing," "Have You Heard," "Silent Night," "Calypso Noel," "Santastic Christmas" and "Carol of the Bells"

  • French: "D'oú viens-tu Bergère" and "Célébrons la Naissance"

  • Spanish carols: "Riu, Riu Chiu," "A la Puerta del Cielo," and "Ya Viene la Vieja"

  • Latin: "O Magnum Mystērium"

  • Hindi: "Pyari Raat" and "Naman, Naman"

  • Konkani: "Ojap Koslem Ghoddlem Aiz" and "Natalam, Natalam, Natalam"
The last language, Konkani, is the national language of Goa and part of the Indo-Aryan branch of Indo-European languages. "Natalam, Natalam, Natalam" (Christmas, Christmas, Christmas) was composed specifically for the concert by Alberto Barreto, director of the chorus.

Digging around some, I found a fair number of Konkani resources online (although most of them use Roman script), including Teach Yourself Some Konkani and the KonkaniWorld Dictionary.

Krishnanand Kamat has an interesting article about The Origins of the Konkani Language, which includes some discussion of different Konkani dialects and other nearby languages:
If one has to see the diversity of today's Konkani language, one should travel the Indian west coast. In Bombay, they speak in Marathi accent whereas in Konkan, they stretch the words so that no outsider can understand! The Hindus of Goa liberally use the Portuguese words whereas the Christians use it as if it's a Portuguese dialect. In Karwar and Ankola, they emphasize the syllables, and in Kumta-Honavar, they use consonants in abundance. The Konkani spoken by Nawayatis of Bhatkal is very melodious with smearing of Persian. People of South Kanara do not distinguish between nouns of Kannada and Konkani, and have developed a very business practical language. They sometimes add Tulu words also. The Konkani of Kerala is drenched with Malayalam, and the Konkanis of north Karnataka add Kannada verbs to Konkani grammar. The city-bred use a plenty of English. To write Konkani, Kannada, Nagari, Roman, Arabic, and Malayalam scripts are used and this way, Konkanis declare themselves as members of world family (Vishwakutumbi). There is no other language with a possible exception of Sanskrit that a language is written in so many scripts.

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