Grammar as unlocking our Pasts | Humanities & Social Sciences

Grammar as unlocking our Pasts

Tuesday Seminar
Tanmoy Bhattacharya
Date and Time: 
Tue, 02/04/2024 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
03:30 PM to 05:00 PM
Committee Room (MS-611) Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, 5th Floor, Main Building, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.


Grammar as unlocking our pasts
Two cases will be taken up to show that our present is highly fractured:
(i) The puzzle of a Dravidian-Tibeto-Burman axis in terms of grammatical
structures with the exclusion of the Indo-Aryan group, although these
are probably the only two groups which were never in contact, as per all
existing accounts; and (ii) a surprising case of sharing of a robust and
complex grammatical feature between three different language groups
(Central Magadhan or "Bihari", Munda/ Austroasiatic, and Tibeto-Burman)
in the foothills of the Himalayas (and a bit beyond, but definitely
within the expected migratory corridor) that conspire to construe a
linguistic area or a _Sprachbund_ in the region. Finally, and time
permitting, it will be shown that this striking similarity across the
three different groups however is even more surprisingly lacking in the
“inner” T-B languages like Manipuri and the Naga languages. What
mysterious promiscuity in the past do these languages share?

Speaker Bio:

Tanmoy Bhattacharya is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University
of Delhi in India. He has held research & academic positions at School of Oriental
and African Studies (University of London), Universität Leipzig (Germany),
University College London, Massey University (New Zealand), M. S. University
(Baroda), and University of Hyderabad. In the domain of syntax, he has carried out
extensive and original research on topics such as NP structures, WH-constructions,
superiority, sluicing, clause-internal complementizers and polar questions in a
number of Indo-Aryan and Tibeto-Burman languages. His most recent work has been on
the topic of agreement in which he has brought to the fore the importance of many
languages of Bihar (for example, Maithili, Magahi and Angika, among others),
Jharkahand, Odisha (languages such as Santali, Kurmali), Mizoram (namely, Mara) and
Nepal (viz. Bantawa) in forming a sprachbund of multiple agreement comprising a
vast chunk of the Himalayan foothills, the East, and Northeast of India.
He has been the member-convener of an UGC Committee on Disability and Higher
Education and the Coordinator of the Equal Opportunity Cell, University of Delhi.
He is currently the Chairperson, Expert Committee on development of training program
on Indian Sign Language, Rehabilitation Council India (RCI).
Apart from 87 journal papers/ book chapters, Prof. Bhattacharya has been the editor/
co-editor of four books published from Mouton, John Benjamins and Orient Blackswan.
He has delivered 220 invited/ conference talks till date at different conferences/
events. He has been the chief editor of Indian Linguistics (2015-2017) and is an
Associate Editor of Linguistic Variation, published from John Benjamins Publishing,
and is Chief Editor of the journal Indian Journal of Critical Disability Studies.