Anvita Abbi

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Anvita Abbi
Anvita Abbi.jpg
Born (1949-01-09) 9 January 1949 (age 71)
Agra, India
OccupationScholar and linguist
AwardsPadma Shri
Rashtriya Lok Bhasha Sammaan
All India Institute of Advanced Study Fellowship
Gold Medal - Delhi University
SOAS Leverhume Professor
Max Planck Institute Visiting Scientist/> Kenneth Hale Award - Linguistic Society of America (2015)
Websitewww.andamanese.net

Professor Anvita Abbi (born 9 January 1949) is an Indian linguist and scholar of minority languages, known for her studies on tribal languages and other minority languages of South Asia.[1] The Government of India honoured her, in 2013, by awarding her the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, for her contributions to the field of linguistics.[2]

Biography[edit]

Anvita Abbi was born on 9 January 1949, in Agra,[3][4] the land of Taj Mahal, in family that had produced a number of Hindi writers.[5] After schooling at local institutions, Anvita graduated in Economics (BA Hons) from the University of Delhi in 1968.[3][4] Subsequently, she secured a master's degree (MA) in Linguistics from the same University with first division and first rank in 1970[3][4] and continued her studies to obtain a PhD from the Cornell University, Ithaca, USA, in 1975,[6] her major for the doctoral studies being General Linguistics and the minor in South Asian Linguistics.[3][4] she worked as Professor of Linguistics at Centre for Linguistics, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies.[7] Abbi lives in New Delhi, at the Dakshinapuram campus of JNU.[3][4]

Legacy[edit]

Great Andamanese couple - an 1876 photograph

Anvita Abbi is credited with extensive research on the six language families in India[7] and the languages and culture of the Great Andamanese[8] which she did as a part of the Endangered Languages Documentation Project (ELDP) project on Vanishing Voices of the Great Andamanese (VOGA),[9][10] SOAS, University of London.[11] Her studies of 2003-2004 have helped in identifying the distinct characteristics of two Great Andamanese languages, Jarawa and Onge which promoted the concept of a sixth language family of India.[8][12] Later researches on Andamanese people by other scholars have reported to have confirmed her Professor Abbi's findings by discovering two distinct haplogroups of the region, viz. M31 and M32.[7]

She resumed her research on the topic in 2006, concentrating on the morpho-syntax and lexicon of three dying languages of Andaman Islands and is reported to have unearthed the evidences proving that Great Andamenese belongs to a linguistically different language family.[3][4][12] She has brought also out an English-Great Andamanese-Hindi Dictionary.[13] Her current project covers the grammar and the evolution of Great Andamanese languages and its people.[3][4][7]

A teacher at the JNU, Abbi has assisted 20 PhD and 29 MPhil students in their researches.[3][4][7]

Positions[edit]

Abbi has held many positions of importance, both at administrative and academic levels. Current position: Director, Center of Oral and Tribal Literature Sahtiya Akademi, New Delhi India. Adjunct Professor, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada and the President of the Linguistic society of India. [14] She has served as an advisor to institutions such as UNESCO (since 2002) and Sahitya Akademi. She is also a life member of the Linguistic Society of India at their Dravidian Linguistics Association wing and has also sat on the editorial board of two journals, Indian Linguistics (1991–95) and the International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics[15] (1992–96).[3][4][14]

The list of academic and organizational responsibilities Professor Anvita Abbi has carried out may be listed as:[3][4][14]

  • Chairperson, Centre of Linguistics and English, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi - 1995-97 and since 2007
  • Proctor - Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Member of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Review Committee- 1996
  • Member - Advisory Committee - Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore - Ministry of Human Resource Development, India - 1996 & 1999
  • Member - Advisory Board - Sahitya Akademi for Bhasha Samman awards in Tribal and Lesser known languages - since 2002
  • Advisor - Linguapax Institute, UNESCO, since 2000
  • Member - Board of Directors - Terralingua, Washington DC, USA - 1998, 2001-2004 and 2004-2006.
  • Member - Review Committee - Dravidian University, Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh - 2006
  • External member - Centre of German Studies - Jawaharlal Nehru University - 1990-2002
  • External member - Centre of East Asian Studies - Jawaharlal Nehru University - 1990-2002
  • External member - Centre of French studies - Jawaharlal Nehru University - 1990-2002
  • Member - Governing body - Daulat Ram College - 1995-2001
  • Member - Advisory Board - International University of Hindi, Wardha - 1998-2000
  • External Member - Faculty of Arts, University of Delhi, Delhi - 1995-2000
  • Member - Bifurcation Committee - Centre of Afro-Asian Studies
  • Member - Academic Council - Jawaharlal Nehru University - 1995-1997
  • Member - Telecommunication Committee - Jawaharlal Nehru University - 1995-1996
  • Member - Equivalence Committee - Jawaharlal Nehru University - 1986-1988
  • President - Music Society - Jawaharlal Nehru University - 1982-1986
  • Advisor - Konkani Survey - Konkani Academy, Goa - 1991-1992
  • Advisor - Post Graduate Hindi Linguistics Courses - University of Delhi - 1991-1992
  • Director - South Asia Media Centre - Kansas State University, Kansas - 1975-76
  • Member - Advisory Board - Sahitya Akademi for (Classical Language selection)

Professional assignments and memberships[edit]

Abbi has been invited by several universities around the world as visiting professor.[16] She has taught at the following universities:[3][4][16]

Anvita Abbi, an honorary life member of the Linguistic Society of America[6] and the Dravidian Linguistics Association,[3][4][14] sits on the Advisory Board of Terralingua and the UNESCO.[6][7] She has also served as a Director Board member of Terralingua during 1998-2008.[6]

Lectures[edit]

Anvita Abbi has presented papers and delivered keynote addresses at various platforms and at many institutions of repute.[3][4][7] A random selection of her lectures are:

Venue Date Topic Country
Cairns Institute, James Cook University 8 November 2010 The endangered languages of the Andaman Islands: Reconstructing the knowledge-base of the Pre Neolithic tribes of India[3][4][7] Australia
Cairns Institute, James Cook University 11 January 2011 Semantics of inalienability and grammaticalization of body part terms in Great Andamanese[3][4][7] Australia
Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology 18 September 2010 In search of language contact between Jarawa and Aka-Bea: the languages of South Andaman[3][4][7] Germany
University of Würzburg 1 July 2010 Contact language in Northeast India[3][4][7] Germany
University of Oslo 23 September 2010 Hindi as a contact language of India[3][4][7] Norway

Publications[edit]

Anvita Abbi is credited with 19 books, authored, coauthored and edited.[3][4][5][17][18] Her writings cover the typology, structures and ethno linguistic aspects of languages and their documentation.[7] Her work spanned the entire Indian subcontinent[19] and the most known among her works is her project, Vanishing Voices of the Great Andamanese.[3][4][5][9]

  • Endangered Languages of the Andaman Islands[20]
  • A Manual of Linguistic Fieldwork and Structures of Indian Languages[21]
  • Language Structure and Language Dynamics in South Asia (Select papers from the SALA XVIII)[22]
  • Languages of Tribal and Indigenous Peoples of India. The Ethnic Space[23]
  • Language and The State. Perspectives on the Eighth Schedule[24]
  • Semantic Universals in Indian Languages[25]
  • India as a Linguistic Area Revisited[26]
  • Reduplication in South Asian Languages. An Areal, Topological and Historical Study[27]
  • Studies in Bilingualism[28]
  • Semantic Theories and Language Teaching[29]
  • Semantic Grammar of Hindi. A Study of Reduplication[30]
  • A Dictionary of the Great Andamanese Language: English-Great Andamanese-Hindi[13]
  • A Grammar of the Great Andamanese Language. An Ethnolinguistic Study. 2013. Brill Publications. Leiden. ISBN 978-90-04-23527-4 (hardback); 978-90-04-24612-6
  • Unwritten Languages of India (edited) 2017. Sahitya Akademi Publications, Delhi. ISBN 978-81-260-5266-0

Her Hindi short story anthology, Mutthhi Bhar Pahcaan, was published in 1969.[31]

  • Mutthhi Bhar Pahcaan (A Handful of Recognition). A collection of short stories 1969. Radhakrishan Prakashan, Delhi.

Anvita Abbi has also published over 80 articles in national and international peer reviewed journals.[3][4][5] Some of her notable articles are:

  • Vanishing Voices of the Great Andamanese (VOGA)[9]
  • Universal Grammar, Language Evolution, and Documenting an Ancient Language. Language Documentation and Linguistic Theory[32]
  • Is Great Andamanese genealogically and typologically distinct from Onge and Jarawa?[33]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

Anvita Abbi has been honoured by several institutions and establishments.[7][34] She has held the position of the Visiting Scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany for three years, 200, 2003 and 2010.[6][7] She was a Leverhume Professor at the SOAS, University of London in 2011[6] and a fellow of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Cornell University, New York, USA in 1990 and a visiting fellow of the La Trobe University, Melbourne in 2003.[3][4][6][7][34] Abbi was a visiting professor at the Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Australia during 2010-2011.[6][7] Some of the other honours she has received are:

  • Rashtriya Lok Bhasha Sammaan - Gandhi Hindustani Sahitya Sabha - 2003[3][4][6][7][34]
  • Fellowship - All India Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla - 2001[3][4][34]
  • Gold Medal - Delhi University - 1970[3][4][34]

In 2013, the Government of India honoured Anvita Abbi by awarding her the civilian award of Padma Shri.[2][6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lsi" (PDF). Lsi. 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Padma 2013". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar "JNU CV" (PDF). JNU CV. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar "Andamanese CV" (PDF). Andamanese. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "JNU Profile". JNU. 2014. Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Faculty Profile". JNU. 2014. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project". Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project. 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Andamanese Intro". Andamanese. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  9. ^ a b c "Vanishing Voices of the Great Andamanese". SOAS, University of London. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Terra Lingua". Terra Lingua. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  11. ^ "ELDP". HRELP. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  12. ^ a b "JNU Research". JNU Research. 2014. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  13. ^ a b Anvita Abbi (30 October 2011). A Dictionary of the Great Andamanese Language: English-Great Andamanese-Hindi. Ratna Sagar. p. 480. ISBN 978-9350361252.
  14. ^ a b c d "JNU Positions". JNU. 2014. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  15. ^ "International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics". International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics. ISSN 0378-2484.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "JNU Memberships". JNU. 2014. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Academia". Academia. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Amazon". Amazon. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  19. ^ "JNU Publications". JNU. 2014. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  20. ^ Anvita Abbi (1 January 2006). Endangered Languages of the Andaman Islands. Lincom Europa. p. 117. ISBN 978-3895868665.
  21. ^ Anvita Abbi (1 January 2001). A Manual of Linguistic Fieldwork and Structures of Indian Languages. Lincom Europa. ISBN 978-3895864018.
  22. ^ Anvita Abbi; R.S. Gupta; Ayesha Kidwai; R. S. Gupta; Ayesha Kidwai (1 January 2001). Language Structure and Language Dynamics in South Asia. p. 432. ISBN 978-8120817654.
  23. ^ Anvita Abbi (1 July 1997). Languages of Tribal and Indigenous Peoples of India. The Ethnic Space. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 508. ISBN 978-8120813748.
  24. ^ R.S. Gupta; Anvita Abbi; Kailash S. Aggarwal (1995). Language and The State. Perspectives on the Eighth Schedule. Creative Books. p. 225. ISBN 8186318208. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  25. ^ Anvita Abbi (1994). Semantic Universals in Indian Languages. Indian Institute of Advanced Study. p. 113. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  26. ^ Anvita Abbi (1991). India as a Linguistic Area Revisited. Pergamon Press. OCLC 470322193.
  27. ^ Anvita Abbi (1991). Reduplication in South Asian Languages. An Areal, Topological and Historical Study. New Delhi: Allied.
  28. ^ Anvita Abbi (1986). Studies in Bilingualism. Bahri Publications. ASIN B002A9P3A6.
  29. ^ Anvita Abbi (1986). Semantic Theories and Language Teaching. Allied. ISBN 9788170230809. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  30. ^ Anvita Abbi (1980). Semantic Grammar of Hindi. A Study of Reduplication. Bahri Publications. ISBN 978-8170340201.
  31. ^ "Short Story". EDU Libs. 2014. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  32. ^ Anvita Abbi (2011). "Universal Grammar, Language Evolution, and Documenting an Ancient Language". Proceedings of Conference on Language Documentation and Linguistic Theory. 3. SOAS. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  33. ^ Anvita Abbi (2009). "Is Great Andamanese genealogically and typologically distinct from Onge and Jarawa?". Language Sciences. 31 (6): 791–812. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2008.02.002.
  34. ^ a b c d e "JNU awards". JNU. 2014. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]