Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

Indian Institute of Technology Ropar

HSS Seminar

A Substantivist Treatment of Stem Allomorphy in Bangla Verbs 


 Prof. Mina Dan

October  9,, 2017 (Monday) at 3:00 PM

 Venue:  Conference Room-2


Mina Dan is professor of linguistics in the Dept. of Linguistics, University of Calcutta. She is an eminent scholar specializing in phonetics, phonology and morphology. She has written widely over the past two decades about phonology, phonetics, field methods, clinical linguistics, Bengali linguistics, psycholinguistics and language teaching. She earned  her  Ph.D  from  Deccan College, University of Poona in 1993. In 2004, she published the book Some Issues in Metrical Phonology of Bangla:  The Indigenous Research Tradition. She has fulfilled a number of key academic and administrative roles in CIIL Mysore, University of Calcutta, Linguistic Society of India and Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan.

Brief Bio-sketch of the speaker

Bangla, an Aryan language of the eastern group, generously presents stem allomorphy in its verbal sector. For example, dhɔr ~ dhor ‘catch’; bhol ~ bhul ‘forget’; dækh ~ dekh ‘see’; Sekh ~ Sikh ‘learn’; nac ~ nec ‘dance’ etc. The vowel mutation within the stem allomorphy, a basic feature of Bangla verb morphology, has always drawn the notice of the researchers. As a result, the studies in this domain have reflected the paradigm shifts in mainstream research approach.

The present paper aims to delve into the hitherto inadequately resolved issue of vowel mutation in Bangla verbs once again and propose a better solution adhering to the substantivist approach as opposed to the influential formalist approach of the generative school. The formalist approach treated the vowel mutation in verbs as a morphophonological process yielding alternations, accounted for it in terms of phonological rules and identified it more specifically as vertical vowel harmony (Sarkar 1976, 2006; Dasgupta 1982, 2003; Dan 1998, 2004). The present paper exploiting the tools of the substantivist theory (Singh 1987; Dasgupta et al 2000; Bhattacharya 2010), a latter development in the generative tradition, identifies the process of vowel mutation in the verb sector as a regular but non-automatic process yielding alternations, accordingly accounts for it in the morphological domain of the grammar with the morphological tool, viz. Word Formation Strategy and argues that the substantivist theory gains over the formalist theory by resolving the limitations of the latter more empirically. References: Bhattacharya, Shishir. 2010. Introducing Whole Word Morphology. Unpublished manuscript. Dan, Mina. 1998. Bangla Verb Morphology: The Actual Derivation. IL Vol. 59 No. 1-4. 43-79. Dan, Mina. 2004. Some Issues in Metrical Phonology of Bangla: The Indigenous Research Tradition. (e-book). www.ciil-ebooks.net CIIL. Mysore. Dasgupta, Probal. 1982. Phonology and the Bangla verb. IL. 43.1-2. 17-28. Dasgupta, Probal. 2003. Bangla. George Cardona & Dhanesh Jain (eds). The Indo-Aryan Languages. London/New York. Routledge. pp. 351-390. Dasgupta, Probal; Ford, Alan; Singh, Rajendra. 2000. After etymology: towards a substantivist linguistics. Muenchen: Lincom Europa. Sarkar, Pabitra. 1976. The Bengali Verb.

IJDL Vol. v No. 2. 274-97. Sarkar, Pabitra. 1983-84. Sarasangati, apinihiti, abhissruti, apassruti: namer punorbibecona (Vowel harmony, epenthesis, umlaut, ablaut: a reconsideration of the names). Bangla Byakaran Prasanga (in Bengali). Kolkata: Dey’s Publishing. 100-07. Singh, Rajendra. 1987. Well-formedness conditions and phonological theory. In: Wolfgang U. Dressler, Hans Luschuetzky, Oskar Pfeiffer, & John Rennison (eds.) Phonologica 1984. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 273-85.