“সমাজের অভিধান লেখার ক্রমবর্ধমান অসুবিধা” [An Incessant Struggle for Writing a Societal Lexicon]

Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

দেবপ্রসাদ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়


Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay


Indian Statistical Institute

January 25, 2005

Shileendhra, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp.115-128, 2005

Abstract: 
This is a paper on the problems of writing a Bangla dictionary on societal terms. Writing a lexicon by fixing a stable meaning with compositional function to something called ‘word’ (citation form) is always a problem as the area of meaning is a slippery area and cannot escape fuzziness. Sometimes the term and its network with other terms within the imagined speech community conveys just the opposite meaning of the lemmatized term, e.g., the values ascribed to the network of some words (like the celebration of ‘fundamental truth/knowledge’ in contrast with the negation of “fundamentalism” in contrast with the fête of ‘eco-fundamentalism’; ‘black’ as in black- market /money/mail in contrast with the ‘black’ as it is used in the context of man and woman) are not the same as one of its lexical network-members. Furthermore, the order of things of the lemma always transgresses their boundary, though they (order of things in the lexical network as revealed in different components with an ultimate ‘etc.’) are considered as a ‘taking it for granted’ order and that discursive order is controlled, appropriated by the non-discursive formation of the regulative society. The technical terms, ‘society’, ‘community’, ‘nation state’, ‘civil society’ do not match with the Bengali worldviews of ‘kowm'(roughly ‘community’), ‘sOmaj'(society), ‘bOrno’ (caste), ‘jat(i)’ etc., though preconditioned by the colonial order of things, a lexicographer is striving for the matching condition. The author of this paper negates the possibility of any truth-claims regarding a ‘complete’ dictionary with ‘stable’ meaning of ‘words’ with differing as well as deferring components. The author concludes componential analysis is a futile effort with unending ‘etc.’ and this type of analysis avoids fuzziness of the lexical entry; etymology does not provide so-called ‘authentic’, ‘original’ meaning or this practice of dissecting the body of the ‘signifier’ does not lead to the body of the so-called ‘signified’; lemmatization provides tautologus information by fixing a stable meaning, though, no doubt, it struggles to connect the lexical network of a given speech community; searching for stable meaning does not consider the (dis)continuous changes and simultaneous cohabitation of diachrony in synchrony in a given society; all formal system for categorization lacks completeness – difference always pervades the identity of the term.

 

Number of Pages in PDF File: 8

Keywords: Order of things, static meaning, plural meaning, lexicography

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About Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

Debaprasad Bandyopdhyay (b. 1965), through his 25 years journey in the realm of institutionalized academics did 27 different types of works, which are someway different from the earlier paradigms or, one might say that those works are not only mere reproductions of his inherited institutionalized cultural capital or a mimicry of a colonially imposed model that leads to intellectual anorexia or rather a type falsification of earlier paradigms. However, that might be not only a lofty claim but it also hid the fact that all our information and knowledge are socially accumulated knowledge that was, it is matter of regret, posed as private property through the sign © and the wisdom is rarely available. Bandyopadhyay’s works and projects are the products of his social milieu. Bandyopadhyay is a local sub-altern public sphere academician, who avoids the technical intelligentsia (followers of Sahib’s models and they are not committed to the persons who are accommodating surplus work-time to them by performing surplus labour) or inorganic intellectuals and thus fails to be a part of academic tribe and its subsequent socialization process. Of course, that socialization process does not lead to legendary Socratic dialogue. He is also a political activist though he has not affiliated to any political parties as he was always talking about the corporatization of political parties within the money-sign-based democratic system. He is a regular participant in TV and radio talk-shows and documentary films, street-corners’ talks and International seminars on socio-political, psychological, linguistic, environmental and economic issues. He also writes editorial columns in newspapers. He is also a part of parallel academics as it is found in West Bengal’s Little Magazine Movement, though that was not counted as the part his academic pursuit by his parent institute. His parent institute justifiably does not believe in the domain of parallel academics as this unorganized sector does not directly contribute in the transactions of formal/organized print capitalist eco-enemy paper-publication. Though the dissemination of knowledge is also observed in this space of these parallel academics as all these writings in public sphere simultaneously influence the classroom-discourse and some of them are translated into English, French and Italian. Not only that, Bandyopadhyay also sought engagement with the people, who, by supplying their surplus labour, are sustaining his livelihood. Bandyopadhyay, a linguist by training and a Ph.D.-holder (1996), a junior lecturer (1999-2011) in an autonomous central government institute in India, tries his best for those from he has received and is receiving the manifestation of surplus labour by executing some self-funded projects on economic issues in West Bengal, India. Recently he has got a consolation promotion to the post of Assistant Professor. He has done following 27 research works: 1. Crippled Creativity: An inquiry into language, psyche, society: 2. VALENCY OF BANGLA VERB AND PROBLEM OF COMPOUND VERBS: 3. Archaeology of Bangla Grammar : 4. CAN COMPUTER SPEAK? 5. FUZZY LOGICAL EXPRESSION IN BANGLA : 6. FOLKLORE AND FOLK-LANGUAGE: MYTH OR REALITY? 7. HISTORICISM IN THE DISCOURSE OF BANGLA LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 8. ABHABA, ECP, DELETION AND TRACE 9. SVATVA OR MY-NESS AND ECONOMIC ENTITLEMEMT 10. TRANSLATION STUDIES 11. MASCULINITY STUDIES 12. YAYATI & BABAR COMPLEX 13. SOCIO-ECONOMIC SURVEYS IN AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRY IN WEST BENGAL 14. CONCEPT OF BODY IN INDIAN PHILOSOPHY AND ARCHITECTURE 15. THE CONCEPT OF ERROR (KHYATI) IN MAD-(WO)MEN’S LANGUAGE 16. THE CONCEPT OF PERCEPTUAL TIME AND GRAMMATICAL TIME IN BANGLA 17. BANGLA CALLIGRAPHY, LANGUAGE ART AND LINGUISTIC PEDAGOGY 18. WO(L)D SPACES: NON-EXISTENCE OF WORDS 19. ANEKANTA METHODS 20. SILENCEME: SILENT OTHER IN LINGUISTICS 21. IMAGINED BOUDARIES AND PRE-COLONIAL INDIAN IMAGI-NATION 22. MAKING OF THE INDIAN PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE 23. SEGMENTING THE SUPRASEGMENTALS : MUSICKING IN SPEAKING 24. INTERPRETING GENETIC STRUCTURE BY DEPLOYING LINGUISTIC STRUCTURE 25. GLOTTOPOLITICS OF LINGUISTIC SUBALTERNITY OR AN AGENDA FOR PLANNING FROM BELOW 26. SEMIOTICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY 27. SOCIOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY ACADEMICS
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