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Thomas Stephens Konkkni Kendr

Thomas Stephens Konkkni Kendr

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Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr (TSKK) is a Jesuit-run research-institute working on issues related to the Konkani language
Konkani language
KonkaniKonkani is a name given to a group of several cognate dialects spoken along the narrow strip of land called Konkan, on the west coast of India. This is, however, somewhat an over-generalisation. Geographically, Konkan is defined roughly as the area between the river Damanganga to the north...

, literature, culture and education. It is based in Alto Porvorim, on the outskirts of the state capital of Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

, India.

Aim


The TSKK says it "is devoted to the promotion of education and research in the Konknni language, literature and culture". It was registered under the Societies Registration Act in 1982 and first functioned from 1986 at the locality of Miramar
Miramar, Panaji
Miramar is a place in Panaji city in the state of Goa, India. It is the nearest beach to the Goan capital and unarguably the most visited beach of Goa. Hordes of people, mostly tourists, are found every day flocking to this beach...

, before its current premises was built. It is located alongside the also Jesuit-run Xavier Centre of Historical Research
Xavier Centre of Historical Research
The Xavier Centre of Historical Research is a Jesuit-run history research centre located in Alto Porvorim, Goa in India. It was founded in the late 1970s and its first director was Teotonio R. de Souza...

.

Current status, and name


TSKK is a Society registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act of 1860. From June 1999, it has been recognized by the Goa University
Goa University
Goa University was established in 1985 and merged with the Centre for Post Graduate Instruction and Research of the University of Bombay that functioned at state-capital Panaji or Panjim. Goa University offers both graduate and post-graduate studies and research programmes...

 as a Konknni research institute.

This institution gets its name from the sixteenth-century English Jesuit priest, Thomas Stephens (1549-1619), a linguist and Marathi poet. Stephens came to Goa, then a Portuguese colony, on October 24, 1579. According to the institution, Stephens learned the Konknni and Marathi languages and wrote in them. He produced the first grammar to be produced in an Indian language, in Konknni printed in 1622. Stephens died in Goa in 1619.

Research bulletin



One of the activities of the TSKK is the publication of a research bulletin called Sod. This journal is edited, produced and published as part of TSKK's "research efforts ... devoted to the promotion of education and research in (the) Konknni language, literature and culture". It's articles are a mix of Konknni written in Devanagari-script, the Roman (Romi) script
Konkani in the Roman script
Konkani is a language that is spoken by 3.6 million speakers mostly on the western coast of the Indian states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. Konkani is written in five scripts – Devanagari, Roman, Kannada, Malayalam and Perso-Arabic. Of these, the Roman script has the oldest preserved ...

, and occasionally in English too.

Issue No 10 of April 2006 contains the following articles:
  • Konkani Myths: Pratap Naik SJ
  • Social damage done by Goa's language controversy and (the) conspiracy behind it. Ramnath G Naik
  • Roman script, the soul of Konknni. Nelson Lopes.
  • Socio-economic growth of the Goan community through the Konkani language. Tomazinho Cardozo
  • Roman script for Konkani, a must: now or never. Godfrey Gonsalves.
  • Script controversy. Eduardo Faleiro.
  • A response to "Konknni Myths". Alito Siqueira.
  • Scripting controversy: debating the war of the Konknnis. Jason Keith Fernandes.
  • An attempt to understand Konknni language assertion movement. Sammit Khandeparkar.
  • Mother tongue blues. Madhavi Sardesai.
  • Konkani versus scripts. Matthew Almeida, SJ
  • The African, Portuguese, Kannada, Marathi, Malvani, Hindi and English influences on the hybridized Siddi-Konkani dialect. Geralda de Lima Angenot
  • English medium primary education for better future. Cypriano Lopes.
  • Response to "English medium primary education for better future'> Joe F Vaz.


Generally Sod issues are priced at Rs 50 each (in Goa).

Courses in Konkani, etc


TSKK also offers courses in the Konknni language, and on project methodology for researchers, and study methodology for students. Currently (September 2006), the TSKK is working on language-teaching books for adults and children to learn Konkani (in the Romi or Roman script).

Management and location


Earlier, this institute was headed by Fr Mathew Almeida, sj who has been succeeded by Fr Pratap Naik sj.

Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr is located at B.B.Borkar Road, Alto Porvorim, Goa (India) 403 521.

Publications


TSKK has come out with a number of publications in the Konknni language, or in languages like English introducing themes related to Konknni, which is India's smallest language, spoken mainly along the west coast of this country.
Some of its publication include a 1988 guide to writing Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 script Konknni (20 pp, then priced at Rs 3, now out of print), A Description of Konknni by Matthew Almeida, sj (1989), Teacher's and Parent's Manual (1996, pp 150)by Pratap Naik,S.J., TSKK Konknni Basic Course (Matthew Almeida, SJ, 1991), Tisvaddeacheo Igorzo (Moreno de Souza
Moreno de Souza
Father Moreno de Souza was a Goan Jesuit priest. He was also a famous Konkani Marian poet, Konkani writer, translator and a historian...

, SJ, 1994, on the churches of the sub-district of Tiswadi
Tiswadi
Tiswadi is a taluka of North Goa district of the state of Goa, India.The word Tiswadi itself means thirty settlements. It refers to the thirty settlements in which the Goud Saraswat Brahmins settled when they migrated to Goa. It is geographically an Island with the Mandovi river forming its...

 in Goa), TSKK Romi Lipi (TSKK's orthography for Roman-script Konknni by Pratap Naik, SJ 2005 pp 52).

In addition it has also brought out five cassettes and CDs, of Konknni music containing devotional songs and nursery rhymes and children's songs.

TSKK's plant collection


Jesuit priest Pratap Naik sj
Pratap Naik sj
Fr. Pratap Naik, S.J., is a Jesuit priest from Goa, India. He is currently the director of the Thomas Stephens Konkkni Kendr , a research institute working on issues related to the Konkani language, literature, culture and education...

, director of the TSKK currently, has been building a collection of over 328 trees and plants, all in the yard of a research institution studying the local Konknni language. Naik argues that the culture of a place is reflected "not only" in its language, but also in its flora -- apart from its fauna, architecture, food habits and dress.

He has been quoted saying that he wants to grow one of every fruit-bearing tree that grows in Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 which is rich in plant diversity. This richness is thanks in significant part to plant exchanges by the former rulers who centuries back controlled international seaways and had an empire straddling the continents.

Many months of hard work has seen Naik piece together a well-maintained and neatly-labelled botanical garden. Visible are the local names in Konknni, the botanical names, their English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 names. Elsewhere, he keeps a list of the original native countries of these Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

-adopted plants.

Among the collection are the ainno madd (the Fan Palm in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, or Livistona rotundifolia
Livistona rotundifolia
Livistona rotundifolia is a round-leaf fountain palm found in Southeast Asia. It is a member of the genus Livistona. It is also called Footstool palm and Anáhaw . It is the unofficial national leaf of the Philippines....

 as it's known by its botanical name). It comes from tropical America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. There's the ambaddo, dismissively perhaps called the hog-plum
Spondias
Spondias is a genus of flowering plants in the cashew family, Anacardiaceae. The genus consists of 17 described species, 7 of which are native to the Neotropics and about 10 are native to tropical Asia...

 that traces its origins to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 itself. The ambor (mulberry
Mulberry
Morus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Moraceae. The 10–16 species of deciduous trees it contains are commonly known as Mulberries....

, or Morus alba) has Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 origins. Kalljirem (black cumin
Black cumin
Black cumin can refer to the seeds of either of two quite different plants, both of which are used as spices:* Bunium persicum, similar to caraway in shape* Nigella sativa, also called kalonji or nigella. More common in the West...

, Nigella sativa
Nigella sativa
Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant, native to south and southwest Asia. It grows to tall, with finely divided, linear leaves. The flowers are delicate, and usually coloured pale blue and white, with five to ten petals. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of three to seven...

) is again of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n origin.

Kiraitem (canscora
Canscora
Canscora is a plant genus in the familia Gentianaceae....

 in English, or Canscora decussata) is from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, but the zaifoll (nutmeg
Nutmeg
The nutmeg tree is any of several species of trees in genus Myristica. The most important commercial species is Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas of Indonesia...

, Mystica fragans) comes from the Moluccas, the so-called Spice Islands
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

 of past centuries, in the Far East
Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

. Gozgo (the fever nut or Caesalpinia bonduc
Caesalpinia bonduc
Caesalpinia bonduc, commonly known as Gray Nicker, is a species of flowering plant in the pea family, Fabaceae, that has a pantropical distribution. It is a vine-like shrub that reaches a length of and scrambles over other vegetation. Stems are covered in curved spines...

) is, again, of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n origin.

Naik says he has already found the names of 325 species from among the 329 he planted. "Some don't have names in Konknni (the local language)," he is quoted as saying, obviously because of their exotic origins.

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