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A Panjabi Phonetic Reader
THIS Reader is intended to help those wishing to acquire a colloquial knowledge of Panjabi.
The pronunciation of the language is here for the first time represented on strictly phonetic principles without regard to the affinities of the words with cognate words of other languages. This is the method recommended by our foremost language teachers, and now widely used in England in connexion with the teaching of French and other European languages. The method has the approval of the Board of Education (see Circular No. 797, a memorandum on methods of Modern Language Teaching issued in 1912, Â§Â§ 36, 37).
The system of transcription used is that of the International Phonetic Association, this being the alphabet almost universally adopted in England in those schools and colleges where languages are taught on phonetic principles. The success with which the adoption of this system has been attended in connexion with European languages is ample justification for its introduction to a language to which it is new.
The criticisms of phonetic methods by some who have had no experience of these methods render it desirable to point out that the object of phonetic transcription is not to teach the student how to form speech sounds; its object is to teach him how to use the right sound in the right place in connected speech. The formation of the isolated sounds is best learned by careful imitation coupled with a knowledge of phonetic theory (that is, a study of the positions of the organs of speech in forming the correct sounds) and the practice of suitable phonetic exercises.
Mr. Grahame Bailey's unique qualifications for writing such a reader as the present are well-known to most of those interested in the Panjabi language. But for the benefit of those who may not already have heard of his work it may be mentioned that he is one of those very rare Englishmen who can speak an Indian language exactly like a native, and that he is the author of the Northern Panjabi translation of the New Testament and joint author of the only existing Northern Panjabi grammar.
Testimony as to the accuracy, of Mr. Bailey's work is therefore needless. It may, however, interest readers to know that I had an opportunity, when in Lahore in January 1913, of testing one of his phonetic texts with some native Panjabis; the text was pronounced by them to be absolutely correct, and they expressed great astonishment when they learned that it had been prepared by an Englishman.
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