Freshman Seminar

Course Outline


Topics to be Discussed and Approximate Schedule: (Subject to revision)

Lecture 1. Ground Rules, Expectations, Goals, Your responsibilities

  • An Introduction to India, its languages and its culture as defined by its languages
  • The Language Map of the world (HTML)
  • Languages of the World and Indo-European and Dravidian language families
  • Language Families (bit map) of the Indian subcontinent
  • States and Languages of Indian sub-continent (bit map)
  • Language as an identity marker
  • German as the national language of the USA?
  • Political consequences of the language divides
  • Administrative divisions of India based on Language
  • Language Wars in India and Linguistic Division of India
  • Introducing Telugu script - Vowels(HTML) and pronunciation – Commit these to memory
  • Transliteration of Telugu in Roman script using Rice University's Inverse Transliteration (RIT)
  • Reading Assignment 1: An Introduction to Telugu(HTML) (20 minutes to read)

Lecture 2. Introduction to Indian Literature

  • Vedic period: vE-dAs, u-pa-ni-shads, pu-rA-NAs (vE-dic language is very similar to Sanskrit)
  • Epic period: rA-mA-ya-Na,  ma-hA-bhA-ra-ta, bha-ga-vad-gI-ta (Sanskrit)
  • Classical period: Primarily Sanskrit
  • Pre-modern period: Primarily translations from Sanskrit to regional languages
  • Modern Period: Moghal/Muslim period and the British period
  • Post-Modern: Women's movement, upliftment of downtrodden classes, etc.
  • Reading Assignment 2: Synopsis of the story of Mahabharata(60 minutes to read)

Lecture 3. Comparison of Telugu with other (Indian) languages

  • Collect HW#1. Discussion on Reading assignment and HW assignment. Every student will be asked to say aloud the vowels
  • Introducing Telugu script – Consonants (HTML) - Commit these to memory
  • Scientific (Linguistic, phonetic) basis for the arrangement of the letters of the alphabet in Indian languages
  • Commonality of sounds and diversity of shapes in Indian alphabets
  • Comparison of Telugu script with Sanskrit, (HTML) Hindi and Tamil (HTML) scripts
  • Comparison of Telugu with English
  • Comparison of Indian langauges with European languages
  • Homework Assignment 2:  Memorize the sounds of the Telugu  consonant-vowel combinations. The easiest way to do this is to memorize them in the same order they are presented in the class. Practice saying aloud the vowels and consonants and commit them to memory. Write down the consonant-vowel combinations in RIT from memory (Due a week from today) – I will make you recall these sounds in the class.

Lecture 4. Narrative summary of mahAbharata epic

Lecture 5. Introduction to spoken Telugu and Pronunciation Guidelines

  • "Collect HW#2". Students will be asked to recite the vowels and consonants
  • Secondary forms of Vowels (HTML)
  • Combining Consonants  with Vowels– CV Combinations (HTML)
  • Word formation
  • Influence of Sanskrit on Telugu alphabet, vocabulary and grammar
  • Suffixes, prefixes and creation of new words
  • Influence of English on Telugu vocabulary and grammar
  • Pronunciation of Telugu and Sanskrit words and pharses
  • Common mistakes made by Westerners

Lecture 6. Discussion on ma-hA-bhA-ra-ta

  • Concept of Dharma (personal dahrma and social dharma)
  • Polygamy and polyandry in Mahabharata time

Lecture 7. Building Vocabulary

Lecture 8. Narrative summary of rA-mA-ya-Na epic

Lecture 9. Sentence formation

  • Pronouns: Various degrees of social honorifics in addressing in a social hierarchy
  • Terms of endearment
  • Relation between Language and Culture
  • Cultural concepts that are not easy to translate or explain
  • eMgili, maDi, mEnarikaM, gobbiLLu, sacredness of cows, arranged marriages, etc.

Lecture 10. Telugu Literary Wealth

  • Translations from Sanskrit
  • Epic/Religious themes
  • Simple verses – Moral verse collections
  • Satakams
  • Religious themes
  • Secular themes – Suamti Satakam and Vemana Satakam
  • Modern Telugu Originals –
  • gurajADa appAravu – kanyAsulkaM (Buying a Bride)
  • srI srI – (1910-1983) Revolutionary poet
  • calaM – (1895- 197?) Social Reformer – Women's rights
  • Telugu Fiction – an essay

Lecture 11. Travel in Telugu-speaking country

  • Building Vocabulary, Conversations
  • Buying things in the market place
  • Asking directions

Lecture 12. Telugu Music

Lecture 13. Building vocabulary, Conversations

Department of Applied
of California at Davis
Davis, CA 95616-8562

Page last modified on 4/9/2004