LANGUAGE IN INDIA

Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 6 : 8 August 2006
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.

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STRUCTURAL PREDICTABILITY OF MALAYALAM RIDDLES
T. Sreevalsan, Ph.D.


RIDDLES ARE FOUND IN EVERY LANGUAGE

Riddles are widely used in almost all the languages of the world. It is usually practiced as a competitive game among children or sometimes along with their old folks. In this game, what matters is the number of riddles a contestant knows. It has no importance as an intellectual or cognitive exercise (Hamnett 1997).

A RIDDLE IS A KNOT

In Indian languages, a riddle is often metaphorically represented as a knot, which one has to untie during the game. In all the Indian names that refer to riddles, there is enough room to indicate that there is something hidden or left for the listener to find out. However, the clues provided in the descriptive element(s) seldom furnish adequate evidence for the answer.

WE OFTEN FAIL TO SOLVE THE NEW RIDDLE

This is the principal reason why people never spend much time thinking about a riddle, and when they do think about it, they are more likely to recall a known but forgotten answer than to be generally attempting to tackle a new problem. Prime intention of the questioner of a riddle is to misguide the listener from getting the expected answer. For that he may provide some unnecessary extra information and thus divert the listenerís attention. The whole game of riddling is only a matter of memory test so much so that one has to enter into its deeper structures and patterns to find out what are the linguistic elements present in this verbal expression.

THE FOCUS OF THIS PAPER

This paper attempts to portray the regular patterns of riddles found in Malayalam language and find out how far the structure of a riddle can be predicted. There are only a handful of works done in this field in Malayalam; most of them are done with an orientation of folkloristic or literary point of view.

THE POETIC QUALITY OF RIDDLES

Since riddling fall under the folkloristic category of oral tradition, it is explicit that this verbal expression cannot be articulated without the grand source of the musical quality of a language. Rhyming is observed in almost all the riddles taken for analysis. Stops, palatal affricates, nasals and laterals are appeared in gemination. Heterogeneous clusters are selected without affecting the musical quality of the utterance. Final letter rhyming is observed in almost all the riddles. The short meters used for these verbal forms are an area for detailed investigation; the stylistic qualities and the aesthetic beauty of these riddles make us think of its close similarity with Japanese Haiku poetry.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE IN A PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

T. Sreevalsan

Communication Across Castes | The Hells Envisioned in the Divine Comedy and Bhagavtam | Telugu Parts of Speech Tagging in WSD | Practicing Literary Translation: A Symposium Round 10 | The Effectiveness of Genre-based Approach to Develop Writing Skills of Adult Learners and Its Significance for Designing a Syllabus | Structural Predictability of Malayalam Riddles | Parsing in Tamil - Present State of Art | HOME PAGE OF AUGUST 2006 ISSUE | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR


T. Sreevalsan, Ph.D.
Department of Malayalam
Government Victoria College
Palakkad
Kerala, India
t.sreevalsan@gmail.com
 
Web www.languageinindia.com
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