Last week Dr. Sheena Shah and the SOAS students in her Language support and revitalisation class visited the Surma Community Centre and talked to Sylheti language consultants Faruk, Farhana, and Nadia (along with Nadia’s six-month-old).
From a very informative Q&A session we gained insight on the intergenerational dynamics in the Sylheti community in the UK, and what it has meant for our consultants to work on the Sylheti language with us. We also got some feedback on the storybook – how it is seen as a future heirloom when in 200-300 years Sylheti will have ‘disappeared because of development’, and how it has inspired conversations about life back in Sylhet, like how the farmer in the story ‘Bundle of sticks [singlar aTa]’ should have ’12 sons and 13 grandsons in order to grow sugarcane’, back when farmers were self-sufficient and only had to purchase kerosene and cooking oil, and often not even cooking oil if they also grew mustard seed to make mustard seed oil. Sounds like an updated/expanded storybook may be in the future…
After the talk, we all stayed at the Surma Centre and had a delicious curry lunch.
Thank you Faruk, Farhana, and Nadia!