The storybook project began as a way for us to pay back the Sylheti-speaking community, in London and elsewhere, which has been so helpful and accomodating to our linguistc projects.
The SOAS Sylheti Project set out to develop a high-quality Sylheti-language illustrated storybook to help promote one of London’s under-resourced community languages, Sylheti, spoken mostly in Camden and around Tower Hamlets. Since Sylheti is not a written language today, printed media like this storybook are rare for Sylheti speakers, and we are hoping to encourage pride in the language for its speakers with high production values and cultural authenticity.
From various recordings of stories as told by London’s Sylheti speakers, we chose three fables and put their spoken words on the page.
The first story of the three fables, ‘The Boy Who Cried Tiger’ (‘fueTae sillaito bag aise’) can be watched as a short animated video here. (Turn on CC closed captions for subtitles.)
The third fable, ‘The Wind and the Sun’ (‘boiar ar shuruz’), has a short animated video version here, with illustrations thanks to participants of the SOAS Sylheti Project’s 2016 cultural celebration.
What is the writing?
After much deliberation, we chose to write the stories in the traditional Siloti Nagri script with a transcription as a pronunciation aid in the Roman/Latin scrpt. In the back of the storybook, there is also a transcription in the Eastern Nagri script (which is used to write Bengali and Assamese) and a translation of the stories in English. This way, we’re hoping to make the stories accessible to as wide an audience as possible, as well a pique interest in the various ways to write Sylheti.
Our crowdfunding campaign has allowed us a limited print run of 250 copies which will be distributed (for free) to our crowdfunding supporters, to our collaborators, to local community members, to local libraries, to those teaching/learning the language, and to anyone curious to learn these wonderful tales.
ISBN-13 : 9780728604100 (print edition)
We are also working on publishing ebook version(s) so that everyone can have a copy!
Here’s a pdf version: storybook that you can print yourself if you so desire.
Please share with any and everyone.
(*It can be openly distributed, for free. It cannot be sold.)
Happy reading! And thank you again to everyone who supported our crowdfunding effort!
In a wonderful initiative, Nusrat Atika fromhas made videos of story readings:
*Please note that ‘fuaTae sillaito bag aise, aro duiTa kicca siloTi bashae’ as a whole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. It may be freely reproduced provided no alterations are made, the work is not used for commercial purposes, and appropriate credit is given. ISBN-13 : 9780728604100 (print edition)