The sixth in the series on Research in Applied Linguistics, this is a ground-breaking study which presents a phonological analysis of Brahmi and its modern derivatives. It closely examines India’s ancient cultural-linguistic background, particularly the Vedic Culture of oral tradition, and relates this scholarship to current research and theory in linguistics, neurobehavioral sciences, and special education. The author also provides an empirical understanding of reading acquisition by children with a particular focus on those facing poverty, a toxic environment, and the deprivation associated with low caste status.
The book is a departure from current neuropsychological research which is limited to the middle-class dyslexic child. It argues the need for a multidisciplinary approach which takes into account the effects of poverty, socioeconomic deprivation and environmental toxicity on reading acquisition among children from deprived groups. Purushottam Patel discusses a number of important issues including:
- The linguistic context and principles underlying the Brahmi script.
- The reasons behind literacy emerging as a part of natural language development, especially in an oral culture.
- The cultural habits surrounding reading.
- The importance of the living environment to literacy development.
- The need for multidisciplinary research, with an emphasis on neurobehavioral teratology.