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Heavenly Singing

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  1. ESRC Seminar Series: Poetry Matters - Seminar 3 University of Leicester – September 13 2011 Heavenly Singing Multilingual Verse and Song Andrey Rosowsky – University of Sheffield 1

  2. Linguistic resources and repertoire • Mirpuri-Panjabi (Pahari, Pothwari) • Panjabi (H-variety) • Urdu • Farsi • Classical Arabic • English • Naat • Nasheed • ‘translingual’ (Garcia, 2007) • ‘transidiomatic’ (Jacquemet, 2005) • naat

  3. ‘translocal’ and ‘translocalities’ ...those processes and settings which link, via electronic mass media and mass movement, localities whether they be of origin, of destination or of ‘significant and meaningful stops along people’s many and diverse transnational routes’ (Sinatti 2008, 63) and are suffused with those ‘ethnoscapes’ (Appadurai 1996, 33) which inevitably lead to multilingual and multicultural practices...

  4. Models of Reversing Language Shift Charles Ferguson (1982) Joshua Fishman (1991 & 2001)

  5. Youth identities and language Ben Rampton (1995 & 2005) Roxy Harris (2006) Youth identities and religion Tahir Abbas (2007) Pnina Werbner (2004)

  6. two datasets • Transcribed words from a series of interviews carried out with naat/nasheed participants in 2010 • Tallied answers to a set of questions given out to sixty-six young (mainly between the ages of 11 and 25) male and female British Muslims, predominantly of Pakistani-heritage background living in a northern UK town

  7. ‘linguistic repertoires’ (Gumperz and Hymes, 1986) ‘linguistic resources’ (Blommaert,2010; Blackledge & Creese, 2010)

  8. I never understood but I liked the tone or the expressions of the person reciting or the reaction of the audience. What is this person saying that is getting so many people smiling? (Latif) • I started with the local radio, Radio Ramadan. They started playing the naat and I really enjoyed them. I went down to the local bookshop and bought some CDs and tapes...At first my interest was in the sounds. (Akhtar) • Even if we don’t understand it, we can see the love coming out. (Tanveer)

  9. The listeners can go either way. They may listen and not understand and withdraw from that [practice]. Others may have the opposite effect and say ‘right, I want to understand that, what he’s reciting’ and take that step forward to try and learn about the language. So it can go either way. (Shazad) • Reciting naat in Urdu is not developing speaking and listening skills but it is picking up key words...but you wouldn’t be able to have a conversation with a person. (Aisha)

  10. Most Preferred Genre

  11. You get the feelings, special feelings through the words that you can’t get in English. Maybe in 50 years or so there will be a poet who writes naat in English...that when people read it they will feel that love coming out of the words...but you can’t get in English at the moment what you get in Urdu or Arabic. (Shahid) • Our parents do not really understand that there is such a thing as naat/nasheed in English. All their lives they’ve heard naat in Urdu. They’ve never thought someone could be praising the Prophet in English also.’ (Hamid)

  12. Specific languages are related to specific cultures and to their attendant cultural identities; and that ‘the specificity of the linguistic bond of most cultural doings...makes the very notion of a ‘translated culture’ so inauthentic and even abhorrent’ (2001, 3). Joshua Fishman 2001 • Hassan • Asad • Wajid

  13. ‘a climate where the immediacy of recognition and acknowledgement of Muslim and Islamic difference, the growing receptivity to anti-Muslim ideas and expressions about Muslims and Islam posing a threat, and the sense of justification that is recurrently evident in being fearful and normatively against Muslims and Islam has increasingly been seen to make sense’ (Allen 2011, 230) • The expression of anti-Muslim ideas and sentiments is becoming increasingly seen as respectable. It is a natural, taken-for-granted ingredient of the commonsense world of millions of people every day…Islamophobic discourse, sometimes blatant but frequently subtle and coded, is part of the fabric of everyday life in modern Britain. (Runnymede Trust 1997, 10)

  14. Subject matter of naat/nasheed

  15. I may need to ask about verse 3 of a particular naat for example. This can be followed by a discussion, ‘I think it means this’, ‘I think it means that’. There can be totally different meanings. It’s good for sharing and checking understanding because the Urdu word can have two or three different meanings. And this online dialogue takes place in English, or in Punjabi as well as in Urdu. (Shazad) • We’re talking about the internet, but what about mobile phones? All the young Muslims have their music and they share their nasheeds...That’s really powerful as well. (Tanveer) • Whenever you come to a mehfil (gathering) you’ll always see some kids at the back blu-toothing each other, blu-toothingnaats to each other or blu-toothingnasheeds. (Tariq)

  16. I think that the group generally who adopt the nasheeds are the ones who practise love – and try to obtain to the love of the Prophet. Ideally the nasheed is recited in order to please the Prophet. There is a lot of evidence that the poets of the time of the Prophet would do this. (Shahid) Nasheed