For standard Dzongkha spelling
One of the reasons for declining popularity of the national language of Bhutan, Dzongkha, seems to be lack of uniform grammar and spelling.
There are inconsistencies in spelling among the Dzongkha newspapers and Dzongkha Development Commission. The spelling inconsistency is said to be the reason why children find difficult to learn Dzongkha.
In the past the Journalists’ Association of Bhutan and Bhutan Media Foundation, in collaboration with media houses, conducted numerous training to standardize Dzongkha spelling. The reporters and editors discussed and identified various spellings, grammar and language inconsistencies in the Dzongkha language used in the mainstream newspapers.
The media houses submitted a list of spelling to the DDC, to maintain quality and standard of Dzongkha used in the newspaper. However, without the involvement of the main stakeholder, DDC, it was difficult for the media alone to do their job.
To standardizing Dzongkha spellings among the Dzongkha newspapers and to maintain consistency and quality of Dzongkha used in the newspapers, Dzongkha Development Commission, who has the mandate to update Dzongkha spelling and grammar, called a workshop with the media houses in Thimphu on 5 June. The day-long discussion was held following an order from the Prime Minister, Dasho Tshering Tobgay on 15 May.
Tshewang Norbu, Secretary for DDC said that the spellings submitted by the JAB and BMF following workshop in Gelephu were similar to those that the Commission standardized in 2010. He said the exercise was conducted in consultation with various related agencies including the Ministry of Information and Communications. “The spellings were detailed and standardized by Dzongkhag specialist that comprised departments and ministries.”
The Secretary also highlighted the important role played by the media houses to propagate the national language.
Officials of the Commission detailed and explained the spellings that were used inconsistently. An official from DDC said that some of the spellings submitted by media houses were identified from the detail researched and standardized in the dictionaries. “Some spelling will be revised in the new editions.”
The workshop discussed more than hundred spellings. Some of the editors pointed out that DDC have not been enforcing its spellings and grammar authoratively. Therefore, the media and curriculum writers have not been following DDC’s spellings and grammar.
Lopen Goembo Dorji, a media veteran and Chief Executive Officer of Gyalchi Sarshog shared his concern about the declining popularity of Dzongkha.
He also shared his worries and pointed out a word that was found to be used differently. “I can’t accept few spellings circulated by the Commission in the dictionary.” He cited an example of word Alu (Child) in DDC’s dictionary. He said the correct spelling is Alo.
The commission marked few words to revise for the new edition. The Commission is also expected to conduct a workshop with school curriculum writers to standardize Dzongkha spellings in the school text books.
The outcome of the workshop is expected to standardize and make Dzongkha less confusing to the readers, especially the youth in the schools. It was also to enhance the capacity to make it less confusing after a day-long discussion and debate on spelling inconsistencies.