For stan­dard Dzongkha spell­ing

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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.

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