Dzongkha, los­ing out to English lan­guage

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

De­spite the gov­ern­ment has di­rected that the na­tional lan­guage, Dzongkha should be used in of­fi­cial meet­ings within the coun­try, Dzongkha is los­ing out to English lan­guage in of­fi­cial meet­ings.

Dzongkha’s in­creas­ing un­pop­u­lar­ity is at­trib­uted to the fact that it is not prac­ti­cally ap­plied. Dzongkha is forced to re­treat and it is un­der se­vere risk of be­ing dis­carded, es­pe­cially in the of­fices and ur­ban ar­eas.

The gov­ern­ment some years back had made it manda­tory that all gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments are pre­pared in Dzongkha and of­fi­cial let­ters are ex­changed in Dzongkha.

The gov­ern­ment also made manda­tory all cor­re­spon­dences in­clud­ing or­ders of ap­point­ment, trans­fer, pro­mo­tion and cir­cu­lars, even store reg­is­ters and per­sonal files are to be main­tained in Dzongkha.

Dzongkha may be the na­tional lan­guage but it is still not the of­fi­cial lan­guage. Dur­ing the re­cently Dzongkha De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion’s ( DDC) con­cluded ‘ re­fresher course for me­dia pro­fes­sion­als’, par­tic­i­pants shared their con­cern about the de­clin­ing pop­u­lar­ity of Dzongkha lan­guage.

The de­bates must be on the of­fi­cial lan­guage. The par­tic­i­pants said, not only the gen­eral peo­ple, most specif­i­cally young­ster, are more in­clined to English but even the min­istries use English for com­mu­ni­ca­tion and of­fi­cial pur­poses in­clud­ing the monthly meet- the- press with the cabi­net min­is­ters. This is a show of state ha­tred to­wards English lan­guage.

Tshe­wang Norbu, Sec­re­tary for DDC said that the com­mis­sion will sub­mit to the min­istries and all agen­cies in­clud­ing meet the press ses­sion to use na­tional lan­guage in the of­fi­cial meet­ings and con­fer­ences.

DDC made so much of ef­forts just to pro­duce lit­tle out­comes. The Sec­re­tary said that com­mis­sion has adopted many in­no­va­tive ini­tia­tives and ac­tiv­i­ties to de­velop and pro­mote dzongkhag. How­ever, in terms of pop­u­lar­ity, it has not gained much.

Tshe­wang Norbu said that the com­mis­sion di­rected sev­eral an­nounce­ments to use Dzongkha lan­guage in of­fi­cial meet­ings and speeches within the coun­try, but he said was found ir­rev­er­ence and dis­re­spect to the an­nounce­ments.

The Sec­re­tary said that the com­mis­sion’s pol­icy guar­an­tees to pre­pare an act to serve the pur­pose but un­able to pre­pare an act un­til now. He said, “There is no author­ity to pe­nal­ize and im­pose pun­ish­ment with­out proper act.”

The par­tic­i­pants said as long as it re­mains dif­fi­cult and com­pli­cated, Dzongkha will never be­come pop­u­lar, but the com­mis­sion’s new edi­tion which is un­der re­vi­sion is ex­pected to serve the pur­pose.

An­other ma­jor rea­son for Dzongkha’s un­pop­u­lar­ity is said to be its dif­fi­culty. The par­tic­i­pants pointed out that the fore­most un­der­min­ing fac­tor against Dzongkha is its lack of util­ity.

Dzongkha has been ob­served to lack uni­form spellings which lead to con­fu­sion among the read­ers. The spelling in­con­sis­tency was the cause of chil­dren find­ing Dzongkha dif­fi­cult to learn.

The Sec­re­tary for DDC said that the spellings were stan­dard­ized by var­i­ous re­lated agen­cies in 2010 by in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion min­istry.

DDC ex­pects to stan­dard­ize and make Dzongkha less con­fus­ing to the read­ers, es­pe­cially the youth in Schools. It was also to en­hance the ca­pac­ity to make it less con­fus­ing.

The Sec­re­tary also high­lighted the im­por­tance role played by the me­dia houses to prop­a­gate the na­tion.

DDC is the only in­sti­tu­tion re­ceiv­ing gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance for lin­guis­tic de­vel­op­ment. Dzongkhag was de­clared as the na­tional lan­guage of Bhutan in 1971.

The re­cently Dzongkha De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion’s ( DDC) con­cluded ‘ re­fresher course for me­dia pro­fes­sion­als’, par­tic­i­pants shared their con­cern about the de­clin­ing pop­u­lar­ity of Dzongkha lan­guage.

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