Light of lexicon amid dark fury of violence

NGO endeavours to compile trilingual dictionary in association with Dimasa Sahitya Sabha
Guwahati, July 22 : The land of the Dimasas may be in a state of deep and perpetual turmoil, but that hasn’t stopped efforts to bring out the first trilingual dictionary on their language.
Once out, seeking the Assamese or English equivalent of Dimasa words would no longer be a tall order as the dictionary would be in Dimasa-Assamese-English versions.
The initiative has been taken by the Anundoram Barooah Institute of Language, Art and Culture, a city-based voluntary organisation, in association with Dimasa Sahitya Sabha, the apex literary body of the Dimasas.
“Though there had been a couple of word books on the Dimasa language, the need for a complete dictionary was felt for long. This is the first attempt to compile a comprehensive dictionary on the ethnic language,” the institute’s director, D.K. Kalita, said.
He said the Dimasa Sahitya Sabha has extended cooperation by nominating a panel of experts to help compile the dictionary. “It will take nearly a year to develop the dictionary and we have targeted around 20,000 words,” he added.
Kalita said the primary objective behind the project was “to boost the language spoken by around 75,000 Dimasas in the state since grammar and dictionary are the basic requirements for development of a language.”
“Moreover, we feel that such projects will promote amity among the ethnic communities of the state,” he added.
The institute also has Mising-Assamese-English and Rabha-Assamese-English dictionaries to its credit and is developing similar dictionaries on Bodo and Karbi languages.
Kalita said they would take the help of Bodo and Karbi sahitya sabhas for the compilation of Bodo-Assamese-English and Karbi-Assamese-English dictionaries.
For compilation of the proposed dictionaries, the institute is holding a workshop on lexicography at its headquarters at Rajaduar in north Guwahati. Nominees of Dimasa, Bodo and Karbi sahitya sabhas, former director of Mysore-based Central Institute of Indian Languages P.N. Dutta Baruah and head of the department of linguistics, Gauhati University, Jyoti Prakash Tamuli, will be resource persons. Renowned scholar T.R. Taid, eminent linguists Upen Rabha Hakacham, Madhu Ram Boro, Lilabati Saikia Bora and Malini Goswami, compiler of dictionaries Sumanta Chaliha and Asam Sahitya Sabha president Rongbong Terang are also participating in the workshop.
Kalita said the dictionaries would contain the head words, international phonetic alphabets, grammatical notes and meanings of the words in Assamese and English.