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Tool boon for writers

- Word processor in Assamese
A screenshot of the website, www.jahnabi.org

Jorhat, Dec. 13: An Assamese word processor with spellchecker akin to that of Microsoft’s is a boon for those who need help in writing the language and can be easily used by those with a rudimentary knowledge of Assamese. No wonder then, the website www.jahnabi.org has received more than 60,000 hits and the free of cost software downloaded by more than 1,000 people since it was launched online last month.

Designed by a group of 20 volunteers from different parts of the state and varied professions, the Unicode compliant software has at present nearly 2.5 crore Assamese words in its dictionary and counting.

Pankaj Jyoti Mahanta, one of the volunteers who helped design the software said, the software contains automatic suggestions for words.

“Just type the alphabet K and all the words beginning with Ka would appear like Kalam and Kamal. If you type the alphabets K and M, words like Kamal and Kamtapur would be listed. All one has to do is click on the word which is required from the list. This makes it easy for people who do not have an in depth knowledge of the language,” he said.

As for the vowel symbols which represent the long E, short E and the like, known as the swara sinha in Assamese, one has to type a double I for the vowel symbol representing a long E to appear and the alphabet O in capital for a long oo sound as in the word pool. A list of what each letter of the English alphabet on a qwerty keyboard corresponds to in Assamese has been given at the beginning to aid the writer.

There are also 600 Assamese idioms. The user has the option to create a shortcut for frequently used idioms. There is also a facility to add words to the user’s dictionary.

“With more and more people using the computer on an everyday basis, writing mails and other articles in English is favoured. This advanced software tool, which also has a spell check in Assamese, was a long-felt need and we hope it will help in the learning of Assamese made easier,” Mahanta said.

Utpal Phukan, the only programmer in the Jahnabi team, put forth the proposal for the software, said Mahanta, who is doing his doctorate from Gauhati University in mathematics.

“In our group, which ranges from people aged between 25 and 42 years, we have a doctor, a teacher, a businessman, an engineer, an administrator, a student and others who worked in their free time with us. The software will be updated frequently with more and more words being incorporated. Suggestions to make the software more user friendly is also welcome,” he added.