Jorhat, Nov. 8: In a bid to give an added dimension to Assamese language, Asom Jatiya Prakash, a non-profit organisation, today launched a new project, that of publishing an Assamese scientific and technological dictionary.
The project was ceremoniously launched at the newly inaugurated Jatiya Abhidhan hall by former vice-chancellors of Gauhati and Dibrugarh Universities, Hiralal Duora and Kulendu Pathak, respectively.
“In the 21st century, the new trends in science and technology require a whole new vocabulary in Assamese. Only a handful of people having in-depth knowledge of the technology is not the right thing. We have to spread this knowledge to the masses and the best way is to write a dictionary where the meaning of all technological terminology is explained properly,” Duora said.
Duora expressed concern on the dying of languages in the world at a fast rate.
“It is reported that 6,900 languages exist in the world and every 15 days one language disappears. The day will not be far when Assamese, too, goes the same way. Unless we enrich our vocabulary with new words and terminology, a time will come when the new generation will not be bothered to learn the language. It is imperative to create new words so that the language does not die,” he said.
Duora, an astrophysicist, said there was nothing wrong in borrowing words which were suitable from English or other languages to explain a new technology in Assamese.
Speaking in the same vein, Pathak said the Assamese language would be shunned if the new generation studied in the English medium in order to understand the new technology.
“It is difficult to explain what is 2G and 3G in Assamese. Likewise new technology pertaining to mobile telephony, internet and even automobiles and motorcycles has opened up a vast vista for which there are few words to describe in Assamese,” he said.
Pathak said we had moved from the age of discovery to the age of mastery and technology and the existing Assamese science dictionaries fell short, with more emphasis on science words instead of technology.
Kalpana Duora, physicist and former professor, Gauhati University, said we have to be large-hearted and accept words from other languages into Assamese. Oil India Limited will sponsor the dictionary.
The Asomiya Jatiya Prakash had earlier come out with a compendious four-volume dictionary, the Asomiya Jatiya Abidhan, that included words belonging to different indigenous communities in the region besides Assamese words. At present, it is engaged in a mega project of writing a comprehensive 10-volume history of the region.
Asomiya Jatiya Prakash secretary Devabrata Sharma said the first two volumes of the dictionaries were into their second editions but because of their huge weight, the last was 5kg, people had sought a lighter one which they could carry around.
“We are now in the process of compiling this and will soon start on the Asomiya Jatiya Abidhan,” Sharma said.
The launch coincided with the birth anniversary of Sharma’s father, Dimbeswar Dayal Sharma, whose erudite use of the Assamese language had earned him the title of Katha Shilpi.