Saturday, February 02, 2013

Blue Chili on Dzongkha Google

The saddest part of training Dzongkha teachers is at the end when they ask us if what we just taught could be done in Dzongkha- it's 'No' most of the time. They have to know a little bit of English anyway. I take the blame on my self for failing to be powerful and efficient enough to make computer Dzongkha-ready though I spent much of my life dealing with computer. I didn't have mark enough to pursue computers abroad nor did I have money enough to go on my own. God knows what those Bhutanese computer experts are doing.
However there are a few things we discovered as we desperately struggled together to make sense of internet through Dzongkha.
If you have the Dzongkha Keyboard installed then you can type in the search key word in Dzongkha, and Google is smart enough to find us whatever in available accordingly. 
Googling in Dzongkha
Google Dzongkha Results

The title of my post emerged when we were mocking the new Dzongkha words, which even the Dzongkha teachers find it hard to tolerate. We were all on one side when it came to disagreeing with formation of new Dzongkha words that are combination of existing words- like the names of things like computer, TV, football, tape recorder, type writer, vehicle, etc. We can't create new words, we are just connecting old words to make new ones, and land up making it very uneasy for our tongue. 
Then one lopen asked me to translate Ema Hoem to English, which I instantly could- Green Chili, then he asked me to go word by word and do the translation again, which is when I realized Ema hoem is actually Blue Chili. We discussed it at length to understand how such word could be very subtle to notice because of its usage over time. I searched Ema Hoem (typed in Dzongkha) in Google and following is what I got!
When you search for Ema Hoem on Google!

Wikipedia is available in all the language you can think of, and when I say so my 20 Dzongkha teachers look at me in full glow, but then I have to say, Except Dzongkha! I apologize as if it was my fault again. But I also ask them to put half the blame on Dasho Shrub, the man who is responsible for the development of Dzongkha Language (or are we all equally responsible?). Later I discovered that among hundreds of language on Wikipedia there is Boed Weig, meaning Tibetan Language- Bingo. With Tibetan Dzongkha teachers are more comfortable than English.
Wikipedia Doesn't have Dzongkha but look for Boed Weig (Tibetan) 
The following is how Wikipedia looks once we switch to Tibetan Language mode and this brings internet closer to our Dzongkha lopens.
Most Dzongkha Teachers can read, write and understand Tibetan!
What and how much will to take to make Google and Wikipedia possible in Dzongkha is the question I have been asking myself for quite sometime, and today with this post I ask you the same question. Let's also ask who will do that?


  1. 'Green' as in 'fresh' (undried) is what I understand...rather than the colour...what do you say?

  2. All my life, I have been a struggler with Dzongkha language...I still am. I had Dzongkha as a subject in school...right upto class 12...but, I realize I learned to read Dzongkha very well (however, not necessarily with understanding). I ask myself, "What went wrong?" No answer, except that it isn't my home language and our textbooks were in Chhoekey. I am proud that I can speak Sharchop and Lhotshamkha very well, and Hindi addition to English. The question is, "What will make me and others like me proud that I(we) can speak Dzongkha competently?" Will Dzongkha Google help? Do Dzongkha teachers have a responsibility to think about that much more seriously and propose suitable approaches to teaching and learning of Dzongkha? Obviously...we do not have suitable approaches in place we?


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