Showing posts with label Dzongkha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dzongkha. Show all posts

17 December 2021

King’s Dzongkha: the Beauty of our Language

His Majesty the King's address to the nation on the National Day is the single most important speech in the country and the most awaited moment of the year. It's the annual Royal Address to the nation that leads the nation to reflect deeply on our values and priorities as a nation and inspires the masses to take bold steps into new frontiers. It is in this moment the King talks straight to the heart of every Bhutanese across the world to remind us of who we are.

Over the years, we began to seek more in His Majesty's speech. We seek satisfaction from listening to one of the greatest orators of our time. We appreciate the art of public speaking. We marvel at the fluency and the gaps. We admire the power and clarity. 

In those goosebump moments, we savour the true beauty of our Dzongkha language that we are not quite used to. The complexity associated with good Dzongkha is a myth. In the Dzongkha that the King speaks, there is hardly any bombastic word. In King's Dzongkha, we see the elegance in common words, the versatility of simple terms and undeniable dignity. 

If the Dzongkha can be as elegant yet as expressive and simple as the King speaks it, then the generation of Bhutanese who are more into English may embrace Dzongkha. The People who are entrusted with promoting Dzongkha must work hard in simplifying it rather than alienating it from the ordinary people.

Over the years, I have noticed that our language is growing richer by a few words or phrases after every Royal Address. Most of the time, the words are not completely new; rather they are given a new meaning or used in a new context altogether.

This year, during the 114th National Day Address, that word is ངར (Ngar). Like I said, it's not a new word; Ngar means temper in Metallurgy. But for it to be used to define the strength of national character in terms of boldness, rigour, resolve and sternness are metaphorically new and profound. Temper (ངར) defines the degree of hardness and elasticity in a metal; if it's hard, it becomes brittle and breaks off. On the other hand, if it's elastic, it will bend. That perfect balance between the two defines Ngar. And quite poetically, that balance is achieved through heat treatment.

05 February 2013

Interesting Respond from a Reader

Following is an email from a reader, Namgay Thinley, who shares very good insight on Dzongkha and technology relationship. He wrote it in Dzongkha so that his words carry their weight through. You should have dzongkha fonts installed on your device to read the following:

ཞུ་དོན། ད་རེས་ཁམས་ཅིག་ཁར་ ང་གིས་ངོ་ཤེས་མི་ཆ་རོགས་ཅིག་གིས་ ཁྱོད་ཀྱི་བཟོ་ཡོད་མི་ སྒེར་གི་ཡོངས་འབྲེལ་ནང་མཐུད་བྱིན་ཡོད། དེ་ནང་ཁྱོད་ཀྱི་ཁ་ཐུག་ལས་ རྫོང་ཁ་དང་ ཨེ་མ་སྐོར་ལས་བྲིས་མི་འདི་ བསམ་འཆར་ལེགས་ཤོམ་ཅིག་ཨིན་པས་ཟེར་ཞུ་ནི། དེ་ནང་ང་ར་ལས་ ག་ཤེས་མི་ཅིག་ ཁྱོད་དང་ཁྱོད་རའི་སློབ་གྲྭའི་སློབ་དཔོན་ཆ་རོགས་ཚུ་ལུ་ཕན་པ་ཅིན་མནོ་སྟེ་ བྲི་དོ་ཟེར་ཞུ་ནི། མ་གཞི་ ང་ར་འདི་གློག་རིག་ནང་ མཁས་པ་ཅིག་མེན་འདི་འབད་རུང་ ད་རེས་ནངས་པར་ རྫོང་ཁ་ནང་ཡང་ གློག་རིག་གི་མཐུན་རྐྱེན་འདི་ལེ་ཤ་གི་ར་ གོང་འཕེལ་འགྱོ་ས་མཐོང་ཅིག  གཤམ་འཁོད་ ཡོངས་འབྲེལ་འཆར་སྒོ་ནང་ གཟིགས་པ་ཅིན་ ཕན་པའི་མཐུན་རྐྱེན་རེ་འཐོབ་ཚུགས་མནོ་སྟེ་ཕུལ་དོ
ད་རེས་ནངས་པ་ རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ནང་མི་ལ་ལུ་ཅིག་གི་ ཝི་ཀི་པི་ཌི་ཡ་ནང་ཡང་ རྫོང་ཁ་བཙུགས་ས་མཐོང་ཅིག་ དེ་འབདཝ་ད་ཁོང་ལུ་ ཆ་རོགས་འབད་དགོཔ་ལེ་ཤ་མཐོངམ་མས། ཆ་རོགས་འབད་དགོཔ་འདི་ཡང་ གཙོ་བོ་ གནད་དོན་དང་ གནས་ཚུལ་ཚུ་མངམ་མེད་པའི་དཀའ་ངལ་འདུག་ཟེར་མནོཝ་མས།ྫོང་ཁ་

ང་ར་ལས་ མིང་ཚིག་གསར་རྩོམ་སྐོར་ལས་ དུམ་གྲ་ཅིག་ཞུ་བ་ཅིན་ ང་བཅས་རྫོང་ཁ་ལུ་ མིང་ཚིག་གསར་རྩོམ་ལེ་ཤ་འབད་དགོཔ་འདུག་ཟེར་མནོཝ་མས། དང་པ་ རྫོང་ཁ་འདི་རྒྱལ་ཡོངས་ཁ་སྐད་ཅིག་འབད་བ་ལས་བརྟེན། གཉིས་པ་ རྒྱལ་ཡོངས་ཁ་སྐད་འབདཝ་ལས་ མིང་ཚིག་ལངམ་མེད་པ་ཅིན་ རོགས་ཀྱི་ཁ་སླ་སྲེ་སྟེ་སླབ་དགོཔ་འཐོན་ནི་ཉེན་ཁ་འདུག  མ་པ་མིང་ཚིག་གསརཔ་འདི་ འགོ་དང་པ་གོཝ་ད་ དགོད་བྲ་སི་སི་སྦེ་གོ་རུང་ ཤུལ་ལས་གོམས་འདྲིས་ཚུད་པའི་བསྒང་ལས་ ལེགས་ཤོམ་མཐོང་འོང་མེ་ན། དཔྱེ་ཅིག་སླབ་པ་ཅིན་ ད་རེས་ཁམས་ཅིག་ཁར་ ཨ་མི་རི་ཀ་ལུ་ སྔོན་མ་ལས་ཡལ་ཡོད་མི་ ཙི་ཙི་དམརམོ་ཅིག་ མཁས་པ་ཚུ་གིས་ འཐོབ་ཡོད་མི་འདི་ ད་རེས་ཀྱི་ཁོང་རའི་སྲིད་བློན་ཨོ་བཱ་མ་གི་མིང་བཙུགས་ཏེ་ མིང་ཡང་ Obamadon ཟེར་བཏགས༌མི་འདི་ མ་བདེ་ཁག་ཁ་སྦེ་གོ་རུང་ ལོ་དག་པ་ཅིག་གི་ཤུལ་ལས་ ལེགས་ཤོམ་སྦེ་གོ་འོང་མནོཝ་མས། 

Thank you Namgay for writing to me, I hope this will go on to help lots of people besides me. And I also hope you don't mind me posting your email message here!

02 February 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?

28 January 2013

Dzongkha Teachers and Computers

You have no idea what it means to dare teaching twenty Dzongkha teachers how to use computer but I am not new to this challenge. This batch of language teachers we have in Punakha Center mostly began their career before many parents fell in love and some talks about my grandfather being their contemporary. Now imagine how I would look standing there doing this job of teaching them.
We were never trained to handle this nor the course was designed to suit them. The computers are just the ones we are using-everything on the machine is in English and even the text book and the presentation slides are in English. The problem is not with them, they are highly educated and very confident and ready to learn. The issue is with the computer- they'd heard a lot about this super machine but they are upset that the machine is just another stupid box that won't understand Dzongkha. I assured them that computer can be programmed to display everything in Dzongkha but the problem is I was not trained enough to do so much and rest didn't have the passion. (Point to be noted, My lord lol)
The best adjustment we can do for them was to install Dzongkha Unicode on their computers so that they could at least used computer to type text in Dzongkha. It's a simple two part process; first install Dzongkha Keyboard and then install Dzongkha Fonts followed by a few steps to Add Dzongkha Keyboard on Language Bar but to do it on so many computer took me and my partner Tshewang Rinzin one precious hour.
That's the beginning of another problem; there are a few teachers who never went to Dzongkha Unicode training and therefore they need another course to understand what we just did. Without Dzongkha characters printed on the keyboard it takes ages to get a word on the screen. (Point to be noted, My lord lol)
By afternoon we made some progress with some people and rest are waiting for me to bring them the printed copy of Dzongkha Keyboard tomorrow. But like all the batches we met we had fun being mischievous and with Dzongkha teacher like them I never forget to share my dirty jokes and make them cough their doma out. During the breaks I listen to their wisdom and bother them with my endless questions on history. I am looking forward to eight more days with them!

Note: This is not intended to class whole species of Dzongkha Teachers in Bhutan as alien to English language or computers, I am just talking about this group of senior teachers who didn't go to English medium school and therefore resulting in the gap. Dzongkha Teachers now are highly versatile, they have mastery over Dzongkha and does equally well in English- and to surprise the hell out of all my vice principal,Lop Melam, who is also a Dzongkha Teacher is an expert in both computer hardware and software including Mac stuffs.

28 September 2012

Ugyen Panday Should be DDC Brand Ambassador

"The Dzongkha Development Commission (DDC) is the leading institute in the country for the advancement of Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan." Reads the home page of their website. It was founded in 1986 to preserve and promote use of Dzongkha but by the time I reached high school Dzongkha was almost considered outdated. People either spoke Sharshopkha, Nepali or English. We listened to English and Hindi songs. It was a pride to say, 'I 'm very poor in Dzongkha'. 
DCC worked harder but they were fighting a losing battle against the rampage of different influences through television and internet. The so many expenses pumped into Dzongkha essay, debate, skit and lozay competitions in schools only went on to polish those who were already shining in Dzongkha and had little or no effect on the majority of non-Dzongkha fans. 

  • DDC came up with numerous publications, but like always this only pleased the ones who were interested in Dzongkha. There was nothing special in those publications to win new hearts. Dzongkha-English Dictionary published and distributed last year looked like it could make a difference.
  • DDC brought foreign help to rescue national language, which was an irony in itself. They may be language experts but it takes people who understand Bhutanese to fix the problem.
  • DDC developed software which made typing on computer possible, and also on some mobile devices. But it only made computer popular among the Dzongkha lovers, rather than making Dzongkha popular among computer users.
  • DDC composed many new words, only to confuse the one who were already so confused. They reject the word we have been using for ages saying those were not Dzongkha, and went on to make new words thereby making Dzongkha a foreign language among the Bhutanese.
Our bad romance with Dzongkha was not something that would age with us and die slowly, it was something we would pass down to our children unknowingly, and few generations down the line Dzongkha could be a language of the past.
But a few years ago Bhutan woke up to a new morning of Bhutanese music. It was Namgay Jigs who made every Bhutanese hum Dzongkha songs. From taxis, to shops, to school concerts there was no place Dzongkha songs weren't played. But soon Namagy turned very Jigs, he started sounding like a young boy who spent all his life in the west.
Musical Revolution 
Ugyen Panday was a revolution, a young man with good sense of style and so appealing to the young generation, and someone who made Dzongkha language sound very beautiful in its original form. Overnight he invaded every music device; iPod, MP3 Player, Mobile Phones, Computers and most of all the beating hearts. Dzongkha has never been so popular in our country, and thanks to Ugyen Panday. And in 1986 was this musical boy born, the year DDC was founded.
Winning hearts from across borders
Therefore, I was wondering if Ugyen Panday could be the Brand Ambassador of DDC, he needn't do anything more than what he's doing everyday- playing his guitar and singing his songs and winning hearts, while DDC could pump a part of fund they waste in their fruitless activities into his musical career.

Musical Man

Courtesy: Photos are taken from Ugyen Panday's Facebook Profile.