Discussion on creating expansive Khasi dictionary

SHILLONG: A discussion on the creation of the expansive Khasi Dictionary project was held at MAD Gallery, Umsohsun recently wherein linguistic presentation and demonstration of the software to collect and compile the dialects from across the Khasi-Jaintia Hills region was made.
The deliberation was initiated by Dr Hiram Ring, a research scholar on Pnar language from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
The computer programme ‘WeSay’ developed by Summer Institute of Linguistics: www.palaso.org was demonstrated by Dr Ring to enable people to make random collection of words, prior to analysis and definition of specific meaning.
The President, Seng Khasi Seng Kmie, Bantei Singh Rumnong, who was the chief guest on the occasion, lauded the effort of Riti Academy to venture into this importamt project.
“Khasi is a very rich language, but the usage of genuine words in conversation has diminished due to the convenience of loan words from other foreign languages like English and Hindi,” he said.
Delivering his lecture Dr Hiram Ring stated, “Our main intention is to expose specialists to an inclusive understanding of the Khasi language as comprising more than standard Khasi. Although the use of a standard variety is important and necessary to aid communication, by focusing only on the standard, the richness of the Khasi language remains hidden from the world and from its own speakers.
“This focus also threatens to cause division, as it ignores the important linguistic contributions that different varieties have made and continue to make to the broader Khasi milieu.”
The gathering also resolved to constitute the core group to enable stakeholders from the city and from the remote villages to contribute in the exercise of word collection and compilation. The group was led by Raphael Warjri and D R Michael Buam, the conveners of the discussion. The group will engage linguists from academic institutions and grassroots people from specific regions in the project.
It may be mentioned that Riti Academy have already been in the process of compilation of Khasi words and coinage of new words.

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