Thursday, March 22, 2012

Where will it serve the purpose, then?

Why our national language is not going well in Bhutan? Why English dominated Dzongkha? Be it the newspaper publication, forms-filling, applications, leave letters, labels on the native produce, sign boards, etc. All in English. Once it made headline in the news about wrong Dzongkha spelling used in signboard. Let’s see in case of school syllabus: Except for the subject as Dzongkha, we do not use Dzongkha as a medium of instruction in schools and colleges. Almost all the subjects are in English medium. And it is very sad that we can't even learn our own history in our national language. For few academic years, history for class 7 and 8 were taught in Dzongkha but again they changed to English. I wonder why we can’t learn our own history in our language.
Photo credit: Google.

English became everybody's language. Even those who never been to school also use English. Even my father prefers saying, "tonty (mean to say "Twenty") gi guram na mey, aunty?" He don't care his mispronunciation but he cares he use some English vocabulary. "Excuse me" after sneezing, "sorry" if accidentally someone hit the other, are some of the common words that everybody uses. Don't we have those vocabularies in dzongkha? Of course, we have but only in those big dictionaries. It is not that we don't have those vocabularies. We have it. But we don't use it. That is the problem. Here, I am a student away from my home, and it is quite surprising that other students find it comfortable to learn the lesson in their own language. When our professors and lecturers give lectures, they jot down the points in their own language. But we (Bhutanese) feel comfortable using English. These are some of the observations I made.

Everybody loves listening to English songs-whether we understand or not but it is pride to blast the English music and walk. It is good that we learnt English and unlike others we can communicate fluently in English. But my appeal is that we should not be ashamed of blasting Dzongkha music too. My friends call me "Traditional boy" because among modern music collection in my Mobile Phone, I too have some Boedras. I just don't keep it there as a collection but I listen to it frequently. It is so sweet that I remember my home and miss my home so much, but it satisfy me fully. I feel proud to listen to those Bhutanese songs among common English songs. I always feel proud when I can communicate in Dzongkha with my friends. I wanted to use pure Dzongkha but frequently get mixed up with English words. Still, when we try sincerely we can use it purely and perfectly. It is pride of our language that we can talk of a person next to us without their notice. It happens here and it is quite interesting. It always feels proud to use our own language. 

It is disheartening when we have to read the news like is Dzongkhapublication in newspaper serving purpose? If it fail to serve the purpose in our own home, than where it is going to serve its purpose? We need collective collaboration to promote Dzongkha. Media alone can’t do it. Media needs readers and we are the readers. Media should not fail their responsibilities in bringing out newspaper in correct Dzongkha.  Sometimes we can see Dzongkha newspaper with silly spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Media is the window through which we see the world and the source from where we learn new things. So, when we trust media so much, don’t teach wrong spellings to our readers. If Dzongkha paper became just the insert in our country, then where can we expect it to be the main paper?


  1. The devaluing of Dzongkha over English has been one of the oldest issue addressed to all the citizens of Bhutan. Despite the efforts from government in promoting Dzongkha language, it seems like the trend of not following the rules as sometimes is, remains just a complaint.

    I hope this article knocks everyone's ear and start reading Dzongkha.

    P,S, As far as I am concerned, I think Bhutan is sort of changing in a way that now there are people who listens to dzongkha musics and gets amused with the melody (That could be me from that 'some') and I am absolutely loving the new updated dzonkha movies. Well, in larger sense, I might be bad in writing though.

  2. i have a little doubt on colour naming of 'leewang' and 'jamug' in the photo. If my doubt is right then all the students who were taught with that chart would be misled.

  3. As far as I am concerned it is right. We call leewong to orange colour and jamug to voilet colour. But if you still doubt you can cross check in Dzongkha- English dictionary.

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