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Friday, February 02, 2007

New English-Konkani dictionary ready

BANGALORE: Konkani, which is widely spoken in that part of the west coast of the country known as the Konkan coast, now has another binding factor.

A comprehensive English-Konkani dictionary has been compiled and this is expected to help Konkanis keep abreast of the changing cultural milieu.

The dictionary, published by the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, Mangalore, provides the exact meaning of English words in Konkani, and this should be of help to the younger generation of Konkanis.

Dialect dictionary

The academy brought out a Konkani Dialect Dictionary in 2001 with around 7,000 words.

Bishop Aloysius Paul D'Souza will release the new dictionary on February 10 at St. Aloysius College, Mangalore.

The first Konkani-Portuguese dictionary was brought in 1868 in Goa during Portuguese rule.

Though the first English-Konkani dictionary was brought out in 1883 by Fr. Angelo F.X. Maffei of Mangalore, it has a limited number words and meanings. With Konkani-speaking people having multi-dialect, multi-racial backgrounds and numbering over one crore across the globe, it is a big challenge for a lexicographer to bring out an English-Konkani dictionary.

The new dictionary makes an earnest attempt to record the richness of the language and contribute to its enrichment, says Stephen Quadros Permude, senior lecturer in history in the Government First Grade College in Kaup of Udupi district, who has compiled the 1,112-page dictionary with 26,000 words.

The academy is bringing out the dictionary with the support of the former Minister R.V. Deshpande, MLA.

Says Mr. Permude, "When we compare this dictionary with previous dictionaries of the Konkani language we can safely say that there has been a whole lot of progress both in terms of quality and quantity. There have been other dictionaries, but most of them contain limited terms and meanings. This dictionary presents many alternative terms and meanings, which will be useful to a native speaker as well as a foreign learner."

Some words from Tulu and Kannada that have found their way into Konkani have also been incorporated.

Konkani is written in a number of scripts. The dominant ones are Kannada, Malayalam, Devanagari and Roman. Out of the 60 lakh Konkanis in India, more than 45 per cent reside in Karnataka.

Therefore, there is a huge volume of Konkani literature written in Kannada. The first known book printed in Konkani was written by an English Jesuit priest, Thomas Stephens, and titled "Doutrina Cristao" (The Doctrine of Christ) in 1622.

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