The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Friday, September 10, 2010

First private Dzongkha weekly launched

A brand new newspaper with a reader-friendly language

Druk Neytshuel: The seventh newspaper hit the stand yesterday

30 August, 2010 - At a time when the quality of Dzongkha is being questioned and discussed in every possible medium comes an opportune attempt to apprise Bhutanese of their national language.

Beginners can take a plunge into the language, starting with the alphabets illustrated in elementary pictures and interpretations.

Students can refer their Dzongkha textbook contents in a simplest elucidation. Those who need help with essays and application writing can allude to tutorials. Office-goers can stay abreast about events unfolding around them in most comprehensible Dzongkha.

In short, it is Dzongkha in its highest reader-friendly form, or so the first private Dzongkha newspaper, Druk Neytshuel, promises its readers.

As for the first issue launched and distributed free yesterday, the 24-page paper lived up to their words. With an apt main story questioning the varied spelling use on signboards, the paper carried stories on diverse subjects in an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand Dzongkha.

“This is Zhungkha in its simplest form, with slight inclination towards Wangkha, spoken popularly by people of Thimphu and Punakha,” the paper’s chief editor Chungdru Tshering said. “Everyone can speak the language, but a very few can read and write it. We’re trying to be as colloquial as possible.”

Apart from news updates, a well-organised section on driglam namzha, religion, economy, sports, community news and environment maintained a neat presentation on fresh topics.

The highlight was the section titled “Gup Of The Week”, an attempt to bring communities in the limelight by profiling the leaders and exposing problems prevailing in each gewog.

The free issue, which has taken on well with the readers, will come for Nu 10 starting next week.

“Compared with the Dzongkha issues of other private papers, this paper is on a different level all together,” Sangay Tenzin, a monk with the Thimphu rabdey, said. “It appears more serious than the previous ones, who, at times, give us an impression that they’re functioning just so to adhere to government policy, and not out of a genuine interest.”

One of the Dzongkha newspaper editors said the standard of the language and the news quality was impressive for a starter. “They should maintain it,” he said.

A few, however, felt the need to standardise the spellings of names and places and objects, as it read different in different newspapers.

The weekly paper, comprising a team of five reporters and two editors – graduates from the institute of language and cultural studies and former monks – feeds on 4 pages of advertisements in Dzongkha, and also caters to English ads in its inserts.

“We started off two months ago, with an intention to emulate government’s policy of promoting and preserving the national language,” Chungdu Tshering said.

By Kesang Dema

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