Saturday, August 25, 2012

Of my Language

Let me tell you, there is no use of language if common men do not understand it properly. Honestly, i have always had the feeling that Dzongkha is more greek to me than Greek:). Now you can jolly well see the reasons why i didn't contest for the NA in the last election. Ironic huh? You need to see how some of our Representatives mutely warm up their chairs in the National Assembly since they are not fluent in Dzongkha. And you also must have heard that our Lyonpo X delivers formal speeches in Dzongkha that is literally written in English. But most of us must have done this too.
 I had a very good and a close friend who delivered her first Dzongkha speech in the morning assembly of summer of 2004, NIE, Samtse. She bluntly admitted that it was her first time delivering formal speeches in Dzongkha and she be excused if she made any mistakes. Understandable.  Some 500+ trainees made long faces and booed her as she stammered with her Dzongkha speech written in large english words!
The office of the then Director Thukten Gyatsho formally grounded her for one month for being so blasphemous with our national language.To hide it up, the office mentioned about her "skimpy dress" which was against the dress code and especially against the Teachers' code of conduct! She resigned few years after serving in MoE.
Infact, i have never come to terms with the beauty of Dzongkha. One thing for sure, one can not write or read Dzongkha as fluently as one intends to. I only wish to learn more about the mysterious epistemology of Dzongkha etymology! What is that now?:)
The other day, i debated with Lopen Sonam(a fine Dzongkha teacher and our Vice Principal) in my school. "Why is Dzongkha so difficult to understand?".
Sangay ghi sung Mutigpa tshu ghi ha me go! . Aww
Indeed, all tribes will have a language and if you ask them about the origin, they would proudly claim that it was god-sent language.
After lots of exchange, i challenge him for one practical session. "You take one page from any Dzongkha text while i take one page from any English page. We will read the contents and see who finishes first!?"
Ofcourse, we did not try that competition.
Well, i think, for most of the Bhutanese,written Dzongkha is difficult and the grammar is more ambiguous than any other languages but we have people who would make claims about the beauty of Dzongkha grammar. And that is why i dislike Dzongkha grammar as i said in the beginning of this post.
Back at home, we communicate in Dzongkha. But, Choden would be shocked if i tell her "lets us go May kom Ding!'. It is simple silly, just say "campfire". :)

I would like to substantiate more on this topic but for the brevity of time and research, i abstain from doing it.(Please do not mistake me for being inflammatory and derogatory about our national language. I swear i am a fine Drukpa.).


  1. Spoken Dzongkha is easy to learn and interesting.
    Written one has complicated the whole beauty of language..and DDC complicating more. Why there should be need for inventing new words for every thing? What purpose it will serve,when common users don't gulp it?

  2. I agree with you Dr TT. Bhutanese need to see the scope of our language beyond the cliched claim of our unifying factor. Thanks for the comment

  3. U sounded little cynical there but I couldn't agree less on this. Keep writing.

  4. This is one very honest take on our Language. Without being so emotional I must confess I am not a big fan of Dzongkha either. I wish we could treat Dzongkha as a language and not as the "teaching of Buddha" so that we could make it sound better and easier.
    I like it when it is kept casual, but some people seek to speak "pure dzongkha' and at the end land up sounding like talking Tibetan without anybody to understand.
    I love Kings' Dzongkha. DDC or DDA or what ever should listen to our King's speech.

  5. And Sonam, I love your inclusion of "Choden" in many of your posts, without even introducing her at all. She is so much there in your stories and I have assumed she is your dear wife.
    Many must wonder who is Choden!

  6. haha Passu sir. Thanks for your well meaning comments. At one time, i nearly thought that you never visited my blog.:) Thanks for that sir. To SD, thanks for visiting me. i advise you to keep updating your blog too. Cheers!

    1. Wrong sonam, I in fact may be you first reader every time. I love ur wit, it's not silly.

  7. Nicely written mate!! so even I wont be qualified to even participate in any kind of election if same kind of development happens with our language, frankly speaking I wonder sometimes if DDC people understand themselves what they r speaking!!