KAS underscores need for standardization of Khasi spellings

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SHILLONG, Feb 23: Underscoring the need for a standardized spelling mode for words in the Khasi language, the Khasi Authors’ Society (KAS) will soon write to the state government and the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), seeking their action in this regard.

The decision came up during the release of a book entitled – “La donkam ban pynbeit noh ia ka jingspel dak i aka ktien Khasi” – which means “There is a need to standardize the spelling of the Khasi language”.

The 27 page book published by the Editor of SP News Agency Starfing JL Pdahkasiej was released by the Director of Arts & Culture W Nongsiej in presence of KAS president Dr DRL Nonglait at the Shillong Press Club here on Saturday.

Earlier in his speech as guest of honor, Dr Nonglait admitted that the issue highlighted in the book is important as there is a need to make Khasi spelling more consistent.

“The Khasi Authors’ Society will be writing to the Department of Arts & Culture and NEHU to start a project to standardize spelling in the Khasi language. For this, we need to come up with Khasi pronouncing dictionary which also involves phonetic symbols,” he said.

Asserting the need to have a body to take up this issue, Dr Nonglait said that the KAS and Achik Literature Society (ALS) have been made autonomous literary bodies in the state through a resolution adopted by the State Assembly last year.

The resolution passed was in connection to the demand for inclusion of both Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.

“However, till date, the state government is yet to frame the rules for the autonomous literary body. Therefore, we will soon take up this matter with the state government for speeding up this process,” he said.

The KAS chief further stated that standardization of the Khasi spelling can be achieved only if the KAS, NEHU, education department and the Meghalaya Board of School Education (MBOSE) work together.

He informed that steps have been taken at the level of the NEHU but unfortunately at present there is no coordination between the university and the state education department.

While addressing on the occasion, the Arts & Culture director assured that the department will give this issue a top priority status.

“We are ready to extend our support to this issue through funding. I agree there is a need to have a body which will look into this matter of importance,” Nongsiej said while lauding the efforts of the agency in publishing the book.

In his introductory remark, Pdahkasiej, a senior journalist who has been associating with many vernacular dailies for past 25 years, said that the book aims at highlighting the importance of using correct spelling while writing in the Khasi language.

According to him, at present there is no consistency in Khasi spellings because even though people are speaking the same language they spell the words thereof differently.

However, Dr Nonglait said there are different schools of thought on this matter but are not based on language theory.