Ten in Ten Bhutanese don’t play ‘Gongdo Tetha’, they play Snooker and, people hit the discotheques on weekends not ‘Zir Zir Tro khang’.
Likewise, Bhutanese are familiar with the game of badminton not ‘Shogdro-pharful tshurful’, as is called in the dictionary.
Ever since its advent into the country and its school curricula, English has hugely picked-up in terms of popularity and usage. Contrarily, Dzongkha appears to have remained static in its progress to become a dynamic and nationally used language.
It’s usage for the youth is confined within the school walls.
The general opinion is, with the complexity of the grammar and spellings and the strange concoctions that its translation generates from English words, nobody dares to speak the dictionary-directed Dzongkha.
Dzongkha specialist from Dzongkha Development Commission (DDC), Dasho Sangay Dorji said people misunderstand the translation of the words, because people hardly use the translated words and that’s the reason why it is strange to hear.
“It is people’s responsibility to learn how to use the translated words than to ask us to make it user friendly and to simplify the translation,” said Dasho Sangay Dorji.
He said Dzongkha has very less scope which is why Bhutanese don’t give importance to it. There should be more jobs for those proficient in Dzongkha and government should work toward it.
An administrative assistant, Pema, said “I always scored above 80 in Dzongkha while in school but I prefer English at workplace because it is simple and easy compared to Dzongkha”.
Those in-tune with the idiosyncrasy said it only needs a little effort and one should get the hang of it.
A BBS Reporter , Karma Wangmo said, “I don’t have a problem with Dzongkha and I enjoy reading, speaking and writing it. The youth should keep up with Dzongkha. It is very important.”
An RICBL employee Tenzin said Dzongkha is the national language and everyone should make an effort to uphold it. “Instead, the youth make fun of it picking on words which sound typical,” he said.
Dzongkha Development Training Institute’s proprietor, Tolly said, “To safeguard the sovereignty of the nation, we must preserve Dzongkha. The youth including graduates struggle with it, their grammar and silly spelling mistakes show how bad they are in-it. I fear no one will speak and learn Dzongkha in near future”.
He said Dzongkha could be simplified to make it more user-friendly, instead of introdcing exotic words, makingng it more complex.
Tashi Wangchuk owner of the Dzongkha language Institute said, Government and the Education system have picked up English as a medium of communication in schools rather than giving priority to Dzongkha”.
He said, the government does not use Dzongkha as a medium of communication in meetings and other important gatherings. He said even if it is a meeting with foreign delegates, there should be an interpreter in-between.
Currently Dzongkha is barely the medium of communication in meetings, offices, sports field, restaurants or bars.
Ugyen Yangtshok, a graduate from Royal Thimphu College said, “I think it is Government’s responsibility to promote Dzongkha otherwise it will go extinct”.
A Sherubtse College graduate said, “I think my parents and the government should be responsible for it. Firstly parents because I was taught to speak in English since my childhood days and now I am facing difficulties. Secondly the government as in schools and colleges less importance is stretched for Dzongkha.”
A widely expressed view among the youth is that students learn Dzongkha just to get-by exams. There is also the peer-pressure to look at Dzongkha as a language spoken by those with a low ‘cool-quotient’, as a language employed solely by conservative people.
These are some expressed factors that deter the young and impressionable from freely wielding the language. Students also say that, Dzongkha is not as important and applicable as English which is an international language.
Even in parliament except for a few well-versed MPs, most of them struggle to lay-down their arguments.