The use of Dzongkha on a daily basis is not being taken seriously by the Bhutanese and people might see an ugly picture in the future. The mixing of Dzongkha and English while speaking, popularly known as Dzonglish, can be heard almost everywhere from discussion among a group of friends about their weekend plans to a group of students discussing about their assignment, but if it comes to speaking in a formal gathering, many find difficulty in conveying the message across. It can be viewed that people speak Dzonglish among themselves which is not very wise. This issue has been raised a lot of times, but no one cares to bat an eye. It is possible that we may not agree on the level of intensity of this issue, but we cannot deny its dominance in speaking on a daily basis.
People reason that whenever they speak Dzongkha, they can’t help themselves to not use English words because they feel that they are able to express themselves more compared to using only Dzongkha. Some even say that those who speak English look standard and stylish, but the critical listeners might say otherwise. Many blame that Dzongkha is a complicated language with confusing spellings and unexpressive words. But do these reasons weigh more than the need to protect our national language? Should we give in to our conveniences? The Bhutanese have to keep in mind that Dzongkha’s gradual loss as the dominant language can be very catastrophic to our nation’s culture.
The Dzongkha Development Commission does their best to come up with new names for commonly used words but people criticize their competency. They blame DDC for making words that are hard to adapt and to use in their daily lives. So who is to be blamed for this major obstacle? Is it the ignorance of the people to not learn properly or is it the incompetency of the DDC for not making it user friendly? Learning language can be hard, but there needs to an interest to improve by the institution and adapt by the public. Japanese is not an easy language but they use their language without anyone mixing it with English everyday which makes them a good example for us to learn from. Even if we are not able to perform like them, the least we can do is not mix the two languages.
Measures are taken to strengthen the use of Dzongkha among people by the government but speaking Dzongkha has become unnatural for the Bhutanese. This should not be the case as a GNH society who needs to hold language with utmost importance. We must be mindful to not mix the two because the essences of both the languages are compromised. Who is going to protect our language if not us? We are the only native speakers and that should be on the back of everyone’s mind. We should not wait for statistics to tell us that our national language has been compromised!
Choden Wangmo – The writer is a second year English Student at RTC, Thimphu.