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Konkani going places; first Wikimania, next Wikipedia

M Raghuram, DNA  

Mangalore/Bangalore: For the first time, the world will hear Konkani spoken by people in the coastal states of Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. And it will be heard at Wikimania, the world conference on language interface and web media being organised by the Wikipedia group at Haifa in Israel starting on August 2.


For the first time, Konkani will be interfaced with other Indian languages, which will be shown to the world. Thanks to the research done on inter-script transliteration programme by the Konkani Language and Cultural Foundation at the World Konkani Centre located here, experts around the world will have a glimpse of the rich literature, traditions, music, theatre and culture of Konkani people in 'plug in' form.


"It means a whole lot of things to the development of Konkani. The new research programme, which has fructified just recently, will open a new world to the Konkani language and culture," said director of the Konkani Language and Cultural Foundation Basti Vaman Shenoy.


"For the first time, Konkani language will break away from the barriers of scripts, giving it a universal acceptance and understanding," Shenoy said.


Two Konkani scholars Gurudutt Buntwalkar, who is also assistant director of the World Institute of Konkani at Mangalore, and Hariprasad Nadig have conceptualised this inter-script transliteration programme in 'plug in' version. By doing do, they have clearly emerged as pioneers in this concept for Konkani.


Giving an exclusive preview to DNA, Gurudutt articulated on the concept.


"Usage of multiple scripts in Konkani language has been hindering sharing of knowledge between the communities which speak the same language but are separated by usage of script. In the advent of Internet, technology has enabled an accessible knowledge-sharing platform for Indian languages through Unicode. The ability to 'search' in Indic scripts as well as to do 'transliteration' and 'translation' for the Indian language content has enabled more avenues," said Gurudutt.


An initial effort to create a Konkani Wikipedia lost its momentum because of script conflict.
 
It was a real obstacle to the users to create four different pages in four scripts for each content page without which the content created in the language would limit itself for the specific region which the script is in use.


Hence, the Konkani language Wikipedia is still at the incubator stage.

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