Shankar Bennur

Besides giving meaning, they will have information on the usage of words

‘The dictionaries will go a long way in supporting the National Translation Mission’

The concept of dictionaries is changing

fast: expert

MYSORE: Linguists at the Mysore-based Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) are working on an ambitious project of producing dictionaries in 11 Indian languages, based on a popular model of language dictionary concept of Longman, one of the oldest and prestigious publishers in the United Kingdom.

A team of language experts are working on the dictionaries that are different from the regular ones which contain a list of words in alphabetical order with their meanings explained in another language.

Besides giving the meaning of words, the dictionaries — from English to 11 Indian languages — will contain information on their usage.

The CIIL, which is under the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development, was established with a view to assist and co-ordinate the development of Indian languages. The institute is charged with the responsibility of serving as a nucleus to bring together all the research and literary output from various linguistic streams to a common head and narrow the gap between basic research and development, and research in the field of languages in India.

“The dictionaries give a broad perspective about words and their usage besides their comprehensive meaning. Such dictionaries are helpful in translation work,” said linguist Lingadevaru Halemane, who heads the Education Technology and Media Studies of Bhasha Mandakini, CIIL.

He told The Hindu that the dictionaries were being produced taking the Indian context into consideration.

On completion of the project, the dictionaries, including those in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Konkani, Oriya, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and Malayalam, would go a long way in supporting the National Translation Mission, a massive translation project being undertaken by the CIIL with the support of various institutions and publishers, he said.

“The CIIL had produced several bilingual dictionaries and inter-language dictionaries, but the ongoing project is different from the previous exercises since the linguists are going beyond giving meaning of words, besides ensuring the usefulness of the dictionaries better than the previous ones,” Prof. Halemane said.

According to Prof. Halemane, words used in different contexts will also be made available in the dictionaries besides giving their different meanings. “The concept of dictionaries is changing fast with improvement in languages,” he added.


The concept of synergy-based classification of words is the new practice where in words are classified based on their usage and also frequency of their use.

“The purpose is to produce a combination of words and thesaurus with precise definition of words,” Prof. Halemane added.