In a bid to bridge the linguistic and literary gap among Konkani speakers, the Goa University is planning to digitise and transliterate the multi-script language, a varsity official said on Tuesday. The university will use 'Konkanverter', developed by the World Konkani Centre at Mangaluru in Karnataka, to transliterate (convert text from one script to another) Konkani texts, he said. Konkani, a multi-script language, can be written in Devanagari, Roman, Kannada, Malayalam and Perso-Arabic.
The initiative comes after the university's English department conducted a detailed research on digitisation of Konkani texts and their transliteration. "The study explores the possibility of having a cross-orthographical readership of Konkani using Konkanverter, which will not only increase readership and production of literature, but also help create Konkani digital archive," according to the university's website.
The research was conducted by Palia Tukaram Gaonkar, a doctoral scholar with the English department, and associate professor Dr Andre Rafael Fernandes. "Konkani was recognised as the official language of Goa in 1961. It survived despite political threats under the Portuguese rule and contention with Marathi. These hardships have diversified the nature of Konkani," the researchers said in their study.
The study mentioned that Konkani is spoken in several dialects in Goa and elsewhere, and is written in five different scripts, owing to the migration of Konkani people from the state over centuries. There are Konkani communities also in the neighbouring states of Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra, which are heavily influenced by the dominant local culture. Hence, Konkani is written in Devanagari, Roman, Kannada, Malayalam and Perso- Arabic scripts, it noted.
"This phenomenon creates a linguistic and literary gap in the community of Konkani speakers," it added. Dr Prakash Parienkar, head of the university's Konkani department, said, "We are happy with the research and it is very important today to digitise and transliterate the Konkani texts, which are valuable assets."