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A dictionary for the dialect of Barisal

  • Published at 04:48 pm March 13th, 2018
  • Last updated at 06:17 pm March 22nd, 2018
A dictionary for the dialect of Barisal
Borishaler Bhashar Obhidhan by Muhammad Mohsin is a unique collection of the words, phrases, idioms and proverbs, and expressions used in a dialect known broadly as the dialect of Barisal, a historically and culturally rich province in southern Bangladesh. It differs from normal dictionaries as it doesn’t document the standard language used throughout the province and in other parts of the country. Though dictionaries for regional dialects have been published by Bangla Academy, this edition by Kagoj Prokashon is slim and reader-friendly, weighing in at just 218 pages. The book has a user manual instructing how the entries need to be looked up and how they should be spelt.
Every entry provides an example sentence along with its grammatical note. All the definitions are short and useful. Figurative and profane aspects of a word are also indicated, so readers can take hints of their proper usages.
One of the important features of the dictionary is: It logs words that are distinctly provincial, such as Kobila [Wife], Gidar [Sleazy],  Chokkabanijjo [Sly behaviour], Chaaid Goru [Old cow], Tejaitta [Bastard], Peri [Mud], Borha [Snaggle-toothed], to mention but a few. It also includes Bengalicised foreign words spoken in Barisal, like Oicchat [Bequeath], Ojom [Digestion], Odinodi [Ordinary], Istimail [Usage], Oissar [Warning] , Komchekam [The least], Dag [Pot], Deli [Daily], Boija [Impotent], Mucchabba [Handshake], Lam [Lamp], Seponsari [Chiffon] and Hobri [Guava]. Another key feature is the entry of a decent number of words that were used centuries earlier, but are now considered obsolete. Every entry provides an example sentence along with its grammatical note. All the definitions are short and useful. Figurative and profane aspects of a word are also indicated, so readers can take hints of their proper usages. It also indicates the origin of the foreign words and their different phases from root language to regional dialect. Regional dialect dictionary is important because of its concern for one’s own area or region. Borishaler Bhashar Obhidhan is a lovely reminder that colloquialisms were – and still are – bound up with the people from the hinterland, who live away from the metropolis and city centres.