This May, a comprehensive 22 volume Urdu Dictionary aptly named ‘Lughat‘ is going online. A project carried out by Urdu Dictionary Board (UDB) is aiming to launch the biggest online searchable dictionary. The one of a kind project is hoping to put Urdu in the global map making Urdu more accessible than it ever has been.
What purpose will the ‘Lughat’ serve?
The online world has meant that more people are turning towards their electronic devices for learning. English – even though it is not spoken globally – has managed to become the ‘lingua franca’ of the internet. The people at UDB understand the modern times and are willing to change themselves accordingly.
The online dictionary is set to become the world’s biggest central database for the Urdu language. It is targeting scholars, researchers, and students all over the world who are learning about the language. It also aims to provide through its easy interface, users quick reference to meaning of Urdu words. As a bonus, the final version will have the exact pronunciation of the word to go as well.
Statement By Chief Editor, Aqeel Abbas Jafri
The 22 volumes of Lughat consist of 22,000 pages compromising of 264,000 words. The mammoth database of Urdu vocabulary has been uploaded at the Board’s website udb.gov.pk. The website wasn’t functional until recently. However, now it’s up and running.
Talking to a local news channel, chief editor Aqeel Abbas Jafri said:
“It will have two features: one, the lughat [dictionary] will be accompanied by a search engine, that is, you can search for words individually and listen to their correct, or different versions of, pronunciation; two, we used to publish a journal Urdunama whose 54 editions were published. Their scanned editions will be available online as well. Apart from that, we have 1,500 rare books printed as far back as 1920 that we intend to scan and upload on a website like Rekhta’s. We have sent the proposal to the authorities concerned for that.”
Jafri further went on to add:
“Mind you, this online activity will benefit not only Pakistani readers but readers and lovers of the Urdu language all across the world. May 20 is our deadline. The reason for this is that all of it is being done properly. Tenders were invited through a transparent process. Tenders were submitted, bidding took place and the one with the lowest bid and the best profile got the job. Now in the first phase, the 22 volumes were composed. In the second phase, proofreading needed to be done. The software for the project has been developed word-wise, not volume-wise, so it took some time in developing the software. Bear in mind, in the published volumes quite a few entries of words were not correct and we need to revisit them. Here [online], unlike published works, we have that comfort to rectify mistakes.”