Karnataka gets its first ever Beary language dictionary
In a landmark move to preserve a dying language, the first ever Beary-English-Kannada dictionary was inaugurated in Mangaluru on Monday.
The dictionary was inaugurated by district in-charge Minister, Ramanath Rai.
The Karnataka Beary Sahitya Academy brought out this dictionary in the Beary dialect as it is spoken by Muslims in some parts of Karnataka.
This 841-page dictionary, which took three years to prepare, has 10,000 words and costs Rs 700. The academy has printed 1,000 first copies.
“When we had started this project, we were aiming for over 35,000 words, but we could only come up with 10,000 words. Beary is mostly spoken in coastal Karnataka, but also in pockets of other areas. Most of the words in this dictionary is of the Beary spoken in Dakshina Kannada but some words which are spoken in other areas have also been included. At least it is a start,” said Professor BM Ichlangod, editor of the dictionary.
Professor Ichlangod said that three-years of work has revealed Beary’s close links to Kannada, Tulu and Malayalam.
“Historically, a lot of tribes from other parts of south India had settled in what is now modern Karnataka. We fight over state resources but the language has linked the people of Karnataka and Kerala. This is not the end of it, as years go by, more words will be added and the dictionary will be revised on a regular basis. Beary had remained a dialect but with the written word, it marks the first step to making it a language with structure,” Professor Ichlangod added.
Retired Professor B Surendra Rao from Mangaluru University, who was part of the team, was responsible for assigning English meanings for the Beary words. Professor Rao said that Beary is also spoken in certain European and West Asian countries as well.
“The committee which was set up to work on the dictionary is thinking of writing to the government to introduce Beary as a third language choice in schools,” Professor Rao said.
BA Mohammad Hanif, President of the Karnataka Beary Sahitya Academy and the Chief Editor of the dictionary, said that it is a momentous occasion for the Beary community.
“Beary is spoken by the Muslim communities like Nawayath in Uttara Kannada, Mappilas in the Mlabar coast and also in Dakshina Kannada. The Beary community first settled in Dakshina Kannada over 1300 years ago. Currently about 80% of the community resides in the district so it would be wise to teach it as a third language,” Professor Mohammad Hanif added.