Foreword

Manipuri Dictionary Project is an ongoing process not just because language is a living thing and you can never put a language in a book, no matter how voluminous it is, written once for all but also because the project has just started.

 

The aim of the project is to list and provide definitions of Manipuri words, both archaic and current speech and writing, along with loan words from other languages (such as English, Hindi, Bengali and Urdu) that have been assimilated into Manipuri life that nobody can say they are not Manupuri words. তেবল, চৌকি, মোজা, বোরা, ইন্তরনেৎ, রেদিও, কবচ, তরবুজ, অলু, কোবী, সাপোন, দুকান, চা, চিনি, চুরূপ, চনা, গমশা, গারী, সাইকল, রিক্সা, and so on are now nothing but Manipuri words. We will make our best effort to explore available written texts to try and find out the first recorded use of every single word to provide them as examples, to document the language. In doing so, we will break words into their smallest meaningful units (morphemes).

 

The dictionary will also reflect local variations in vocabulary and phonology, including those of Meitei Pangals and other linguistic communities who use Manipuri (Meiteilon) at the points of language contact.

 

Manipuri being spoken by nearly 2 million people inside Manipur itself, a dictionary for this language cannot be made by just a few people, without knowing how it is spoken by all sections of society in all walks of life. It is impossible for an individual to know all words, idioms and usages of words of their language because everybody lives in a small space defined by the area of their language (the words and idioms they use), and there are words and idioms you will probably never use in your life--truck drivers, manual laborers, salespersons, pharmacists, street vendors, and so on have their own words and idioms you won't easily understand though they are speaking the same language as you. Moreover, different people prefer different words while they mean more or less the same thing, and which words you use has a lot to do with your identity; there is language politics in it. We, as lexicographers, want to represent all aspects of the language being used, not just one aspect of it. So we invite people from all sections of Manipu's society, from all communities, from all occupations, from all places.

 

After a few years of work, we will look forward to produce the first print edition of the dictionary.

 

The primary focus of the project team is to collect as many words as possible in the shortest period of time practicable. This is a daunting challenge, unless all registers of the language are represented fairly well, in one way or the other. We embarked on this project fully well aware of this challenge.

 

Thoithoi O'Cottage