OUP launches Assamese and a mini-Bengali dictionary

To mark the occasion of International Mother Language Day, observed on 21 February every year, the Oxford University Press (OUP), a department of the University of Oxford, announced the launch of a bilingual English-English-Assamese Dictionary and a new edition of the Oxford mini English-Bengali Dictionary. The launch of these dictionaries ties in with celebrations of International Mother Language Day, also known as Matribhasha Diwas, in promoting linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

28 Feb 2024 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

The new Oxford English-English-Assamese Dictionary incorporates 34,000 words, phrases, idioms, phrasal verbs, and derivatives along with their detailed translations in Assamese.

It also contains over 1,100 synonyms and antonyms and 2,000 keywords to facilitate fluency and vocabulary building in English.  

The design and presentation of the dictionary illustrate the rich cultural heritage, art, and linguistic identity of the state of Assam, with the cover, designed by experienced illustrator Boski Jain, featuring Assamese embroidery, a traditional craft which showcases the skill and creativity of local artisans.

Incorporating 20,000 words and derivatives with meanings in Bengali, the second edition of the Oxford mini English-Bengali Dictionary is an essential guide to English keywords. The design of the dictionary also emphasises the rich cultural and linguistic heritage of Bengal.

The cover, designed by experienced illustrator Boski Jain, features Alpana, a traditional folk-art style from the region consisting of patterns and symbols that are painted on floors and walls with a wet white pigment to mark auspicious occasions.  

The dictionary contains over 20,000 words and derivatives with meanings in Bengali, provides accurate pronunciation of English words in Bengali and Includes grammatical information on irregular nouns, verbs and adjectives.

Sumanta Datta, managing director, Oxford University Press India, said, “Investing in lexical content, providing authoritative dictionaries, and continually monitoring language evolution are integral to OUP's mission. The Oxford mini English-Bengali Dictionary and the Oxford English-English-Assamese Dictionary have been launched through evidence-based lexical research initiatives. Our lexicographers scrutinise authentic word usage to ascertain definitions, spellings, and grammatical nuances, offering guidance based on this meticulous research. Oxford Dictionaries extensively cover new words and derivatives, along with spelling, grammar and pronunciation information, aiding students in mastering English through the support of their mother tongue.”

Bilingual dictionaries like the Oxford Mini English-Bengali dictionary underscore the significance of safeguarding India's diverse linguistic heritage. They seek to enhance cultural consciousness while anchoring students to their linguistic roots.  

OUP India currently publishes dictionaries in 12 Indian languages: Bengali, Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Odia, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, and Hindi. Additionally, a 13th language will soon be introduced with the release of a trilingual dictionary in Sanskrit-Hindi-English.

Sumanta added, “Oxford Dictionaries are a significant component of OUP’s publishing legacy, establishing us as the foremost dictionary publisher globally. Available in over 40 languages, including 13 Indian languages, our dictionaries have been a trusted resource for millions of language learners, encompassing students, educators, professionals, and general readers.”