Madhya-Purbiya Tharu

Word collection dates: 
Tuesday, 9 September, 2014 to Wednesday, 17 September, 2014
Total days: 
Kathmandu, Nepal
Total participants: 
Avg daily participants: 
Avg hours/day: 
Avg participant groups: 
Avg Participants per group: 
Total domains treated: 
Total raw words collected: 
Local context: 
The workshop was held at the SIL Nepal Office complex. The participants lived 12 - 18 hours away by and they came to Kathmandu for the workshop. They were lodged in two different local hostels, which provided breakfast and supper. Lunch was provided at the SIL Office.
% Words glossed: 
% Words entered: 
Software used: 
FLEx v 8.1

Participants (54)


Verna Stutzman, MA, MAC, SIL International

Consultants-in-training: (include education level)

  1. Mari-Sisko Khadgi, MA
  2. Netra Mani Dumi Rai, MA

Coordinators (include education level):

  1. Mari-Sisko Khadgi, MA (SIL Nepal)
  2. Sushil Subba, Director of Mother Tongue Center Nepal (MTCN)

Logistics Manager:

  1. Asha Moktan
  2. Ram Bahadur Choudhary

Record Keeper:

Diwakar Man Shrestha, BSc

Team Leaders

  1. Prem Lal Gachhadar
  2. Om Prakash Chaudhary
  3. Hari Narayan Chaudhary
  4. Santa Kumar Chaudahry
  5. Ram Dipak Chaudhary
  6. Ram Logan Chaudhary


  1. Dev Narayan Chaudhary
  2. Pramod Kumar Chaudhary
  3. Hare Ram Chaudhary
  4. Dhirendra Kumar Bishwas
  5. Hari Narayan Chaudhary (Sunsari)
  6. Fakir Lal Das


  1. Bibek Ale
  2. Temba Bhote
  3. Ajay Jimee
  4. Suman Darlami Magar


  1. Samput lal Chaudary
  2. Triyogi Narayan Chaudary
  3. Rajeshwari Chaudhary
  4. Rudra Narayan Chaudhary
  5. Mahesh Chaudhary
  6. Umakant Chaudhary
  7. Khadga Narayan Bishwas

Language Experts

  1. Shyam Charan Chaudhary
  2. Kashi Ram Chaudhary
  3. Lalita Gachhadar
  4. Kashi Lal Chaudhary
  5. Motilal Chaudhary
  6. Manoj Kumar Chaudhary
  7. Hari Prasad Chaudhary
  8. Durga Nand Chaudhary
  9. Ram Prasad Chaudhary
  10. Gita Panjiyar
  11. Jayaram Panjiyar
  12. Chandra Narayan Dhami
  13. Ash Narayan Chaudhary
  14. Dilip Kumar Chaudhary
  15. Sailendra Chaudhary
  16. Chhabilal Chaudhary
  17. Akilesh Kumar Chaudhary
  18. Dinesh Kumar Chaudhary
  19. Agin lal Chaudhary
  20. Jagadish Chaudhary
  21. Pankaj Chaudhary
  22. Alirmala Devi Chaudhary
  23. Madhusudan Chaudhary
  24. Motan Das Thary

Total hours spent collecting words: 

Number of Computers used: 9

Number of Printers used: 1 (+ a local photocopy service)

Project-sharing strategy:

Send/Receive using wifi Internet (Language Depot) and pen drives towards the end when doing it over the internet started to take too much time

Future planning for Language:

  1. Have the community to choose two people for the editing work (on computer)
  2. Have the community to choose a committee (2 people per district) who will make final decisions on which word forms to use as the main entry
  3. Two editors create a clean lexical database for a future print-out of the dictionary
  4. Print-outs will be sent to different districts for feedback and then sent back to the editors for further typing
  5. Any major decicions will need to be done by the committee
  6. Keep updating the edited work on the online dictionary.
  7. For the first printed edition of the dictionary, no English glosses will be printed; The goal is to get the first edition out as soon as possible and then on the basis of that we can get more feedback and corrections and then the second edition will be revised and also English glosses will be added
  8. Is continuing dictionary work needed? Yes

Who is available for the future?

Gita Panjiyar and Sailendra Chaudary for the editing work

Choosing the committee members is still in process

Other languages in this country or region desiring a RWC workshop?

Syuba, Thulung, Eastern Magar, Dhimal, Western Tamang, Darai

In what way was the methodology useful?

The RWC methodology provided a systematic way to collect vocabulary, add Nepali glosses and get words typed in by semantic domains

What is the impact of this workshop?

  1. The Madhya-Purbiya Tharu people have a new sense of the importance of their language and culture, and a renewed vision to develop it.
  2. They have united in their understanding of their new vision as they have demonstrated to themselves that they can unite around a common goal.
  3. They have gained new linguistic insights into their language.
  4. They have gained insights into how powerful and versatile a clean lexical database can be for creating dictionary products for a variety of audiences.
  5. They have been empowered to continue the  editing work of the collected words and publish it as a printed and online dictionary. They have been empowered to continue standardization of their own language.
  6. Locally-based personnel (SIL and MTCN) have been trained to facilitate RWC workshops in the future in other Nepalese language communities.

What were the actual results?

They collected 22,940 words in 1766 semantic domains in 125 folders. Of these, all words were glossed in Nepali, entered into the computer and published on mp-tharu.webonary.org by the end of the word-collection phase.

What contributed to the results?

  1. Verna Stutzman, SIL Dictionary & Lexicography Services Coordinator provided previous experience, clear and  thorough instructions, and computer skills.
  2. Mari-Sisko Khadgi, an SIL linguist, and Netra Mani Dumi Rai, a local linguist, provided encouragement, experience, wisdom, and invaluable linguistic insight into the Madhya-Purbiya Tharu language.
  3. SIL Nepal's  local language software support person, Diwakar Man Shrestha handled all the computer issues with confidence. He also did a great job in the recordkeeping.
  4. The expertise and experience of the local organizing NGO, Mother Tongue Centre Nepal, and their dedicated staff.  They handled all the logistics successfully.
  5. Great typing skills of all the typists, staff of Mother Tongue Centre Nepal (would have been challenging to teach new people how to type Devanagari script in Unicode)
  6. There were 43 Tharu people who were willing to give two weeks of their time and they actively participated in the workshop.  Most people stayed the whole time (4 people left early)
  7. We were able to identify specific groups/individuals to do semantic domains for intimate body parts, child birth (women only), and for grammar issues.
  8. There were adequate funds available for the workshop to happen.Having uninterrupted electricity and Internet access.
  9. The wonderful facilities at SIL Nepal Sanepa office.

What hindered the results?

  1. All of the group leaders, scribes and glossers did not come for the 3 days pre-training.
  2. By day 3 of Word Collection, we realized that there were an insufficient number of glossers and we added more glossers in order to keep up.
  3. Being able to collect 22,940 words is a great achievement, but the glossers were complaining that they had to keep translating and writing certain words over and over again.
  4. We started to get serious problems with Send/Receive via Internet after we hit 12,000 entries.
  5. All the semantic domains were translated into Nepali 3 years ago, but since then version 4 of the semantic domains has been created and there was a mismatch of order of some questions and also several thousand added questions.  We were late in translating the added questions and that was an added stress in the process.
  6. Some of the previously translated questions and semantic domain names did not have very accurate translations.  There is a need to check all of the Nepali translations against the original English questions.
  7. All the typists were not mother tongue speakers. This caused some typing mistakes as they needed to be able to read what was written by hand in the response sheets and then be able to type that in correct way.
  8. Typists and glossers were not taking the folders in the correct numerical order. This resulted in that we were not always able to print a certain semantic domain (like all of 2-Person) for overnight checking.
  9. Orthography has not been resolved yet. Some of the scribes and glossers were not totally familiar with the proposed orthography rules.
  10. Participants were from 6 different districts and had different ways of pronouncing certain words; scribes and people checking printed word lists have been writing words according to their own pronunciation.
  11. Some interpersonal issues caused a major conflict one day.  However, the group was able to solve it and nobody had to leave the workshop because of it.
  12. There were only four women participants.

What might you do differently?

  1. Send each participant a short introduction about the RWC process and a description of their particular task in Nepali before they come to the workshop
  2. Make sure that EVERY team leader, scribe and glosser will participate in the pre-training.
  3. Make sure that we get a list of all participants well in advance.  Then we can also check how many of the participants are wome.
  4. Make sure that 1/3 of the participants will be women.
  5. Have 5-6 glossers and 5-6 typists from the beginning.
  6. Have 1-2 mother tongue Nepali people who will be able to help the glossers to come up with the correct Nepali words (like Netra Mani was doing with the glossers)
  7. Have an extra person doing record-keeping so that Diwakar can be freed for more computer support and float (and also possibly for typing). The recordkeeper should also make sure that the glossers and the typists take the folders in the correct number order.
  8. Have an extra person (doesn't have to be MT speaker) checking Nepali spellings in Flex (or try to get a spelling errors function for Collect Words screen)
  9. Set up a system to print the work done (entered) on a certain day
  10. Think through a good practice how people should check the work done on that day in the evening (both MT word and Nepali meaning)
  11. Think through a good practice how to do Send/Receive, especially once we start to have trouble doing it via internet (possibly pass a pen drive around in a set order and have one person to upload it to the internet; an extra computer may be needed for that as it can take a long time (more than 30mins)
  12. Have One MT speaker to do /help with corrections during the workshop

What was set in place for ongoing follow-up?

Mari-Sisko, Diwakar and MTCN (Mother Tongue Centre Nepal) will continue to follow-up the ongoing work mentioned under section 22.

Other impact:

  1. When people saw that the collected words could be published online (Webonary.org) as fast as they were entered into the computer, they were wowed!
  2. People were excited about the possibility to be able to add their comments in Webonary.  1/3 of the participants said that they have access to internet (half at home and half in a local internet café).

Comments from the participants:

  1. By collecting words using the RWC strategy, it has helped us to preserve these words which were on the verge of extinction. –Gita Panjiyar
  2. This will be our community’s first dictionary. I’m feeling very happy and emotional at the same time. It will help our Tharu school children, our communities, and the researchers. –Rajeshwori Chaudhary
  3. Having a dictionary in our own language will make us more responsible to engage in the betterment of our community. It will unite the Tharus of 22 districts of Nepal. –Prem Lal Chaudary
  4. This RWC workshop helped to collect a huge number of Tharu words. This will help our children and community to know more about our Tharu language. –Ram P. Chaudhary
  5. This RWC workshop will be the cornerstone for the development of the Tharu community in the future. –Dhirendra Kumar Bishwas
  6. We would like to thank Verna for coming all the way from Texas to help us organize our words. –Anonymous
  7. I heartily want to thank SIL for organizing the RWC workshop. –Anonymous

Though we are one ethnic Tharu community, we had not collected and stored our language, which nearly resulted in its extinction. We are deeply thankful to SIL International for bringing together ethnic Tharus from 12 districts of Nepal and helping us collect and sort the Tharu language. –Anonymous