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PESHAWAR: Research scholars and computer experts have termed learning computer skills a prerequisite for preservation and promotion of Pashto language and its various dialects.

Speaking at a workshop at UoP’s Pashto Academy on Friday, they said that such events would trigger a spirit of creative research work among the young students to explore several aspects of formal and natural forms of languages and its dialects. the second day’s workshop sessions inspired the young trainers to utilise their capabilities for a productive outcome.

The workshop was divided into five sessions to cover all key aspects of Pashto language and how to collect data and save it on the computer for academic and fieldwork purposes. Learning computer skills is not an option but a strong need for access to any kind of data information and authentic sources across the globe, the participants said.

The speakers were of the view that computational linguistics should be made mandatory for research on languages, its dialects, its variations and other features and be made available for others to benefit from it.

“We need to take ahead the research done by orientalists on Pashto language and literature more than 100 years ago for their own political motives. Our so-called experts had done nothing substantive during the last so many decades to prepare our youth for facing cyber challenges,” regretted the scholars.

Prof Umar Usman Marwat, the keynote speaker at the workshop, noted with regret that no substantial work was done to preserve and promote Pashto language and its variations to make it a viable data for sustainable economic development. He said that learning computer linguistics was a new phenomenon, but not that difficult to master it. Giving tips about data preservation, he said that efforts should be made to avoid fake research sites on a particular subject.

Prof Marwat said that learning computer skills was a must for linguists, research scholars and those interested in exploring the treasure of language.

Young research scholar, Mohammad Ali working at the Area Study Centre, UoP, said that the youth were yet to realize the significance of learning of computational linguistics to promote their academic cause. He said he and his colleagues learnt about different ways about how to collect record and insert data collected through field visits and to make it available for academic and research purposes. He said that a few linguists in Pashto had worked on its grammar, syntax and morphology, but left out many other important features.

Prof Bushra Khatoon, another research scholar, said young students were required to use modern gadgets for research and academic purposes. She said involving youth in research-oriented projects would help them reduce trend of misusing internet and other modern tools.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2018