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Student compiles dictionary to bring Laos and Indonesia closer

Creating a dictionary is not easy – the writer must have a large vocabulary and a good knowledge of the languages involved - but it was not hard for outstanding Lao student Mr Souphanith Vongsengthong.
Mr Souphanith, or Lou, 24, shared his experiences in writing an Indonesian-Lao dictionary, which has received a good response from Lao students currently studying in Indonesia.
Mr Souphanith was awarded a Darmasiswa scholarship from the Indonesian government through the Embassy of Indonesia to Laos in 2013 and he graduated in 2014.

Mr Souphanith Vongsengthong.

He received an exchange scholarship to study Indonesian culture and language at the University of Bina Drama.
After he learnt about the scholarship, his friends asked him why he chose to study in Indonesia given that the country does not use the English language. At first, he didn’t know himself why he chose to study there.
While studying in Indonesia, he knew that he must learn Indonesian as well as Lao and English.
One day, the World Bank office in Jakarta invited him to interpret during a seminar attended by a group of Lao people. He said he was very happy to be given this opportunity. 
It was this occasion that sparked the idea of writing an Indonesian-Lao dictionary, an undertaking he embarked upon for two reasons.
First of all, he found it difficult to communicate with Indonesian people. Few spoke English and it was not easy to find an Indonesian-Lao dictionary on sale anywhere.
Secondly, he thought it would be a good way of introducing the Lao language to Indonesia and spreading it through Asean countries.
He hopes the dictionary will enhance the relationship between Lao and Indonesian people.
The dictionary consists of about 3,000 words of basic vocabulary and grammar.
After he finished the dictionary he didn’t expect any recognition, his only aim was to help his fellow Lao students in Indonesia.
The dictionary attracted interest from the university where Lou was studying, which paid for 100 copies to be printed. The dictionary is now available at bookstores in Laos and Indonesia.
His dictionary has received a lot of interest from Lao students who are studying or planning to study in Indonesia.
Souphanith said he didn’t know any Indonesian words when he started but promised himself he would learn to speak the language within three months.
He studied hard and tried to speak with Indonesian people everywhere he went. His efforts paid off and he learned to speak the language within the three months’ target he set for himself.

By Viengdavanh Banphahaksa
(Latest Update October 31 , 2017 )

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