How many letters does the Odia alphabet have?

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New Delhi: In order to address the controversies arising as regards the exact number of letters in the Odia alphabet, an international webinar was organised by the New Delhi based group, ‘Odisha Positive’ on Sunday. Many Odia linguists and linguistic enthusiasts from different countries including India participated in the weminar. It was moderated by Dr. Anindita Sahoo of IIT, Madras.

At the outset Mr. Sanjib Kumar Mohanty, convenor of ‘Odisha Positive’explained the purpose behind organizing such a webinar and highlighted the role played by Odisha Positive in promoting the Odia ethos.

Eminent linguist Professor Dr. Panchanan Mohanty elaborated on the need for a consensus on the exact number of letters in the Odia alphabet. He said that the variance in this respect found in different text books were causing confusion among the learners of the Odia language.

Among the others who participated in the discussion were Prashant Bhuyan from Canada, OSA president Kuku Das from USA, Dr. Prabhati Panigrahi from Australia, Sunanda Mishra Panda from Canada, Sheetal Kumar from Myanmar, leading author Charudatt Panigrahi, Sanjeeb Pattnaik, and Debendra Nath Rout, chairman of ‘the Intellect’.

A view emerged that it was advisable to confine the number of letters in Odia alphabet to 50 so that there was no scope for any controversy in this regard. However the other letters beyond this specified number of letters should be placed in a separate category, instead of abolishing them. Such of those letters which are frequently not in use could be retrieved for use as and when it was felt extremely necessary. On conclusion of the session Nihar Satpathy thanked all the participant for having accorded their interest in the webinar

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