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Bodo language

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Bodo language

Bodo
Mech
बड़ो
Native to India, with a few small communities in Nepal
Ethnicity Bodo, Mech
Native speakers
2.5 million (Bodo 1.9 million), (Mech 0.6 million)  (2011 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 brx
Glottolog bodo1269[2]

Bodo (Devnagari: बड़ो) (pronounced ), or Mech, is the Sino-Tibetan language of the Bodo people of north-eastern India and Nepal. It is one of the official languages of the Indian state of Assam, and is one of the 22 scheduled languages that is given a special constitutional status in India. Bodo language is written using Devanagari script. Earlier it was written using Roman Script. Devanagari has been used for Bodo since 1963.

History and linguistic classification

Bodo is a Sino-Tibetan language of the Bodo group. It is closely related to the Dimasa language of Assam, the Garo language of Meghalaya and the Kokborok language of Tripura. The Bodo speaking areas of Assam stretch from Dhubri in the west to Sadiya in the east. In Alipurduar,Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri and other adjacent districts of Bengal, the Boros are known as "Mech". The population of Boro speakers according to 1991 census report was 1,984,569 (Bodo 1,324,748), (Mech 659,821). The census reports of Bodo tribe, however, comprises only the Bodos, excluding Mech tribe. The word Boro denotes the language and the community and it is pronounced with a high tone on the second syllable.

The dialects spoken in this area could be broadly sub-divided into three main groups:

  1. The Western Boro dialect, {(Sønabari) WBD}:
  2. The Eastern Boro dialect, {(Sanzari) EBD} and
  3. The Southern Boro dialect, {(Hazari) SBD}.

The Western Boro dialects are spoken in the districts of Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon and the Eastern Bodo dialects are found mainly in the districts of Barpeta, Nalbari and Kamrup and some parts of Darrang as well. It is worthwhile to mention that the Western Boro dialect has gained the status of Standard Dialect and has developed a written form as well. The variations between these two dialect groups are mainly phonological and lexical.

The University Grants Commission has included Bodo as subject in NET examination.

The beginning

Although the Bodo language is a rich and ancient language, it did not have written literature until the second decade of the twentieth century. Christian missionaries, who entered the Bodo speaking areas with an intent to preach their religion, published some books on religion, tales, rhymes and songs. These missionaries also published some books on grammar and dictionary. Reverend Sidney Endle compiled An Outline of the Kachari Grammar in 1884. The grammar is based on the dialect of Darrang district. Endle also wrote an important monograph on the Bodos. The monograph is entitled The Kacharis. The book was published in 1911 and it contains chapters on social customs, agriculture practices, festivities, food habits, life cycle rituals, crafts and textiles of the Bodos. The book has also incorporated specimens of Bodo folktales, rhymes and grammars. J.D. Anderson's Collection of Bodo Folktales and Rhymes (1895) incorporated seventeen Bodo folktales translated into English, besides the original versions in Bodo language.

History

Bodo dance

In the aftermath of socio-political awakening and movement launched by the Bodo organizations since 1913, the language was introduced as the medium of instruction (1963) in the primary schools in Bodo dominated areas. The Bodo language serves as a medium of instruction up to the secondary level and an associated official language in the state of Assam. The language has attained a position of pride with the opening of the post-graduate course in Bodo language and literature in the University of Guwahati in 1996. The Bodo language has to its credit large number of books of poetry, drama, short stories, novels, biography, travelogues, children's literature and literary criticism. Though the spoken language has been affected by other communities, especially the Bengalis, in and around Kokrajhar, it is still to be heard in its pure form, in and around Udalguri district.

Bodo culture has come from its original Bathou religion, which involves the worshiping of the sun, the sky, the air, water and the earth. Bathou or Bathow is the supreme god in this religion.

Writing system

The language is officially written using the Devanagari script, although it also has a long history of using the Latin script and Assamese script.[3] Some researchers have suggested that the language used to use a now-lost script called Deodhai.

But there is a difference in using the letters in Bodo than the Devanagari. Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha gathered a few specimen of the Deodhai alphabet from an informant of Dimapur area which was noted for the Kachari reign an remains representing the art and architecture.

See also

References

  1. ^ Bodo at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Bodo (India)". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Prabhakara, M S Scripting a solution, The Hindu, May 19, 2005.

External links

  • Abley, Mark (2006) The Verbs of Boro, Lost Magazine, March 2006
  • Bodoland.org
  • Boro Language
  • Bodo computing resources at TDIL
  • Language Information Service – India
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