Native speakers
9,000 (2002)[1]
  • Munda
    • South
      • Gutob-Remo
        • Bonda
Language codes
ISO 639-3bfw

The Bonda language, also known as Bondo or Remo, is a south Munda language of the Austroasiatic language family spoken in Odisha, formerly known as Southern Odisha, in India.[3] It had 2,568 speakers, all in Odisha, according to the 1951 Census of India,[4] increasing to approximately 9,000 speakers in 2002 according to SIL.[5]


The Bonda language is an indigenous language belonging to the Southern subgroup of the Munda branch of the Austroasiatic language family.[1] Bonda is a spoken language with no traditional written system recorded. Bonda is a part of the Gutob-Remo branch, due to the similarities Bonda shares with another Southern Munda Language named Gutob[3]


The Bonda language derives its name from the tribe of the Bonda people, an indigenous group located in Odisha known as the Bonda Highlanders. In their native language, the Bonda people regard themselves as "Remo', which translates to human, and derive their language name from that root, calling their language as the human language or 'Remosam' in their native tongue[6]

Geographic distribution

The language differs slightly, classified according to whether it can be categorized as Plains Remo (Bonda) or Hill Remo (Bonda).[3]

Plains Remo

This is a subdivision of Bonda, localized in 35 villages throughout the Khairpat within the Malkangiri district in Odisha. In 1941, 2,565 people categorized the Plains Remo. That number nearly doubled in 1971, with 4,764 people classifying themselves as Plains Remo. The increase in population was not correlated with language extension.[3] There are 3,500 speakers as of 2002, but few are monolingual.[5]

Hills Remo

This is a subdivision of Bonda, localized in the Jeypore Hills region of Odisha.[3] There are 5,570 speakers as of 2002.[5]



In Bonda, primary stress is placed on the last syllable in a word, syllables with diphthongs, glottal stops, or checked consonants.[7] However, Plains Remo primarily stresses the second syllable in a word.[3] Bonda words can have a maximum of 5 syllables.[7]


Diphthongs are placed either in the beginning or middle of a word, usually used in combination of two different vowel types.[7]

Bonda Translation[3]
lean tongue
bois age
guidag to wash
otoi not to be
dau small


There are 33 consonants in the Bonda language.[7]

Bilabial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless p t ʈ c k ʔ
voiceless aspirated ʈʰ
voiced b d ɖ ɟ ɡ
voiced aspirated ɖʱ ɟʱ ɡʱ
Fricative voiceless s h
voiced (z)
Nasal m n ɳ ɲ ŋ
Approximant l ɭ j w
Trill r

/z/ only occurs in loanwords from Odia.[7]


Bonda has 5 vowel phonemes: /a, e, i, o, u/.[8]

In Bonda, vowels are nasalized and clusters are commonplace.[7]



Bonda follows the SOV (Subject + Object + Verb) sequence, but other word orders are possible.[7]


Age and gender serve as classification denominations for individuals. Female names end in /-i/ and male names end in /-a/. Animals are also distinguished by gender.[7]

Compound verb

The compound verb is not frequently used in Bonda and can be used as a conjunctive participle.[9]


Kinship terminology

In Kinship terms, the velar nasal, ŋ, is often used. Various kinship terms also represent multiple positions.[10]

Bonda English Gloss[10]
baʔ Father
iyɔŋ Mother
remɔ Man
mpɔr Husband
kunui Wife
bɔrai Aunt
busã Uncle
tata Grandfather
ya/iya Father's Mother/Mother's Mother
maŋ Eldest brother
miŋ Elder sister
ileʔǐ Grandchild
masɔ Nephew


  1. ^ a b Bonda at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Bonda language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Anderson, Gregory (2008). The Munda Languages. New York: Routledge. pp. 557–631. ISBN 9780415328906.
  4. ^ N. Gopalakrishnan, Linguistic Survey of India, p. 271
  5. ^ a b c "Bondo". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  6. ^ Dash, Jagannatha; Pati, Rabindra (2002). Tribal and Indigenous People of India: Problems and Prospects. New Delhi: APH Publishing Corporation. pp. 136–144. ISBN 978-8176483223.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Swain, Rajashree (1998). "A Grammar of Bonda Language". Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute. 58/59: 391–396. JSTOR 42930587.
  8. ^ a b DeArmond, Richard (1976). "Proto-Gutob-Remo-Gtaq Stressed Monosyllabic Vowels and Initial Consonants". Oceanic Linguistics Special Publications. 13 (13): 213–217. JSTOR 20019157.
  9. ^ Hook, Peter (1991). "The Compound Verb in Munda: An Areal and Typological Overview" (PDF). Language Sciences. 13 (2): 181–195. doi:10.1016/0388-0001(91)90013-Q. hdl:2027.42/29571.
  10. ^ a b Bhattacharya, Sudhibhushan (1970). "Kinship Terms in the Munda Language". Anthropos. 65 (3/4): 444–465. JSTOR 40457389.