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Dimasa
Grao-Dima /গ্ৰাউ-ডিমা
Native toIndia
RegionAssam, Nagaland
EthnicityDimasa
Native speakers
137,184 (2011 census)[1]
Latin script, Bengali-Assamese script
Language codes
ISO 639-3dis
Glottologdima1251
ELPDimasa

The Dimasa language is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken by the Dimasa people in Northeastern part of India , states of Assam and Nagaland. The Dimasa language is known to Dimasas as "Grao-Dima" and it is similar to Boro, Kokborok and Garo language of India.

Etymology

The Dimasa language is one of the oldest languages spoken in North East India, particularly in Assam, Nagaland. The word Dimasa etymologically translates to "Son of the big river" (Dima-river, sa-sons), the river being the mighty Brahmaputra. The Dimasa word "Di" meaning water, forms the root of the names of many of the major rivers of Assam and of North East India in general, such as Dibang which means plenty of water, Diyung which means huge river, Dikrang, which means green river, Dikhow, which means fetched water, and many others. The mighty river Brahmaputra is known as Dilao (long river) among the Dimasas even now. Many of the important towns and cities in Assam and Nagaland received their names from Dimasa words such as Diphu, Dimapur (a capital of the Dimasa Kingdom), Hojai, Khaspur, etc. In fact, the Dimasa language is one of the last languages of North East India to retain its original vocabulary without being compromised by foreign languages.[2]

Geographical distribution

Dimasa is spoken in:

Phonology

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Vowels

There are six vowels in Dimasa language.

Vowels
Front Central Back
IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script
Close i i u u
Close-mid e e o o
Mid ə e
Open a a

Diphthongs

Diphthongs
i e o u
i iu
e ei eo
a ai ao
o oi
u ui
ə əo

Consonants

There are sixteen consonants in the Dimasa language.

Consonants
Labial Alveolar Dorsal Glottal
IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script
Nasal voiceless m m
voiced n n ŋ ng
Stop aspirated ph th kh
voiced b b d d ɡ g
Fricative voiceless s s
voiced z z ɦ h
Flap/Trill voiced ɾ r
Approximant voiceless j y
voiced w w
lateral l l

Grammar

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Dimasa language is an inflectional language. The verbs are inflected for number, tense, case, voice, aspect, mood but not for gender and person.

Nouns

The nouns can be proper, common, abstract, collective etc.

Proper Nouns

Deringdao (Dimasa male name), Lairingdi (Dimasa female name)

Common nouns

Miya/Mia/Mya (boy), Masainjik (girl)

Abstract nouns

Khajama (happiness), Dukhu (sadness)

Pronouns

Ang (1st person singular)
Jing (1st person plural)
Ning (2nd person singular)
Nisi (2nd person plural)
Bo (3rd person singular)
Bunsi (3rd person plural)

Adjectives

Guju- Tall, Gedé- big

Sentence syntax

Usually it is of S+O+V type. For example:
Ang (S) makham (O) jidu (V).
That means I am having food.

Another one,
Bo (S) makham jidu.
That means - He/she is having food.

Thus, the verb is rarely inflected for person and gender.

It can also be of the type O+ V+ S. For example:
Makham (O) jidu (V) ang(S).
That also means - I am having food.

Writing system

Dimasa is written using Latin script, which has been introduced in the lower primary education system in Dima Hasao District. The main guiding force behind it is the Dimasa Lairidim Hosom, a literary apex body of the Dimasa community.[3]

The Bengali script is used in Cachar, where the Bengali people live alongside Dimasas.[4]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". www.censusindia.gov.in. Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  2. ^ Endle 1911, p. 4.
  3. ^ http://online.assam.gov.in/tribes_of_assam#Dimasa Archived 30 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine Kachari
  4. ^ "Index of languages by writing system". www.omniglot.com. Retrieved 18 April 2018.

References

  • Brahma, Pratima (2014). Phonology and morphology of Bodo and Dimasa: a comparative study (PhD). hdl:10603/21160.