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Memoni
ميموني, મેમોની
Memoni.svg
Native toIndia, Pakistan
RegionKathiawar (Gujarat), Sindh
EthnicityMemons (Kathiawar)
Native speakers

1.8 Million (2014)[1]
Arabic script, Gujarati script, Nastaliq script, Roman Memon[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mby
Glottologmemo1238

Memoni (ميموني, મેમોની) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by Kathiawari Memons from the Kathiawar region of Gujarat, India.

Memon people are a subgroup or an ethnic group that originated in north-western India. After the Indian partition in 1947, Memons of the Kathiawar region migrated to neighboring states, cities and towns within India, but a large number of Memons settled in Karachi, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya and even United States and Canada.

History

The true origin of the Memoni language is still debated among the historians of the region. Memon people speak the language in different styles or accent due to the influence of other languages in areas of settlement. Basically Memoni language is the mixture of Sindhi, Kutchi and Gujarati Languages. Memoni language does not have its alphabetical system of reading and writing, nor having its literature and dictionary. But the language is spoken and inherited by the generations of the Memon people. Due to this reason, Memoni language is differentiated among the speakers in the Memon community. Lately, Haji Mohammed Husein Abdel Kareem Nagani invented the alphabet of Memon language to bring the Memoni language to its highest standard like other major languages in the world.[3]

The Memon community is generally divided into three major subgroups such as Kathiawari Memons (speak the Memoni language) Sindhi Memons (speak the Sindhi language) and Kutchi Memons (speak the Kutchi language). Memons originating in Kathiawar region are simply called Kathiawari Memons and they speak the Memoni language. Memon people from this particular region were largely Muslims that followed the Hanafi Islam.

Sindhi and Kutchi languages are spoken by both Muslims and non-Muslims, in contrast to the Memoni language, which is exclusively spoken by Memons of Kathiawar origin, who are almost entirely Muslims.

In stress, intonation, and everyday speech, Memoni is very similar to Sindhi or Kutchi, but it borrows extensively from Gujarati, Hindustani and Arabic language. Like most languages of the Indian subcontinent the sentence structure of Memoni generally follows subject–object–verb order.[4] Especially in Pakistan, Memoni language has adopted many Urdu words and phrases. Even between different villages of Kathiawar, variations arose.

Nouns

The most nouns have a grammatical gender, either masculine or feminine and often have singular and plural forms. The Memons borrow vast majorities of the nouns from Hindustani (mixture of Urdu & Hindi) languages and lately extensive use of English vocabulary.

Example

English Memoni Sindhi Kutchi Gujarati Hindi/Urdu
vegetables bakalo (m) bhaji saag bhaji ( bhakalo ) Shaak bhaji sabzi(f) sabzian
bed Palang (m) Palang (m)/ Khata (f) Khatlo/Palang Khatlo chaarpaee/ Palang (f)
mirror aariso (m) aarisa (p) / Aaino aarsi (f) / aaino (m) aariso aarisa (m) aaena (m) ?
door dervazo (m) dervazaa (p) (Kamaar - Room Doors) darwazo/dar darvajo darwajo dervaza (m) dervazey (p)
man marhu (m) marhu (p) maanhu maru manas/purush admi (m) admion (p)
boy chhokro (m) chokraa (p) chhokro (m) chokraa (p) chhokro choro/chokra larka (m) larkey (p)
girl chhokree (f) chokriyun (p) chhokree (f) chokryiun (p) chhokree chokri (f) chokriun larki (f) larkian (p)
woman also wife bairee (f) bairiyun (p) mayee (f) mayuun (p) bairi bairi/patni/wavh aurat (f) auratayn (p) bivi/ patni
food khaau Khado khana
fan pankho Pakho/pankho Pankha

Articles and determiner

There is no equivalent for the definite article ‘the’, and the indefinite article ‘a’ is further inflected as masculine or feminine with its object.

Pronouns

The second person nominative pronoun ‘you’ is expressed two different ways: the polite form ‘aaen’ (cognate with ‘avheen’ in standard Sindhi), generally used for respected strangers, the elderly, parents and older relatives, and the familiar form ‘tu’, used among close friends and when addressing subordinates. The accusative, possessive and reflexive pronouns are often inflected for masculine and feminine and their gender must agree with their referents.

See Urdu Pronouns

Example

English Memoni Sindhi Kutchi Gujarati
I aaun aaun/Maan aaun hun
We asaan asaan/aseen/paan asaan/paan ame
You (polite) singular or

plural

aaen tawhan/awha/tawheen/awheen aaen tamey
you (informal or intimate) tu tu/tun tu tu

In most Indic languages the third person such as, he, she, it and they and the demonstrative pronouns this, these, that, those same pronouns are used and they are divided into two categories; one for a near object or person and the other for a far object or person.

Example 2

English Memoni Sindhi Kutchi Gujrati
She, He, it, they, this, these (near) ee / hee hee/ehyo(m) hiye/ehya(f) hee aa
She, He, it, they, that, those (far) ou / hoo hoo/uhwo (m), hoowa/uhwa (f) hoo pela

No significant differences are among the object, possessive and reflexive pronouns. In addition these pronouns are further inflected for masculine and feminine and must agree to the object (noun, pronouns, adjective and adverbs).

Verbs

The verbs generally conjugated according to person, number, tense, aspect, mood and voice. They may also agree with the person gender, and/or number of some of their other arguments, including the object. The verb generally appears at the end of the sentence.

Adjectives

Like English, the position of the adjectives nearly always appears immediately before the noun and they are modified and often inflected for masculine and feminine and must be agree to the noun that follows. The proposition generally comes after a noun or a verb.

Script

In the past there was some attempt to write the Memoni dialect using Gujarati and later in Urdu script with little success. Some attempt has been made to write Memoni using the Latin script.

References

  1. ^ Wajihuddin, Mohammed (February 14, 2014). "Memon association to congregate today". The Times of India. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  2. ^ "Memoni a new Language Born by Abdul Razzak ... - Memon Books".
  3. ^ "MWS honors inventor of Memon language alphabets". 25 May 2016.
  4. ^ Memoni Language Project

Reference: Origin of Memoni Language a Memoni Language Project by Siddique Katiya