Meithei language

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Meithei
Manipuri
মৈতৈলোন্ ꯃꯧꯇꯧꯂꯣꯟ
মৈতৈলোল্ ꯃꯤꯇꯧꯂꯣꯟ
Meitei language.jpg
Region Northeast India, Bangladesh, Burma
Ethnicity Meithei people
Native speakers
1.5 million  (2000)[1]
Bengali alphabet (current)
Meithei Mayek alphabet (historical)[2]
Official status
Official language in
 India (Manipur)
Language codes
ISO 639-2 mni
ISO 639-3 Either:
mni – Modern Meithei
omp – Old Manipuri
Linguist list
omp Old Manipuri
Glottolog mani1292[3]

Meithei (Meitei) /ˈmt/,[4] also known as Manipuri /mænɨˈpʊəri/ (মৈতৈলোন্ ꯃꯧꯇꯧꯂꯣꯟ Meitei-lon or মৈতৈলোল্ ꯃꯧꯇꯧꯂꯣꯜ Meitei-lol), is the predominant language and lingua franca in the southeastern Himalayan state of Manipur, in northeastern India. It is the official language in government offices. Meithei is also spoken in the Indian states of Assam and Tripura, and in Bangladesh and Burma (now Myanmar).

Meithei is a Tibeto-Burman language whose exact classification remains unclear, though it shows lexical resemblances to Kuki and Tangkhul Naga.[5]

Meithei has proven to be an integrating factor among all ethnic groups in Manipur who use it to communicate among themselves. It has been recognized (as Manipuri), by the Indian Union and has been included in the list of scheduled languages (included in the 8th schedule by the 71st amendment of the constitution in 1992). Meithei is taught as a subject up to the post-graduate level (Ph.D.) in universities of India, apart from being a medium of instruction up to the undergraduate level in Manipur.

Phonology[edit]

Meithei is a tonal language.

Grammar[edit]

Numbers[edit]

1 ama ꯑꯃ 11 taramathoi ꯇꯔꯥꯃꯥꯊꯣꯢ
2 ani ꯑꯅꯤ 12 taranithoi ꯇꯔꯥꯅꯤꯊꯣꯢ
3 ahum ꯑꯍꯨꯝ 13 tarahumdoi ꯇꯔꯥꯍꯨꯝꯗꯣꯢ
4 mari ꯃꯔꯤ 14 taramari ꯇꯔꯥꯃꯔꯤ
5 manga ꯃꯉꯥ 15 taramanga ꯇꯔꯥꯃꯉꯥ
6 taruk ꯇꯔꯨꯛ 16 tarataruk ꯇꯔꯥꯇꯔꯨꯛ
7 taret ꯇꯔꯦꯠ 17 tarataret ꯇꯔꯥꯇꯔꯦꯠ
8 nipan ꯅꯤꯄꯥꯟ 18 taranipan ꯇꯔꯥꯅꯤꯄꯥꯟ
9 mapan ꯃꯥꯄꯟ 19 taramapan ꯇꯔꯥꯃꯥꯄꯟ
10 tara ꯇꯔꯥ 20 kun ꯀꯨꯟ

Writing[edit]

Meetei has its own script, known as Meithei Mayek, which was used until the 18th century. Its earliest use is dated between the 11th and 12th centuries C.E.[citation needed] Since the advent of British rule in 1891, the Bengali alphabet has been used to write Meithei language. Now in schools and colleges gradually the Bengali script is being replaced by the Meithei Mayek script. The local organisations have played a major role in spreading the awareness about its own script.

Many Meetei documents were destroyed at the beginning of the 18th century during the reign of Hindu converted King Pamheiba, under the instigation of the Bengali Hindu missionary, Santidas Gosai.

Between 1709 and the middle of the 20th century, the Manipuri language was written with the Bengali alphabet. During the 1940s and 50s, Manipuri scholars began campaigning to bring back the old Manipuri alphabet. In 1976 at a writers conference all the scholars finally agreed on a new version of the alphabet containing a number of additional letters to represent sounds not present in the language when the script was first developed. The current Manipuri script is a reconstruction of the ancient Meetei script.

Since the early 1980s the Manipuri alphabet as been taught in schools in Manipur.

It is a syllabic alphabet in which consonants all have an inherent vowel /a/. Other vowels are written as independent letters or by using diacritical marks which are written above, below, before or after the consonant they belong to. Each letter is named after a part of the human body.

There are some texts from the Maring and Limbu tribes of Manipur which were written using Meetei Mayek.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Modern Meithei at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Old Manipuri at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ A Manipuri Grammar, Vocabulary, and Phrase Book - 1888 Assam Secretariat Press
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Manipuri". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  5. ^ Burling, Robbins. 2003. The Tibeto-Burman Languages of Northeastern India. In Thurgood & LaPolla (eds.), The Sino-Tibetan Languages, 169-191. London & New York: Routledge.
  • 1. A Short History of Kangleipak (Manipur) Part-I, by Chingtamlen, 2005
  • 2. A Short History of Kangleipak (Manipur) Part-II, by Chingtamlen, 2007
  • 3. A Short History of Kangleipak (Manipur) Part-III, by Chingtamlen, 2008
  • 4. The Meetei and the Bishnupriya, by Chingtamlen, 2008

Culture[edit]

  • Brara, N. Vijaylakshmi. (1998). Politics, society, and cosmology in India's North East. Delphi: Oxford University Press.
  • Budha, W. (1992). Indigenous games of the Meitheis. Manipur: Wangkeimayum Publications.
  • Kshetrimayum, Otojit. (2014). Ritual, Politics and Power in North East India: Contexualising the Lai Haraoba of Manipur. Delhi: Ruby Press & Co.
  • Singh, M. Kirti. (1988). Religion and culture of Manipur. Delhi: Manas Publications.
  • Singh, M. Kirti. (1993). Folk culture of Manipur. Delhi: Manas Publications.
  • Singh, Saikhom Gopal. (2014). The Meeteis of Manipur: A Study in Human Geography. Delhi: Ruby Press & Co.

Language[edit]

  • Bhat, D. N. S.; & Ningomba, S. (1997). Manipuri grammar. Munich: Lincom Europa.
  • Chelliah, Shobhana L. (1990). Experiencer subjects in Manipuri. In V. M. Manindra & K. P. Mohanan (Eds.), Experiencer subjects in South Asian languages (pp. 195–211). Stanford: The Center for the Study of Language and Information.
  • Chelliah, Shobhana L. (1992). Tone in Manipuri. In K. L. Adams & T. J. Hudak (Eds.), Papers from the first annual meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society 1991 (pp. 65–85). Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University.
  • Chelliah, Shobhana L. (1992). Bracketing paradoxes in Manipuri. In M. Aronoff (Ed.), Morphology now (pp. 33–47). Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • Chelliah, Shobhana L. (1994). Morphological change and fast speech phenomena in the Manipuri verb. In K. L. Adams & T. J. Hudak (Eds.), Papers from the second annual meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society 1992 (pp. 121–134). Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University.
  • Chelliah, Shobhana L. (1997). A grammar of Meithei. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 0-19-564331-3.
  • Chelliah, Shobhana L. (2002). Early Meithei manuscripts. In C. I. Beckwith (Ed.), Medieval Tibeto-Burman languages: PIATS 2000: Tibetan studies: Proceedings of the ninth seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000 (pp. 59–71). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.
  • Chelliah, Shobhana L. (2002). A glossary of 39 basic words in archaic and modern Meithei. In C. I. Beckwith (Ed.), Medieval Tibeto-Burman languages: PIATS 2000: Tibetan studies: Proceedings of the ninth seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000 (pp. 189–190). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.
  • Chelliah, Shobhana L. (2004). "Polysemy through metonymy: The case of Meithei pi 'grandmother'". Studies in Language 28 (2): 363–386. doi:10.1075/sl.28.2.04che. 
  • Singh, Ningthoukhongjam Khelchandra. (1964). Manipuri to Manipuri & English dictionary.

External links[edit]