Bodo–Garo languages

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Northeast India, Bangladesh
Linguistic classificationSino-Tibetan

The Bodo–Garo languages are a branch of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in Northeast India, the Jhapa district of Nepal, and parts of Bangladesh. The name Bodo is not related with the Tibetan ethnonym bod, which is the basis of the names Bodic and Bodish.

Bodo–Garo languages were historically very widespread throughout the Brahmaputra Valley and in what are now the northern parts of Bangladesh.[2]


The Bodo–Garo languages are:

Old Hajong may have been a Bodo–Garo language.

Bodo is an official language of the Indian state of Assam and India. Kokborok (Tripuri) is one of the official languages of the state of Tripura. Garo is an associate official language of Meghalaya. Megam has been strongly influenced by Khasic languages, while Deori-Chutia by the Idu Mishmi language

Languages of the family feature verb-final word order. There is some flexibility in the order of the arguments, but a nominative–accusative distinction is marked with post-nominal clitics. The languages also prefix classifiers to numerals modifying nouns. tense, aspect and mood are indicated using verbal suffixes.[3]


Joseph & Burling (2006)[edit]

Joseph & Burling (2006:1-2) classify the Bodo-Garo languages into four major groups. Wood (2008:6) also follows this classification.

Jacquesson (2017)[edit]

Jacquesson (2017:112)[2] classifies the Bodo-Garo languages as follows, and recognizes three major branches (Western, Central, and Eastern). The Koch languages and Garo are grouped together as Western Bodo-Garo.

Jacquesson (2017)[2] believes that the Bodo-Garo languages had arrived in their present location from the southeast, and notes similarities shared with Zeme languages and Kuki-Chin languages.


Proto-Bodo–Garo has been reconstructed by Joseph and Burling (2006) and by Wood (2008).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bodo-Garo". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ a b c Jacquesson, François and van Breugel, Seino (2017). "The linguistic reconstruction of the past: The case of the Boro-Garo languages." In Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, 40, 90-122.doi:10.1075/ltba.40.1.04van [Note: English translation of the French original: Jacquesson, François (2006). ‘La reconstruction linguistique du passé: Le cas des language Boro-Garo’. Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique de Paris 101(1): 273–303.]
  3. ^ Wood 2008, p. 7.
  • Joseph, U.V., and Burling, Robbins. 2006. Comparative phonology of the Boro Garo languages. Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages Publication.
  • Wood, Daniel Cody. 2008. An Initial Reconstruction of Proto-Boro-Garo. M.A. Thesis, University of Oregon.

Further reading[edit]

  • Burling, Robbins (2003). "The Tibeto-Burman languages of northeast India". In Thurgood, Graham; LaPolla, Randy J. (eds.). The Sino-Tibetan languages. London: Routledge. pp. 169–191. ISBN 978-0-7007-1129-1.
  • van Driem, George (2001). Languages of the Himalayas: An Ethnolinguistic Handbook of the Greater Himalayan Region. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-12062-4.
  • Wood, Daniel Cody (2008). An Initial Reconstruction of Proto-Boro-Garo (MA thesis). University of Oregon. hdl:1794/9485.