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Full text of "Linguistic Survey Of India Vol V Part I Indo Aryan Family Eastern Group"


The State of Manipur is a very polyglot tract of country. The principal
language is Meithei or Manipurl, bat a number of other Tibeto-Bunnan dialects
are also spoken. A tribe known as Mayang speaks a mongrel form of Assamese
known by the same name. The number of speakers U estimated at about 1,000.
Except for their language the Mayangs are indistinguishable from the general
Manipurl population. All of them can speak Meithei. They are also known as
Bishunpuriya Manipuris, or aa Kalisa Manipuris, and are said to be comparatively
numerous among the Manipurl population of Cachar and Sylhet, where their
special dialect is still spoken iu their homes, as well as Meithei and Bengali.
Probably f of (22,500) the supposed speakers of Meithei in Sylhet really speak
Mayang. We may therefore put the total number of speakers of the dialect at 23,500.
There is a ' Meeyang' Vocabulary in Lieutenant Colonel W. McCulbch's Account
of the valley of Munnipore md of the hill tribes; with a comparative vocabulary of
the Munnipore and other languages; published in the Selections from the fiecords of
the Government-of India (foreign Department), No. 27,1859.
I have said above that Mayang is a mongrel form of Assamese. It can with equal
(or perhaps more) justice be classed as a form of Eastern Bengali. The language
possesses characteristics of both languages, but at the same time differs widely from
both. I therefore place it in a supplement, while, for statistical purposes, I hare shown
it as a form of Assamese, merely because its speakers all live in territory under the
political influence of the Assam Government. It will be seen that, both in vocabulary
and grammar, it is strongly infected with the peculiarities of the Tibeto-Burmaa
languages spoken in the Manipur State. This is just as much the case with the speakers
of Mayang who are settled in Sylhet, so that it may be taken as certain that they have
come there from Manipur, although, according to tradition, they originally came into
Manipur from an Aryan speaking locality.
I give four specimens of this curious language, two from Sylhet, and two from
Manipur. Each pair consists of a version of the Parable of the Prodigal Son and a
folktale. Tor the Sylhet specimens I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. A. Porteous,
the Deputy Commissioner of that District The Manipor ones have been prepared by
Babu Bisharap Sing, under instructions from the Political Agent. In the Manipur
State, the headquarters of Mayang are two or three plains villages near Bishunpur
(locally known as Lamandong), 18 miles to the south-west of Imphal.
Lists of words and sentences were also obtained from both localities, and the one
given after the specimens is based on txrth. The following account of the grammatical
peculiarities of Mayang is based on all the materials available.
TIBETO-BTTSMAITINPLTTEHOB.ŚMayang is largely influenced by the Tibeto-
Buraan languages of the State of Manipur, both in its vocabulary and in its grammar,
It would be a waste of time and paper to go into this question with any degree of