Boro–Garo languages

  (Redirected from Bodo–Garo languages)

The Boro–Garo languages are a branch of Sino-Tibetan languages, spoken primarily in Northeast India and parts of Bangladesh.

Northeast India, Bangladesh
Linguistic classificationSino-Tibetan

The Boro–Garo languages form four groups: Boro, Garo, Koch and Deori. Boro–Garo languages were historically very widespread throughout the Brahmaputra Valley and in what are now the northern parts of Bangladesh,[3] and it is speculated that the proto-Boro-Garo language was the lingua franca of the Brahmaputra valley before it was replaced by Assamese language, to which it has made major contributions.


The Boro-Garo languages, as reported in the Language Survey of India 1903

The Boro–Garo languages are:

Name in LSI Modern names
Bodo Boro
Lalung Tiwa
Dimasa Dimasa
Garo Garo
Koch Koch
Rabha Rabha
Tipura Kokborok
Chutiya Deori-Chutia language
Moran Moran (since disappeared)

Old Hajong may have been a Bodo–Garo language.

Barman is a recently discovered Bodo–Garo language.[4]

Boro is an associate official language of the state of Assam. 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.[5]


The linkage of the Boro–Garo languages with Konyak and Jingphaw languages suggest that proto-Boro-Garo entered Assam from somewhere to the northeast.[6] It has been proposed that the proto-Boro-Garo language was a lingua franca of different linguistic communities, not all of who were native speakers,[7] and that it began as a creolized lingua franca.[8]


Joseph & Burling (2006)Edit

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

Jacquesson (2017)Edit

Jacquesson (2017:112)[3] classifies the Boro-Garo languages as follows, and recognizes three major branches (Western, Central, and Eastern). The Koch languages and Garo are grouped together as Western Boro-Garo.

Jacquesson (2017)[3] believes that the Boro–Garo languages had arrived in their present location from the southeast, and notes similarities shared with Zeme languages and Kuki-Chin languages.


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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Also known as Boro-Konyak-Jingpho or Brahmaputran.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bodo-Garo". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ 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.]
  4. ^ A brief linguistic sketch of the Barman Thar (Language). Tezpur University.
  5. ^ Wood 2008, p. 7.
  6. ^ (DeLancey 2012:13)
  7. ^ "Briefly, I propose, following a suggestion by Burling (2007), that the Proto-Boro-Garo first as a lingua franca used for communication across the various linguistic communicates of the region and its striking simplicity and transparency reflect a period when it was widely spoken by communities for whom it was not a native language." (DeLancey 2012:3)
  8. ^ (DeLancey 2012:5)


  • DeLancey, Scott (2012). Hyslop, Gwendolyn; Morey, Stephen; w. Post, Mark (eds.). "On the Origin of Bodo-Garo". Northeast Indian Linguistics. 4: 3–20. doi:10.1017/UPO9789382264521.003. ISBN 9789382264521.
  • 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 readingEdit

  • 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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • 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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)