My last post was on the tribal groups around our people. This post is about the languages of Arunachal Pradesh, especially around our community.
As in tribal groups, only the languages of “native” origin are given in this map as well. As we know there are languages spoken in large number even in our own areas like Chakma, Nepali etc, but they are not listed. Perhaps, the author considered them as “outside” communities.
So we have Singpho, Tangsa, Khamti, Wancho, Nocte, Mishmi languages spoken in our neighborhood. Each of them so different from each other. There is no way one will understand the other unless they are learned. Through contacts, some of our people can speak Singpho and Tangsa languages through intermarriage or through contact. Not sure anyone else speak other languages.
But thanks to local Assamese that connect people more than Hindi. When I am in villages, I am at a lost since I don’t speak Assamese; my wife speaks well and she rescues me! Like me many of our people do not speak Assamese. We do well in Hindi. For better connections with our neighboring tribes, we must be intentional in learning it.
Source: Breton, Roland J. 1997. Atlas of the Languages and Ethnic Communities of South Asia. New Delhi: Sage Publications India PVT LTD. Page 83.