Nagamese Audio Recordings

Nagamese is a creole spoken as a lingua franca in the state of Nagaland in the north-eastern part of India. Syntactic structure of Nagamese is based mainly on an Indo-Aryan language ‘Assamese’ and its lexicon is made up of words from Assamese, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Nepali, English & various Tibeto-Burman Naga languages like Angami, Sema, Aao, Lotha, Konyak, Zeliang, Phom, Rengma, Sangtam etc.

This creole has no official recognition even though it is frequently used in the legislative assembly of Nagaland and by government servants. A major move towards state recognition was initiated recently by prime ministers of India Narendra Modi. In November 2014, PM Modi’s monthly national broadcast ‘Mann ki Baat’  on radio to Indian citizens included a Nagamese version also. This was unprecedented, as it was the first time that Nagamese was officially recognized on national platform by no less than the prime minister of India himself. From then, every month the nationwide Radio broadcast of Mann ki Baat is also conducted in Nagamese too. 

Mann ki Baat (English- Heart’s talk) is a monthly radio programme in which Indian prime minister Narendra Modi addresses Indian citizens on various issues pertaining to nation. The radio programme is simultaneously broadcast in over 22 languages including Hindi, English & Nagamese.

You can listen to the Podcasts here

      

 I have written a much longer and informative post on Nagamese creole sometime back, here

https://rapidiq.wordpress.com/2008/06/30/survival-phrases-in-nagamese-the-lingua-franca-of-nagaland/

Angami: the Language of the Enchanting Hills


window-to-nagaland

 

Written  by A. Avtans
[This article is copyrighted, please mention author’s name  and article’s name when you are copying/referring content from this page]

Angami (known as Angami Naga in linguistics fraternity) is a language spoken by around 132,225 people (2001 Census) primarily in the enchanting Naga Hills of Kohima district of Nagaland state of India. Angami belongs to the Angami-pochuri sub-branch of Tibeto-Burman family of languages. Though Angami has several varieties, principal varieties are Kohima, Khonoma and Chokri (though it has acquired an independent status over time). Kohima variety is the standard language (popularly known as common language among Angamis) which is used in published religious and academic texts. This common language is known as Tenyidie in Angami.

Earliest writings on Angami language dates back to the days of British in India. Captain J. Butter published his ‘Rough notes on the Angami Nagas and their Language’ in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Vol.44 Part 1) in 1875. Later R.B. McCabe wrote his ‘Outline Grammar of the Angami Naga Language’ in the year 1887 basing his analysis on Khonoma, Mozema and Jotsoma varieties. Some other works includes the likes of Rivenburg (1905), Grierson (1903), Supplee (1930), Haralu (1933) and several significant works by American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society in the early 20th century.

R. Sekhose, probably the first native Angami to write on the language, says –

‘Angami language is a very peculiar language. A word may mean many different things, which can only be distinguished by High and low tones’ (Angami Dictionary with English Equivalent words, 1984). Sekhose has also published significant works such as Angami Idiomatic Expressions (1967) and Angami Naga Folklore (1970).

Angami is written using Roman script together with the conventions adopted by the Angami Language Committee in the year 1939. Tone is not marked in the orthography of Angami.

A brief summary of the linguistic research done on Angami can be cited as follows (in chronological order):

·

Capt. J Butler: Rough notes on the Angami Nagas and their language, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. 44 Part 1, 1875.

R.B. McCabe: Outline Grammar of the Angami Naga Language (with vocabulary and illustrative sentences), Calcutta, 1887.

S.W. Rivenburg: Phrases in English and Angami Naga, Kohima, 1905.

George Abraham Grierson: Linguistic Survey of India, Vol.3 Part 2, Calcutta, 1903.

J.E.T.: A Primer of Angami Naga, Kohima, 1915

J.H. Hutton: The Angami Nagas, London, 1921.

Angami Leshü Keriau, American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society, Kohima, 1923.

G.W. Supplee: Kephrüda Keriau – First Reader in Angami Naga, Kohima, 1930.

Hisale Pienünuo: The First Gate into Angami and English, Kohima, 1931.

Haralu: Angami-English Dictionary Part 1, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol.29, 1933.

Robin Burlings: Angami Naga Phonemics and Word List, Indian Linguistics, Vol. 21, 1960.

G.E. Marrison: The Classification of the Naga Languages of North-East India, Vols 1 & 2, London, 1967.

R. Sekhose Angami: Angami Idiomatic Expressions, Kohima, 1967

R. Sekhose Angami: Angami Naga Folklore, Kohima, 1970

Angami Vyakaran (in Hindi), Nagaland Bhasha Parishad, Kohima, 1970

R. Sekhose Angami: Angami Naga Word Divisions and Spelling, Kohima, 1973

N. Ravindran: Angami Phonetic Reader, CIIL, Mysore, 1974.

R. Sekhose Angami: Angami Dictionary with English Equivalent words, Kohima, 1984.

P.P. Giridhar: Angami Grammar, CIIL, Mysore, 1980.

P.P. Giridhar: Angami-English Dictionary, CIIL, Mysore, 1987.

Ram Kripal Kumar: Hindi-Angami Dwibhashi Kosh (in Hindi), CIH, Agra, 2006.

Angami is not only spoken and understood by Angami people but also by Chakhesang, Zeliang, Pochuri and Rengama people who live in Kohima district. Today Angami Naga is offered as a subject in Nagaland University, Kohima up to the level of Ph.D. Ura Academy is the institution established for the development and propagation of Angami language and is situated in Kohima, Nagaland.

Angami Alphabet Chart:

Angami Alphabet

Phonemic Value

Angami Alphabet

Phonemic Value

Angami Alphabet

Phonemic Value

Angami Alphabet

Phonemic Value

Angami Alphabet

Phonemic Value

ü

ǝ

o

o

ny

ny

b

b

f

f

üi

ǝi

ou

ou

t

t

m

m

v

v

a

a

k

k

th

th

pf

pf

w

w

ai

ai

kh

kh

d

d

bv

bv

wh

wh

i

i

g

g

n

n

y

y

s

s

ie

ie

ng

ng

ts

ts

yh

yh

sh

sh

u

u

c

c

tsh

tsh

r

r

z

z

uo

uo

ch

ch

dz

dz

rh

rh

zh

zh

e

e

j

j

p

p

l

l

h

h

ei

ei

jh

jh

ph

ph

lh

lh

Angami is a sweet language to ears (even though I cannot understand much of it). Especially all the the “Uu”(Exclamation when you see an acquaintance) and ” Hoe” (Yes) expressions. Still you will not regret learning bits and pieces of this quite beautiful and fascinating language of equally endowed and very warm hearted people who live in Naga Hills.

To be continued (I am trying to learn more).

Photo Courtsy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dagmaraka/

The Nagas…!

Kohima_Cathedral Nagaland

The State of Nagaland was formally inaugurated on December 1st, 1963, as the 16th State of the Indian Union. It is bounded by Assam in the West, Myanmar (Burma) on the east, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam on the North and Manipur in the South. The State consists of seven Administrative Districts, inhabited by 16 major indegenous communities (offically tribes but since tribe has colonial hangovers, I avoid it) along with other sub-tribes. Each tribe is distinct in character from the other in terms of customs, language and dress.

It is a land of folklore passed down the generations through word of mouth. Here, music is an integral part of life; folk songs eulogizing ancestors, the brave deeds of warriors and traditional heroes; poetic love songs immortalizing ancient tragic love stories; or the modern tunes rendered exquisitely to set your feet a-tapping.

Each of the 16 odd indigenous communities (tribe in colonial sense)  and sub-communities that dwell in this exotic hill State can easily be distinguished by the colorful and intricately designed costumes, jewelry and beads that they adorn. The traditional ceremonial attire of each indigenous coomunity  is in itself, an awe inspiring sight to behold; the multicoloured spears and daos decorated with dyed goats hair, the headgear made of finely woven bamboo interlaced with orchid stems, adorned with boar’s teeth and hornbill’s feathers, elephant tusk armlets….. You name it! In days of yore every warrior had to earn each of these items through acts of valour, to wear them.

Nature could not have been kinder to Nagaland, sometimes referred to as the Switzerland of the East; the exquisitely picturesque landscapes, the vibrantly colourful sunrise and sunset, lush and verdant flora… this is a land that represents unimaginable beauty, molded perfectly for a breath taking experience.

Its people belong to the Indo-Mongoloid stock, whose ancestors lived off nature’s abundant gifts, blessed with sturdy formidable dispositions. Above all, the people here are warmhearted and extremely hospitable! Nagas, by nature, are lovers of fun and frolic and here life is one long festival. In all there are 16 different officially recognized indegenous communities viz Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Kuki, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sumi, Sangtam, Yimchungru and Zeliang among others.

The Nagas with their joie de vivre, dance and songs are a part and parcel of all their festivities. Most of their dances are performed with a robust rhythm

All the major Naga indegeous coomiunities have their own language. In actual practice, the language, even within one tribal area, varies from village to village. There are about thirty languages. The multiplicity of Naga languages is mainly because of the living condition in the past, when villages were isolated and there was little of friendly inter-communication between them.

Naga languages in the Tibeto-Burman family is divided into three groups; the western sub-group, the central sub-group and the eastern sub-group. The western sub-group comprises Angami, Sema, Rengma and Chakhesang languages; the central sub-group include Ao, Lotha and Phom languages; while the eastern sub-groups is made up of among others, Chang and Konyak languages.

It is interesting to find that some Naga indegenous communities have borrowed Sanskrit words in their Assamese form.

Nagamese is a pidgin/creole used in Nagaland. Since Nagaland is inhabited by people belonging to different Naga indegeeous communities speaking languages, which are mutually unintelligible, Nagamese is the preferred form of communication for all. It is used in the Nagaland Legislature, as a means of explanation in Nagaland schools and in mixed households.. It does not follow any strict rules of grammar and is easy to pick up. Nagamese has no script. The missionaries rendered signal service to the Naga languages. They wrote the first grammar books and compiled vocabularies. The missionaries used the Roman script.

Hindi is well understood in Nagaland – even in the interior areas. The state Assembly, in a resolution adopted on18 September 1967, recommended that English be used for all official purposes within the state of Nagaland indefinitely, and that English be included as one of the languages in the VIII schedule of the constitution. But, only a fraction of the population in the state speak or write English with some degree of accuracy.