What writing system(s) does this language use?
The Assamese language, locally known as Oxomiya Bhaxa uses the Assamese script, which is an abugida. Every consonant has an inherent vowel, which is অ (IPA:ɔ). Assamese script has 11 letters for vowels, like অ (o), আ (a), ই (i) etc. and 40 letters for consonants, like ক (ko), খ (kho) etc. There are several other symbols for conjuncts, like ক্ত (kto), ন্ধ (ndho) etc. and also vowel signs, that replace the inherent vowel, like া, ি etc.
How many people speak this language
Assamese is the primary language spoken in the Assam state of India. Assamese is spoken by about 13 million native speakers.
Where is this language spoken?
Assamese is mainly spoken in Assam, India. Assamese is also spoken in Arunachal Pradesh and other north-east Indian states. Nagamese, which is an Assamese based creole is spoken in Nagaland. Nefamese, which is an Assamese based pidgin is spoken in Arunachal Pradesh. Small pockets of Assamese speakers are found in Bangladesh.
What is the history of this language?
Along with other Eastern Indo-Aryan languages, Assamese evolved at least before 7th century A.D from the Magadhi Prakrit, which developed from a dialect or group of dialects that were close to, but different from, Vedic and Classical Sanskrit.
Magadhi Prakrit gave rise to four Apabhramsa dialects called Radha, Vanga, Kamarupa and Varendra. Kamarupa differentiated by 7th century due to the influence of non-Indo-Aryan languages. Kamarupa dialect is represented by northern-Bengali in Bengal and Assamese in Assam.
Earliest relics of the language can be found in paleographic records of the Kamrupa kingdom. Buddhist Charyapadas are an example of early Assamese works.
A fully distinguished literary form (poetry) could be seen from the fourteenth century in the Kamata kingdom. Around the same time, Madhava Kandali translated the Sanskrit Ramayana into Assamese. From the fifteenth century, Borgeets, plays were written.
Assamese became the state language of Assam during the reign of the Ahoms. The Buronjis were written at the same time.
Mahapurusa Srimanta Sankardev is a fifteenth century Assamese saint, poet, playwright etc.
Ambikagiri Raichoudhury, who is also known as Asom Kesari.
Ananda Chandra Agarwala, who is also known as bhangoni kowar
Banikanta Kakoti, who also wrote as Bhananda Pathak.
Bhabendranath Saikia, who also wrote as Priya Bandhu etc.
Bisnu Prasad Rabha, known as Kalaguru.
Bishnuram Medhi, known as Lauha Manav
Chandra Kumar Agarwala, also known as Pratimar Khonikor.
Gopinath Bordoloi, known as Lokapriya.
Gunabhiram Barua, who also wrote as Guru Dutta
Hem Barua, known as Tyagbir
Hiren Gohain, who also wrote as Niranjan Phukan
Indira Goswami, who is famous as Mamoni Roysom Goswami
Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, also known as Rupkowar
Lakshminath Bezbaroa, known as Rasaraj and Sahityarathi
Nalinibala Devi, also known as Atindrabadi Kabi
Padmanath Gohain Barua -- the first president of Asom Sahitya Sabha
Parvati Prasad Barua, known as Gitikabi
Raghunath Choudhury, known as Bihogi Kabi
Syed Abdul Malik, who also wrote as Ajagar:Swami Abhangananda
What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?
- moi - I - মই
- tumi - You - তুমি
- apuni - You (with respect) - আপুনি
- aami - We - আমি
- prem - Love - প্ৰেম
- khel - Game - খেল
- din - Day - দিন
- rati - Night - ৰাতি
- ghor - house - ঘৰ
- kukur - Dog - কুকুৰ
- mekuri - Cat - মেকুৰী
- kitap - Book - কিতাপ
- dhonyobad - Thank you - ধন্যবাদ
- nohoy - No - নহয়
- hoy - Yes - হয়
- prithibi - Earth - পৃথিবী
- sondro - Moon - চন্দ্ৰ
- gorom - Hot - গৰম
- thanda - Cold - ঠাণ্ডা
- nomoskar - hello - নমস্কাৰ;
- manuh - human - মানুহ;
- bhaxa - language - ভাষা;
- pani - water - পানী;
- botah - air - বতাহ;
- akax - sky - আকাশ;
- mati - soil - মাটি;
- ek - one - এক;
- dui - two - দুই;
- tini - three - তিনি;
- sari - four - চাৰি;
- pas - five - পাঁচ;
- soy - six - ছয়;
- xat - seven - সাত;
- aath - eight - আঠ;
- no - nine - ন;
- doh - ten - দহ;
- Mor nam Bisnu - My name is Bisnu - মোৰ নাম বিষ্ণু
- Tomar Naam Ki? - What is your name? - তোমাৰ নাম কি?
- Xuprobhat - Good Morning - সুপ্ৰভাত;
- Biday - Bye - বিদায়;
- " tumi kene asa? " - how are you? - তুমি কেনে আছা ?
- " mor bhal " - I'm fine - মোৰ ভাল
What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?
Given below is an Assamese poem--
- Jonbai a beji eti diya.
- Beji no keloi?
- Mona silaboloi
- Monano keloi?
- Dhon bhoraboloi.
- Dhonno keloi?
- Hati kiniboloi.
- Hatino keloi?
- Uthi phuriboloi
- Uthileno ki hoy?
- Bor manuh hoy.
- Hatit uthi Poniram ghoroloi zay,
- Ali bator manuhe ghuri ghuri say.
- Sister moon, give me a needle.
- Why a needle?
- To sew a sack.
- Why a sack?
- To put in money.
- Why money?
- To buy an elephant.
- Why an elephant?
- To have a ride.
- Why a ride?
- To be a big man.
- Poniram goes home riding an elephant,
- People on the road look at him.
- In Assamese script
- জোনবাই এ, বেজী এটি দিয়া।
- বেজীনো কেলৈ?
- মোনা চিলাবলৈ
- মোনানো কেলৈ?
- ধন ভৰাবলৈ।
- ধননো কেলৈ?
- হাতী কিনিবলৈ।
- হাতীনো কেলৈ?
- উঠি ফুৰিবলৈ।
- উঠিলেনো কি হয়?
- বৰ মানুহ হয়।
- হাতীত উঠি পনীৰাম ঘৰলৈ যায়,
- আলি বাটৰ মানুহে ঘূৰি ঘূৰি চায়।
- Sen, Sukumar (1975), Grammatical sketches of Indian languages with comparative vocabulary and texts, Volume 1, P 31
- "It is curious to find that according to (Hiuen Tsang) the language of Kamarupa 'differed a little' from that of mid-India. Hiuen Tsang is silent about the language of Pundra-vardhana or Karna-Suvarna; it can be presumed that the language of these tracts were identical with that of Magadha." (Chatterji 1926, p. 78)
- "Perhaps this 'differing a little' of the Kamarupa speech refers to those modifications of Aryan sounds which now characterise Assamese as well as North- and East-Bengali dialects." (Chatterji 1926, pp. 78–89)
- "When [the Tibeto-Burman speakers] adopted that language they also enriched it with their vocabularies, expressions, affixes etc." (Saikia 1997, p. 4)