Me And My Manipuri Things

Posts Tagged ‘bishnupriya manipuri language

Unicode has become the best way to display many writing systems of the world in browsers. Hopefully our language is included in the Unicode. Bishnupriya Manipuri uses Bengali script (বাংলা লিপি) which is a variant of the Eastern Nagari script, also used for Bengali, Assamese and Maithili.

Now you are able to see Bishnupriya Manipuri unicode text in your mobile phone. You can view Bishnupriya Manipuri in your mobile like in Facebook or Blogs or Wikipedia.

Opera mini version 4.1 onwards supports Bishnupriya Manipuri unicode even if your mobile phone doesn’t support it. All you need is a java enabled handset. It does it via rendering bengali text in the server, rather than on phone, and then displaying.

To activate the option you just need to do the 2 steps –

Step – 1: Install Opera Mini

Visit the address using your phone’s default Web browser and download and install Opera Mini

PC download link:


Step – 2: Configure Opera Mini

    1. Start Opera mini and type in “opera:config” in the address bar


    1. Look at option Use bitmap fonts for complex scripts. Make it “yes”


Now I believe you can view Bishnupriya Manipuri in your mobile.

You can visit Bishnupriya Manipuri wikipedia, Facebook and many other Unicode compliant Bishnupriya Manipuri sites.


For example:

A language with written literature can rightly be called as independent language. Today Bishnupriya Manipuri is recognized as an independent language all over the world only because of gigantic efforts of our godly forefathers to safeguard our language from extinction through various literary activities. Otherwise, like the historical records of Manipur, the history of the language is a story of deprive and exile.

Curiously enough, there is no authority goes beyond 13th century except the rain-songs, proverbs and other folk literatures. Sir GA Grierson treats this language in his “Linguistic Survey of India”. He calls the language Mayang although he uses the term Bishnupuriya Manipuri. He also refers to the vocabulary of the language in Lieut-Col W McCullock’s “An Account of the Valley of Manipore and other languages” published as early as 1859. Considering the authorities and evidences it can be safely said that the Bishnupriya Manipuri language is originated in the land of Manipur long before the advent of Hinduism in this valley. As the speakers of Bishnupriya Manipuri (ইমার ঠার, as known to the speakers themselves) had their headquarters at Bishnupur, they were called Bishnupuriyas, i.e, the habitants of Bishnupur, and Bishnupriya is only contracted form of the term Bishnupuriya.

Linguistic study however, creates a little confusion about the origin and root of Bishnupriya Manipuri language. There are different stories from different sectors of people opposite to each other hence difficult to draw any synopsis, resulting in controversies. Dr K P Sinha, who has done considerable amount of researches on Bishnupriya Manipuri language, described four theories as believed by different section of people. Dr Sinha, in his work “The Bishnupriya Manipuris” (1975), also tried to analyze the theories critically with due logic and justification. On the other hand GK Gosh in his work “Tribal and their cultures in Manipur and Nagaland”(1982) putted forth six different theories on the origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri language. There are several other beliefs too. The diverse theories on the origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri are summarized as follows –

  • The Mahabharata Theory
  • Meitei-Origin theory
  • 18th Century theory
  • Bengali-Origin theory
  • Far-Eastern theory
  • Khala-Chai theory
  • Indo-Mongoloid theory


1. Sir G. A. Grierson, Linguistic Survey of India, Vol-3,19
2. Dr. K.P. Sinha, Bishnupriya Manipuri Language, Calcutta, 1981
3. G.K. Ghose, Tribals and Their Culture in Manipur and Nagaland,1982
4. Raj Mohan Nath, The Background of Assamese Culture, 2nd Edn, 1978
5. S S Tunga, Bengali & other Related Dialects of South Asia, New Delhi, 1995

To be continued….

Department of Linguistics
3600 Market Street, Suite 501
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2653

Held by the Department of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Co-sponsored by the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science (IRCS) and the Graduate Student Associations Council (GSAC). Open to members of the greater university community.


Sept. 18
Geoffrey Pullum
University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC)

Oct. 16
Shobha Sathyanath
University of Delhi, Delhi, India

Oct. 23
William A. Ladusaw
University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC)


Shobha Sathyanath
University of Delhi, Delhi, India


This talk is about Bishnupriya language which emerged as a result of contact between Indo Aryan Languages such as Assamese and Bengali and Tibeto Burman languages such as Meitei. The available evidence suggests that Bishnupriya must have emerged as a contact language in Manipur sometime in the late 18th century as a consequence of the spread of Hinduism (in particular, Vaishnavism) in the North Eastern Part of India. Though Bishnupriya emerged as a contact language in Manipur, a majority of the Bishnupriyas are at present located outside Manipur in parts of Assam, Tripura and Bangladesh, where they have come into a secondary contact with local Bengali vernacular.

The ongoing controversy regarding whether or not Bishnupriyas can be allowed to have any claims over Manipuri identity has its roots in the state politics and culture and the superimposed dominant presence of Indic languages, in particular, Bengali and to some extent Assamese that has been perceived as a threat to the very existence of tribal identity and culture in the North East. Thus, while the claim for the use of the term Bishnupriya Manipuri is seen by the Meities as a dilution of their own identity, the Bishnupriyas see it as their legitimate right to create a small but distinct space within the overall Meitei space (regional and cultural). However, the problems of the Bishnupriyas are much more complex precisely for the reasons that they can neither be regarded as Aryans nor as entirely Meitei or Tibeto Burman in general. This is because Bishnupriyas represent ethnically and culturally a mixed group and their language clearly a result of contact between the Tibeto Burman and the Indo Aryan population.

In this talk I intend to present Bishnupriya as a contact language and provide an overview of its major structural and cultural traits. I would also draw a comparison between the structures of the various languages that are involved in the contact and discuss the continuation of the features of the source languages on the one hand and transformations, innovations and changes on the other.


It should be noted taht the people of Manipur comprise both the migrants of East and West who came to Manipur in different periods of history. During the earlier period migrants were in general assimilated and assigned to one or other to the clans, no doubt according to the area in which they settled. There origins were remembered by the terms Nongpok Haram (The Mongoloid migrants from the East, mainly the Shans, Kabaws and Pongs, a little of Chinese and Burmese) and Nongchup Haram (The Dravidian and Aryan migrants from the West, mainly the Bishnupriya’s, the Brahmins etc.). The history of Manipur witnesses the process of racial fusion undermining the geographical features. So the mass people of Manipur is a composite one to which the Mongoloids, Dravidians, Aryans, Pongs, Chinese, Siamese, etc, were contributory.


Also some Linguistic Points shouldn’t be ignored:


a) The relation between the Bishnupriya and Meitei language is well established. The Bishnupriya grammar is also influenced by Meitei


b) Bishnupriya Manipuri language incorporated some features from the languages of hill tribes. Sir G.A. Griersons(LSI Vol-4, p- 419) observation on BPM was the word for ‘bad’ is ‘good-not’ hoba-naya, as in all Kuki-Chin languages. The use of demonstrative pronoun after the noun which it qualifies is also a typical of Kuki. The Suffix of the dative ‘rang’ a Kuki idiom. The form of future that in ng, is taken from Thado Kuki.


c) Bishnupriya language has considerably good number of (more than 4,000) Meitei words. For example: laupuk, mang, matik, marup, ning, nungsi, pang, pham, sing, thungba, yathang etc. The most remarkable feature of Bishnupriya Manipuri Language is that it retained many older phonology of Meitei and also some words of Meitei of archaic and medieval age. It was because the Bishnupriyas left Manipur during the last part of 18th century. Colonel W McCulloch compiled a comparative vocabulary of Meitei and Bishnupriya which in published in 1859.


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