Date(s) - 07/04/2022
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
A HISTORY OF MANIPURI LANGUAGE
Language is a product of human evolution; it is the result of full development of vocal organs and brain and it is the product of the society. Language is dynamic, not static; it changes in course of time because of contact and convergence. Manipuri is not an exception. Manipuri, a language of Tibeto-Burman (TB) sub-family of the Sino-Tibetan Language family, is locally known as Meeteilon. It is spoken is Myanmar and Bangladesh also.
There are various scholars’ opinion on the exact placement of Manipuri language in the exact sub-group. Matisoft (1991,2003) categorized Manipuri in the geographically determined group Kamarupan which traditionally covers for Kuki-Chin-Naga, Abor-Miri-Dafla and Bodo-Garo while the early classifier Grierson (1903-1924) put it in Kuki-Chin. By Vegelin and Voegelin (1965) it is in Kuki-ChinNaga, by Benedict (1972) in Kuki-Naga, Shafer (1874) recognizes as a separate branch under the Kukish section of Burmise division. The latest opinion is of Burling (2003, p. 187-188) though none has put Manipuri in Nage or Kuki group it will be better to keep Manipuri by itself. The history of Manipur and the history of Manipuri literature divided into three periods ,say, Old period, Medieval and Modern. But in formulating history of Manipuri Language a period of Revivalism will be added. Because revivalism in script in script comes up (replacement by the Meetei Mayek which was replaced by Bangla script during the king Garibniwaj (1708-1778).Besides this, there are certain changes in the language, say, coining, use of archaic forms, more studies on language, the
impact of information technology etc.
1. Old Period: Before 1675 is regarded as the Old Period there is no influence of any other group on the language. State formation started since the 33 AD, during the reign of Nongda Lairen Pakhangba to the 14th century AD. In the early there are many principalities namely, Angom, Luwang, Mangang (Ning thouja), Khaba, Sarangthem, Chenglei, Haorok Konthou, Mating Mara, Heirem Khunjan, Moirang, Seloy Langmai etc. which have their own language. All these groups merged to Meetei and the language is called Meiteilon.
2. Medieval Period: The Hinduism started coming from the last part of the 17th century, the peak is in the 18th century. Lots of influences have taken place on the language starting from Phonology, morphology, words, phrases, syntax and semantics; it happens the replacement of the script (Meetei Mayek) by Bangla script.
3. Modern Period: The modern period started from the Anglo-Manipur War of Independence of 1891. Connection started earlier with the British. Formal education started; John Stone School was established, for instance, in 1885 and others also. Since the introduction of formation education gradually much more connection with Sanskrit, Hindi, Bangla (Indo-Aryan languages) have taken speedy shape. Borrowing and convergence have taken place. The effect lies on the language—morphology, lexical, phrase etc.
4. Revivalism: It has started from the 1980s with the wave of coming, use of archaic words, phrases etc. This is the influence of insurgence movement (though started in 1960s). In 2006 Meetei Mayek had started introducing in standard III along with coining and use of old archaic forms, use of more of English vocabularies etc.
Prof. Ch. Yashawanta Singh