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Dimasa language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Grao-Dima /গ্ৰাউ-ডিমা
Native toIndia
RegionAssam, Nagaland
Native speakers
137,184 (2011 census)[1]
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3dis

The Dimasa language is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken by the Dimasa people in Northeastern part of India , states of Assam and Nagaland. The Dimasa language is known to Dimasas as "Grao-Dima" and it is similar to Bodo, Kokborok and Garo language of India.


The Dimasa language is one of the oldest languages spoken in North East India, particularly in Assam. The word Dimasa etymologically translates to "Son of the big river" (Dima-river, sa-sons), the river being the mighty Brahmaputra. The Dimasa word "Di" meaning water, forms the root of the names of many of the major rivers of Assam and of North East India in general, such as Doigrung which means narrow river, Diyung which means huge river, Dikrang, which means green river, Dikhow, which means fetched water, and many others. The mighty river Brahmaputra is known as Dilao (long river) among the Dimasas even now. Many of the important towns and cities in Assam and Nagaland received their names from Dimasa words such as Diphu, Dimapur (a capital of the Dimasa Kingdom), Hojai, Khaspur, etc. In fact, the Dimasa language is one of the last languages of North East India to retain its original vocabulary without being compromised by foreign languages.[3]

Geographical distribution

Dimasa is spoken in:



There are six vowels in Dimasa language.

Front Central Back
IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script
Close i i u u
Close-mid e e o o
Mid ə e
Open a a
  • All vowels can occurs in all three positions, except /ə/ which occurs only medially.


i e o u
i iu
e ei eo
a ai ao
o oi
u ui
ə əo


There are sixteen consonants in the Dimasa language.

Labial Alveolar Dorsal Glottal
IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script
Nasal voiceless m m
voiced n n ŋ ng
Stop aspirated ph th kh
voiced b b d d ɡ g
Fricative voiceless s s
voiced z z ɦ h
Flap/Trill voiced ɾ r
Approximant voiceless j y
voiced w w
lateral l l
  • The three voiceless aspirated stops, /pʰ, tʰ, kʰ/, are unreleased in syllable final position. Their unaspirated voiced counterparts are released and cannot occur word final position.
  • Sometimes /pʰ, tʰ, kʰ, s/ are pronounced as /b, d, g, z/ respectively.
  • The consonants /pʰ, b, tʰ, kʰ, m, n, ɾ, l/ can occur in all position.
  • The consonants /g, s, s, ɦ/ cannot occur in Dimasa indigenous words, but can occur in loan words.
  • The consonants /d, w, j/ cannot appear in word final positions in Dimasa.
  • The consonants /ŋ/ cannot appear in word initial positions.


Dimasa language is an inflectional language. The verbs are inflected for number, tense, case, voice, aspect, mood but not for gender and person.


The nouns can be proper, common, abstract, collective etc.

Proper Nouns

Deringdao(Dimasa male name), Lairingdi(Dimasa female name)

Common nouns

Miya/Mia/Mya(boy), Masainjik(girl)

Abstract nouns

Khajama(happiness), Dukhu(sadness)


Ang(1st person singular)
Jing (1st person plural)
Ning(2nd person singular)
Nisi(2nd person plural)
Bo(3rd person singular)
Bunsi(3rd person plural)


Guju- Tall, Gedé- big

Sentence syntax

Usually it is of S+O+V type. For example:
Ang (S) makham (O) jidu(V).
That means I am having food.

Another one,
Bo(S) makham jidu.
That means - He/she is having food.

Thus, we can see that the verb is rarely inflected for person and gender.

It can also be of the type O+ V+ S. For example:
Makham(O) jidu(V) ang(S).
That also means - I am having food.

Writing system

Dimasa is written using the Latin script, which has been introduced in the lower primary education system in Dima Hasao District. The main guiding force behind it is the Dimasa Lairidim Hosom, a literary apex body of the Dimasa community.[4]

The Bengali script is used in Cachar, where the Bengali people live alongside Dimasas.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Dimasa". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Endle 1911, p. 4.
  4. ^ Archived 30 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine Kachari
  5. ^ "Index of languages by writing system". Retrieved 18 April 2018.


This page was last edited on 19 October 2019, at 16:03
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