Hajong language

Hajong Bhasa
Native to India, Bangladesh
Region Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal
Native speakers
63,000 (2001 census)[1]
8,000 in Bangladesh (no date)[2]
Assamese script, Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3 haj
Glottolog hajo1238[3]

Hajong, originally a Tibeto-Burman language,[4] is now considered an Indo-Aryan language with Tibeto-Burman roots. It is spoken by more than 175,000 ethnic Hajongs in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal in India and the Mymensingh District in Bangladesh. It is written in the Assamese script and the Latin script. It has many Sanskrit loan words. The Hajongs originally spoke a Tibeto-Burman language, but it was largely mixed with Assamese and Bengali.[5]

Old Hajong

The language spoken by the Hajong people now may be considered an Indo-Aryan language, this is due to language shift from a Tibeto-Burman language. Old Hajong or Khati Hajong may have been related to Garo or Bodo languages.


The Hajong Language varies within the clans because of regional variations. There are five notable clans of the Hajong people.

  • Doskinuh
  • Korebari
  • Susung'yuh
  • Barohajaryuh
  • Mespuh'ryuh

Writing system

The Hajong language is written using both the Latin and the Assamese scripts.[6] Although both of these scripts are in use in India, the Hajongs in Bangladesh expect to use the Bengali script since most education is in Bengali medium.[7] Often, for writing Hajong, the Assamese script is used. In each script, there is one added unique symbol for the close, back, unrounded vowel /ɯ/. In Latin script, it is written with "â" or simply uh. In Bengali script with "অৗ" or "কৗ" when it is syllable final.[8]


Hajong has 23 consonant phonemes, 8 vowel phonemes, and 2 approximants which have some characteristics of consonants namely /w/ and /j/ which act as diphthongs. The vowel phonemes are /a/, /i/, /u/, /e/, /æ/, /o/, /ǒ/ and /ɯ/ (close, back, unrounded). Unlike other indo-Aryan languages, Hajong language has only one 'i' and 'u'. It is somewhat ambiguous whether the final vowel is a phoneme or an allophone of [a] in the environment of other close vowels.[8] The extra vowel /ɯ/ is not present in other Indo-Aryan languages, but is typical for the Tibeto-Burman family.[9] The phonology of Hajong includes some vowel harmony and the devoicing of final consonants.[8]For separating syllables the apostrophe sign (') or hyphen (-) is used.

Consonant Phonemes

Consonants Example Meaning
k kan ear
kh khawa food
g gang river
gh ghor house
ng gang river
t tula your
th tho keep
d dang'o big
dh dhor hold
n nak nose
l tel oil
s sor move
r rang'a red
ch cha tea
j jor fever
jh jhala spicy
sh shongko conch
p pukhi bird
ph phol fruit
b bak tiger
bh bhoh'i field
m mao mother
h hilduh yellow

Vowel Phonemes

Vowels Written as Pronunciation
a a a of car
i i i of kill
u u u of put
e e a of thank
æ ae ay of say
o oh o of old
ǒ o a of all
ɯ uh i of girl


Hajong phonology has diphthongs which are iotized vowels with j(y) and w. Diphthongs are usually combinations of i or u with other vowel phonemes. Common examples of diphthongs are ya, as in Dyao which is the combined form of i and a; wa, as in khawa which is the combination of u and a; yuh, as in muh'yuh, combination of i and uh, and wuh, as in tuhwuhi, combination of u and uh.


Hajong language primarily has a canonical word order of Subject–object–verb. A subject–object–verb (SOV) language is one in which the subject, object, and verb of a sentence appear or usually appear in that order. Hajong language has a strong tendency to use postpositions rather than prepositions, to place auxiliary verbs after the action verb, to place genitive noun phrases before the possessed noun and to have subordinators appear at the end of subordinate clauses. Hajong is an agglutinative language. Even though it is considered an Eastern Indo-Aryan language, Hajong does not conjugate verbs in the same way Bengali or Asamiya do, but rather has a simplified system. The case endings in Hajong are also unique compared to other Indo-Aryan languages and may represent affinity with Tibeto Burman languages.[10][11] The following table is taken from Phillips:[11]

Hajong (in IPA) English Case
buri-rɯ the old woman unmarked
buri-rɯge to the old woman dative
buri-lɯ of the old woman genitive
buri ni to/at the old woman locative
buri bʰaʲ to the old woman allative
buri t̪ʰiki from the old woman ablative
buri diɯ through/by the help of the old woman instrumental

Example short phrases


Hajong Phrases Hajong Latin Script Meaning
কুমায় জায়? kumai jai? Where are you going?
কিংকৗ আছে? kingkuh ase? How are you?
তই আহিলে? ভিতুৰ ভায় আয়। Toi ahile? Bhiturbai ai. You came? Come inside.
তুলা আহাৰা ভালা হুছে। Tula ahara bhala huse. It was good of you to come.
ভাত খাছে? Bhat khase? Have you eaten?
চা খাবো? Cha khabo? Will you take tea?
তই কুন গাওলা? Toi kun gaola? What village are you from?
মই তাঙাবাৰিশৗ। Moi Tang'abariluh. I am from Tangabari.
ইলা তই কুমায় থাকে? Ila toi kumai thake? Now where do you live?
তুলা ঘৰৰা কুমায়? Tula ghorra kumai? Where is your house?
মুলা ঘৰৰা হাৱাখানানি। Mula ghorra Hawakhanani. My house is in Hawakhana.
ইদৗ অগে বুজিয়ৗ দি। Iduh oge bujyuh di. Explain this to him.
ইদৗনি লিখিক। Iduhni likhik. Write it here.
ময় জাং। Moi jang. I'm going.
আবাৰ লাক পাবো। Abar lak paboh. We will meet again.

See also


  1. Hajong at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hajong language at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Hajong". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. Hajong, B. (2002). The Hajongs and their struggle. Assam, Janata Press. Foreword(2) by Satyendra Narayan Goswami 2001.
  5. Danver (2015) Native Peoples of the World
  6. Script Source
  7. Ahmad, S., A. Kim, S. Kim, and M. Sangma. (2005). The Hajong of Bangladesh: A sociolinguistic survey. http://www.sil.org/resources/publications/entry/42943, p. 13.
  8. 1 2 3 Guts, Y. (2007). Phonological description of the Hajong language. Masters Thesis. Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit.
  9. Guts, Y. (2007). Phonological description of the Hajong language. Masters Thesis. Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit; p 59.
  10. Grierson, G. A. (1903-28). Linguistic survey of India. Repr. Delhi 1967. Calcutta, Motilal Banarsidass, p 215.
  11. 1 2 Phillips, V. C. (2011). "Case Marking in Hajong." In G. Hyslop, S. Morey and M. Post, Eds. North East Indian Linguistics: Volume 3. Delhi, Cambridge.
  12. Hajong, Abonis; D. Phillips; V. Phillips. (2008). "Hajong–Ingreji Sobdojor Bôy হাজং–ইংৰেজি শব্দজড় বই Hajong–English Phrase Book" Tura, Meghalaya.
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