Bharat Stories
Light of Knowledge

About Karbi Language

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By Smitakshi Guha

Also known by the names of Arleng and Mikir, Karbi belongs to the family of Sino-Tibetan languages, and is mainly spoken by the Karbi people residing in parts of North-East India. Fundamentally, the native speakers of the language are the Karbi people residing in the north-eastern state of Assam in India. While other languages belonging to the Sino-Tibetan family have a standard classification zone, Karbi is one such language that though belonging to the Sino-Tibetan group, has remained unclassified till date.

While some do argue that it is classified under the Kukish branch of the Sino-Tibetan family, the official confirmation of this inference never happened.

Coming to the geographical distribution of the language, it is spoken by people spread over the Indian states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, as well as Nagaland.

In Assam, it is mainly spoken in the districts of Karbi Anglog, Nagaon, Mikir Hills, Marigaon, Darrang, Lakhimpur, Sonitpur, as well as Dima Hasao. In Arunachal Pradesh, it is spoken in the Papum Pare district, in Meghalaya, the Jaintia Hills district, and in Nagaland, it is spoken in the foothills of the Dimapur district.

Karbi conventionally is known for having a very rich oral traditions.

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