A “nativised” Hindi known as Haflong Hindi associated with Assam’s only hill station is trying to hold its own amid a row over the Centre’s move to make Hindi compulsory in high schools across Northeast India.
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About Haflong Hindi
- Hindi reached Dima Hasao, a district formerly called North Cachar Hills, in the late 1800s primarily through merchants and construction workers who worked on a mountain railway system. By the time the railway line was completed in 1899, the non-tribal settlers and diverse indigenous communities across the hills had developed a pidgin to communicate among themselves.
- It came to be known as Haflong Hindi, named after the headquarters of the district where the Dimasa people are the dominant community.
- The other tribes are Hmar, Kuki, Zeme (Naga), Biate, Vaiphei, Hrangkhol, Khelma, Rongmei, Karbi and Jaintia.
- Haflong Hindi follows the Tibeto-Burman grammar, not the Hindi grammar, and has lexical additions from Nepali and Bengali.
- It has a generic plural marker and does not use numbers as in Hindi.
- For instance, the plural of ladki (girl) in Haflong Hindi is ladkiluk or ladkilukun and not ladkiyaan (girls) as in “mainland” Hindi. Likewise, a tree in Haflong Hindi is gachchhi borrowed from Nepali and not ped as in Hindi, while most sound changes follow the Bengali form.
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