Manipuri language is also known as Meitei by the locals and is the recognized language by the Government of India. Although the state of Manipur is small, the total population of Manipuri speaking people all over the world is 1,500,000. People in the north east India and Manipur speak the language. Even some people in part of Bangladesh and even Myanmar speak Manipuri. People of Manipur also speak English and other languages fluently. There are five other languages that have been the language of instructions in schools and examinations. They are the Tangkhul, Kuki, Lusai, Hmar, Paite and Thadou.
Manipuri has its own script and is known as the Meitei Mayek. The origin of the language can be traced to the Kuki - Chin group of the Sino-Tibetan languages. The language can be dates back to the 11th century and had and independent script that can be traced up to the 18th century. But during the British rule, the script came to be used as the Bengali script and is used even today. But the original script is getting back to its roots and people in Manipur are trying hard to revive to its original script before it loses recognition.
Another language spoken widely in Manipur is the Bishnupriya Manipuri that is spoken mainly by the Bishnupriya Manipuris. They are known as the Indo-Aryan group of people who lived in these parts before even the advent of Hinduism intermingling with the Meitei. The language is spoken by around 4,50,000 people across Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Bangladesh, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Myanmar and some other countries as well. The Bishnupriya Manipuri language make use of Bengali script and is a variant of eastern Nagari script and uses the form of Bengali, Maithili and Assamese to write.
Bishnupriya has two dialects which are known as the Madai Gang and the Rajar Gang. However, these dialects are restrained to the limited geographical area. The Bishupriya Manipuri was traditionally confined to the nearby areas of Lake Loktak in Manipur. But, with the invasion of the Burmese attack and the internal conflict, many Bishnupriya Manipuris fled to the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries and took refuge in Sylhet, Tripura, Cachar, and Assam. The language has close proximity with Sanskrit words, sauraseni-Mahrastri Prakrit and contains pure Vedic words as well.
Last Updated on 15 March 2013