Mizoram Language


The languages of Mizoram reflect the cultural diversity of the northeast Indian state. Tribal communities belonging to the Mizo race are predominant in the state. The tribal people however, give education its due importance and thus the state literacy rate is soaring at a phenomenal 88.29%. The people of Mizoram speak a number of languages of which Mizo and English hold a special place.

The Mizo community is an amalgam of several indigenous tribes who had their own unique lifestyle and distinctive dialects. The Duhlian dialect, also known as the Lusei among the locals was the most popular language of Mizoram. Over the years, this local mode of speech and communication has evolved into the northeast Indian state's lingua franca. However, traditional Lusei language was interspersed with traces of other dialects like the Mara, Fanai and Changte and their collective medley led to the formation of the Mizo language. Subsequently, the untiring efforts of the Christian missionaries led to the development of the Mizo script. This was a significant milestone that marked the development of a colloquial speech into a formal script. The writing pattern was a combination of the Roman script and Hunterian transliteration methodology with prominent traces of a phonetics based spelling system. The development of the Mizo writing script has prompted the state to demand the official recognition of the language in the 8th constitution.

Another language that has gained wide acceptability in Mizoram is English, the universal language. English has paramount importance in the sphere of the state's education, all administrative units and government matters as well as all other formal ceremonies.

English Language

Situated towards the north eastern part of the country, this is among the 7 Sister States of north east India. The natural beauty of the state includes rich flora and fauna nestled within the lush green mountains. The rivers meandering through this mountainous region just add on to the beauty of the place. All these made this north east Indian state earn the nickname of "Scotland of the East". The capital of the state is based at the city of Aizawl. The inhabitants of the state of Mizoram are classified by the anthropologists as the Tibeto - Burman speaking people belonging to the Mongoloid race.

As the state is inhabited mostly by the ethnic tribal communities, who are collectively called "Mizos" or the "people of the hills", the language of Mizo forms the main official language of the place. However, the language of English is another official language of this state. Thus, this language is even widely used in this state of India.

The state, with its average rate of literacy of 91.58 %, which is the 2nd highest literacy rate in the country, is presently leading in spreading substantial education. The process of doing so necessitated and still necessitates the wide as well as proper usages of the English language. Even the year 1985 witnessed the establishment of a District Resource Centre for the spreading of this language. Apart from the field of education, the dominance of this language is very much evident in almost all the official matters as well as several other domains. English is no longer a foreign language to the residents of the Mizoram state. Instead the language has become an inseparable part of their life. Along with the improvement of the education industry, this language has infiltrated into the blood of the locals. They are all set for the further revival of the language. Different types of initiatives related to this has already begun. These include awareness programs about this foreign language as well as inclusion of English as a subject in the different levels of school education. Release of Teachers Handbooks is another initiative for the spreading of English. The inhabitants of this state have understood the importance of this universally accepted language for imparting quality education and higher education. According to a report, the initiative taken by S. C. E. R. T. (State Council of Educational Research and Training) that is a part of the Government of Mizoram, helped in the conversion of 14 middle schools and 31 primary schools to English medium schools.

Besides that, during the 19th Century, many Christian missionaries developed the existing alphabetic system, which was adopted for the language of Mizo. The further adoption of the Roman scripts facilitated the spread as well as the learning of the language of English. Similar to the attitude that is prevalent in other regions of the country, the demand of the usage of this language in this north eastern state is in no way different. The locals have got a strong admiration for the English language. Presently, the Mizoram state has got many of its newspapers published in the English language. To name a few of those English dailies in this state are Highlander and Newslink.

Mizo

Mizo is the predominant language spoken by the inhabitants of Mizoram. The mountainous state of Mizoram or the erstwhile Lushai Hills District is the home of several tribal communities who are collectively known as the Mizos. The etymological connotation of the term Mizo implies highlander. In the local dialect 'Mi' is synonymous with people and 'Zo' means the inhabitant of an upland terrain. The Mizo language happens to be the lingua franca of the state. The language is an offshoot of the Kuki-Chin script that hails from the Tibeto-Burmese language. The several smaller tribal communities that include the Lushais, Kukis, Himars, Paithes, Pang, Raltes and Pawis agglomerate to form the Mizo tribe. Each of these tribes spoke a different dialect that was unique to its culture. The Duhlian dialect, also known as the Lusei among the locals, was the most popular language of Mizoram. Over the years, this local mode of speech and communication has evolved into the northeast Indian state's lingua franca.

It was the persistent initiatives of the Christian missionaries that led to the development of the colloquial dialect into a formal written script. The writing pattern was a medley of the Roman alphabet and Hunterian transliteration, interspersed with traces of a phonetics based spelling system.

The Mizo language, an amalgam of several local dialects like the Mara, Fannai and the Chhangte reflect the gradual cultural enrichment intellectual appetite of the residents of Mizoram. In fact, Mizoram University has an exclusive department that caters to the study and research of this beautiful subject.

Last Updated on : 27/06/2013