Problems in the Analysis of Manipuri Language. P C Thoudam
  Home > Introduction
  Chapter  I
  Chapter  II
  Chapter  III
  Chapter  IV
  Chapter  V



There are problems in the analysis of languages. But the problems differ from language to language. Even the most developed language has problems at some point or the other. We have noticed several exceptions even to the widely described languages including English. The so-called exceptions are the problems, which we are not able to solve or identify or explain satisfactorily. It is natural to us that we try to explore the possibility of explaining the matter. But in case we are not able to explain satisfactorily, we took it as exceptions and we sometimes term them as rule exceptions, etc. etc. So long we are sincere and honest and we place it before others for their knowledge and even for their help in solving the problem, it is right; but if we try to suppress the facts and try to misinterpret it with a dubious intention, then the consequences cannot be healthy. Let us hope that such types of mistakes are not committed in the analysis of a language.


Let me come to the problems at the analysis of Manipuri Language. The Manipuri Language also known as Meiteiron or Meitei lon¹¹ belonging to the Kuki-Naga-Meitei    branch    of   the    Tibeto Burman

Language sub-family of the Sino-Tibetan Language Family is spoken mainly in Manipur, a State of the Indian Union in the Northeastern region bordering Myanmar , earlier ‘ Burma ’. It is also found spoken in Myanmar and Bangladesh across the border and also in the districts of Kamrup, Sibsagar, Cachar etc. in the state of Assam . This is one of the languages of the Tibeto-Burman sub-family, which has been extensively analyzed by the linguists.


The problem begins with the classification and subgrouping of this language. According to Grierson – it has been classified as a language belonging to the Old Kuki branch of the Kuki-Chin Sub group. This is not acceptable to Benedict and Halle and many others. After careful examination of the various features of the language it is opined that the language shall have been given a separate identity.  But till today no attempt has been made in this regard.


It is also not very clear that whether the classification and giving of the names of the languages and their family or groups are based on the name of the region or on the name of the community or tribe. There are several languages having similar phonological and grammatical structures but were given recognition as different languages. Again some of the dialects of a language have been regarded different languages. A detailed scientific study of the languages of the region, their classification and preparing of an atlas is the need of the hour.The available works on the language requires careful examination because there are several drawbacks and shortcomings. The linguistic descriptions of the language are either incomplete or defective.  Most of the people involved in the teaching of this language at the schools in the lower classes do not know the difference between the sounds and the script. Therefore, the teachers in the lower classes/standards teach the sounds as alphabets. They never made the learners to understand that the alphabets in the textbooks are symbols (graphemes), which represent the sounds. The young learners were taught the alphabets as sounds. Again, the young students were never made aware of the differences found in the language according to the presence of the tones and also the homophonous forms available in the language. They have been taught the language under the model of the grammar of a different language with which the teacher is acquainted. Further, the linguists/scholars engaged in the research and the analysis of the language have been provided incomplete, defective, partially correct information/data by the informants. At the same time, those who have knowledge of the language do not try to interpret in terms of the structure of the language rather they tried to analyze the language on the basis of the knowledge of the language in which they were trained, forgetting that it is altogether a different language belonging to a different family. This is one of the most important factors in creating problems.