Assamese


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Assamese

(ăs'əmēz`), language belonging to the Indic group of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. See Indo-IranianIndo-Iranian,
subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages, spoken by more than a billion people, chiefly in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka (see The Indo-European Family of Languages, table).
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 languages.

Assamese

 

(self-designation—Ahomiya, Assamiya), people living in the state of Assam (northeastern India). The population in 1967 was estimated at 8 million. The language spoken is Assamese; the religion is Hinduism.

The ethnic origins and early history of the Assamese are poorly researched. Aryan-speaking migrants from the northwest, Tibeto-Burmese, and Thai migrants took part in their formation. In the seventh century the territory of Assam became known as Kamarupa. In the 13th century it was conquered by the Ahoms, a Thai people from Burma who established their own kingdom (its name was applied to the people and the country). In the course of time the Ahoms mixed with the local population and assimilated its language and culture.

The Assamese are primarily engaged in farming—rice, millet, corn, legumes, and other crops—and part of the population works on tea plantations and in oil extraction. Various crafts, such as weaving and ceramics, are well-developed. The Assamese are divided into castes, but the caste restrictions among them are less stringent than in other regions of India. Undivided families, in which married sons manage a common household with the parents, are preserved in the villages.

REFERENCE

Narody Iuzhnoi Azii. Moscow, 1963. (With bibliography.)

S. A. MARETINA


Assamese

 

the language of the Assamese, the official language of the state of Assam in India. Approximately 8 million people speak Assamese.

Assamese belongs to the Indian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is divided into two main dialects, Eastern and Western; the Assamese literary language is based on the Eastern dialect. Vowel harmony is a distinctive feature of the sound system of modern Assamese. Word formation is accomplished by compounding, suffixation, and less commonly prefixation.

Nouns are categorized according to four genders: words signifying animate beings are subdivided into nouns of the masculine and feminine genders according to respective sex; nouns belonging to the common gender are words signifying animate objects without any sexual reference (manuh, “person,” and xontan, “child”); words signifying inanimate objects belong to the neuter gender. Only nouns and pronouns are declined. All nouns in the Assamese language may have an intensive form—that is, a special expressive shade of meaning. Any adjective in the Assamese language can be substantivized. Complex verbs occur as denominative compounds and verbal compounds, the latter being made from the combination of two verb forms, the first of which bears a concrete lexical meaning and the second, additional shades of meaning, such as intensity, initiation, completion, permission, repetition of action, and so on. In Assamese the subject, as a rule, occurs in first position and the predicate in the last position.

The formation of the Assamese language dates to the tenth and 11th centuries; it was greatly influenced by the Magadhi and Apabhramsa Prakrit. After the conquest of Assam by the Ahoms (1228), the Assamese language received a large number of words from the Ahom (Shan) language. The spread of Vishnu religious literature in Assam resulted in the borrowing of Sanskrit words. The founder of literary Assamese was Shankardev (1449–1569). The development of literature in the Assamese language came to a halt during the colonization of Assam by the British, when Bengali became the official language. The Assamese syllabary, which can be traced back to ancient Indian Brahmanic writings, attained its final form at the beginning of the 19th century.

REFERENCES

Babakaev, V. D. Assamskii iazyk. Moscow, 1961.
Medhi Kaliran. Assamese Grammar and Origin of the Assamese Language. Gauhati, 1936.
Kakati, B. Assamese, Its Formation and Development. Gauhati, 1941.
Sarma, G. Assamese-English Dictionary. Shillong, 1957.
Sarma, G. English-Assamese Dictionary. Calcutta-Jorhat, 1957.
References in periodicals archive ?
And thousands of kilometres away here in the UAE, the Assamese expats left no stone unturned in making their 17th Rongali Bihu celebrations a great success.
On the auspicious occasion of Rongali Bihu, I extend my greetings and best wishes to the entire Assamese community in the UAE.
Stem, the party has been outflanked in the cause of Assamese provincialism by an armed secessionist movement of Assamese Hindus, the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), which had been troublesome enough to merit the intervention of the Indian army, the dismissal of the Parishad's state government by the centre, under its constitutional power to do so, and the imposition of its administration.
Two of the men picked up bricks and smashed the heads of the Assamese.
The migrants say they are mostly descended from East Bengali Muslims brought to Assam by the British to boost agricultural output by taming the "Chars" (river islands) -- and that they are as Indian as the ethnic Assamese or the tribes people in the state.
The Assamese expats in the UAE brought the spirit of Rongali Bihu with music dance and tradition.
Assamese food has very little spice and I fell in love with this place for its authentic Assamese food the first time I went there.
India) who engages with questions of Assamese identity through an investigation of migration and hybridity in Assam of the last three decades as revealed through analysis of a broad variety of texts that include personal accounts of the recent past, newspaper reports, articles, and other documents.
She has sung several hit songs in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Assamese and Marathi.
In a telephone interview, Zafaryab Jilani, who is the convener of the All India Babri Masjid Action Committee and the advocate general of Uttar Pradesh state in India, said the state of Assam, due to its difficult terrain and jungles, had become a safe haven for the opponents of the Assamese Muslims.
Raj Thackeray told thousands of supporters that the state home minister and city police chief should be sacked for failing to contain the violence that has led to thousands of Assamese residents fleeing the area.