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Northeast Today

German Researcher Writes First Grammar Book for Karbi Dialect

German Researcher Writes First Grammar Book for Karbi Dialect
January 05
13:19 2017

A German research scholar has authored the first grammar of Karbi tribal language spoken by Karbi tribe living in mainly in Assam and others parts of the Northeastern region.

Karbis are one of the most prominent tribes in Assam with a population of about 5 lakh. They basically have their roots in Karbi Anglong hill district that has total population of over 9.56 lakh. Karbis constitute the third largest tribal community in Assam after the Bodos and the Mishings. The tribe is named after its language called Karbi, a Tibeto-Burman (TB) language.

Though it is the region’s one of the advanced tribal communities , development of its language is in a nascent stage and did not have grammar till a young German research scholar, Linda Anna Konnerth, toiled for five years (2009-2014) to write the first grammar for Karbi dialect under the title ` A descriptive Karbi Grammar’ which has been published by Assam Book Hive Publications.

“The fruit of hard work of Linda who was working under the supervision of Professor Scott DeLancey of Linguistics Department of University of Oregon, USA, has now become a milestone for the development of language of Karbi tribe in Assam,” said noted writer Pabitra Bora who has written several book on Karbi Anglong and its people and was one of the key local aide for Linda in carrying out research work.

Association of Linguistic Topology has honoured Linda with Panini Award for her path breaking contribution towards development of Karbi language. “Born to a German mother and a Roman father, Linda basically hails from Munich city in Germany. During her study period spanning from 2009 to 2014, Linda used to visit various remote locations in Karbi Anglong on several occasions braving the hostile atmosphere in the insurgency-ravaged district, unfriendly climatic condition and communication problem.

But she was helped generously by prominent persons in the hill district in her work. Karbi Literary Forum helped Linda immensely in her research period,” Bora said. Her research work has made Linda so attached with the tribal community that she has now procured a substantial grant from Fire Bird Foundation of the USA for initiating a project for conservation of folk music/songs of the Karbi tribe.

-The Shillong Times

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