Atong is a member of the Brahmaputran branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. It is spoken by about 10,000 people in northeast India and neighbouring areas of Bangladesh. In India it is spoken by about 4,600 people in the South Garo Hills and West Khasi Hills districts of Meghalaya state, and in southern Kamrup district in Assam state. In Bangladesh it has about 5,400 speakers in the Dhaka division of the north Netrokona district.
Atong is also known as A'tong or Attong, and is closely related to Garo. The Atong people are classified as belonging to the Garo Scheduled Tribe in India, whose offical language is Garo. The language of education, administration, the media and literature in Atong-speaking areas in India is Garo. Most Atong people speak, or at least understand Garo, however Garo speakers do not understand Atong.
The Atong alphabet is based on the Khasi alphabet, which was develped by Welsh Presbyterian missionaries in the 1800s. This is why the schwa sound [ə] is written y, as in Welsh. Atong is also written with the Bengali alphabet.
Hear the Atong alphabet:
Thik thak kawoknotyi ue sa•gyraie. Kawbutungchi thik tokkyrengaw man•okno. Ytykyimuna tokkyrengaw man•aimungna ha•china wuuuuuuuk dym! takram•phinoknotyi phylgym gal•waan.
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