The Garo language is a member of the Brahmaputran branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. It is spoken mainly in the northeast of India, and also in nearby parts of Bangladesh, by about 1.27 million people.
Garo is also known as Garrow, Mandi or Mande. Dialects include A'beng, A'chick, Brak Chibok, Dacca, Ganching, Kamrup. The A'chick dialect is spoken mainly in India, while the A'beng dialect is spoken in Bangladesh. They are not mutually intelligible.
In India Garo has about 1.15 million speakers, mainly in the Garo Hills district of Meghalaya state, and also in parts of Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and West Bengal states. It is a statutory provincial language in Meghalaya, and is taught in primary schools.
There are about 120,000 speakers of Garo in Bangladesh, mainly in the Dhaka and Sylhet divisions. The majority of speakers are literate in their language, although they write in the A'chick dialect, and speak in the A'beng dialect.
Brief lists of Garo words were compiled by British officials in 1800, and Garo acquired a Latin-based spelling system during the late 19th century. This was devised by American Baptist missionaries and based on a northeastern dialect of Garo. A version of the Bengali alphabet is sometimes used to write Garo in Bangladesh.
Garo publications include some collections of stories, weekly newspapers, school books, dictionaries and religious works, including the Bible. People use the language for private correspondence and some signs.
In 1979 a new alphabet for Garo, known as A-chik Tokbirim, was invented by Arun Ritchil Marak and is used to some extent in the village of Bhobanipur in the north west of Bangladesh.
Details provided by Wolfram Siegel
Information about Garo
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Page last modified: 17.11.22
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