Languages of North East India: A Comparative and Contrastive Analysis on Some of the Phonological Features

Curiously Bareh


North East India has always been regarded as a treasure hold for researchers from different fields. Linguistically and culturally, North East India is very diverse. Considering the fact that NE India consists only 7.9 per cent of the country’s total geographical area but is home to more than 75% of languages belonging to the four language families, viz Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, Austro-Asiatic and Dravidian (small population of Tamil speakers in Moreh District of Manipur). To find four language families in such a small space is incredible and could be well regarded as a linguistic area. I am quite sure that there are certain features which these languages shared, by the process of borrowing, divergence or convergence. Nagamese (the Assamese-based pidgin of Nagaland, now creolizing) is the best example and outcome of contact among the different languages of North east.
This paper attempts to compare and highlight the contrast on some of the phonological features of these languages spoken in North East India. Each language has its own phonological system and each language family has its own unique phonological features. In the complex scenario of North east India, it is found that languages tend to preserve certain phonological features but compel to borrow on other features to meet their requirements.

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