Assamese language

Assamese (/ˌæsəˈmz/[5]), also Asamiya (/ɔxomia/),[6] is an Eastern Indo-Aryan language spoken mainly in the Indian state of Assam, where it is an official language. It is the easternmost Indo-European language, spoken by over 15 million speakers,[7] and serves as a lingua franca in the region.[8]

The word Ôxômiya ('Assamese') in Assamese script
Native toIndia
RegionAssam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland
EthnicityAssamese people
Native speakers
15 million (2011 census)[1]
Early forms
Eastern Nagari (Assamese)
Ahom script[2] (historical, rare)
Assamese Braille
Latin alphabet (Nagamese Creole)[3]
Official status
Official language in
 India (Assam)
Regulated byAsam Sahitya Sabha (literature/rhetorical congress of Assam)
Language codes
ISO 639-1as
ISO 639-2asm
ISO 639-3asm

Nefamese is an Assamese-based pidgin used in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagamese, an Assamese-based Creole language is widely used in Nagaland. The Kamtapuri language of Rangpur division of Bangladesh and Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri districts of India are linguistically closer to Assamese, though the speakers identify with the Bengali culture and the literary language.[9] In the past, it was the court language of the Ahom kingdom from the 17th century.

Along with other Eastern Indo-Aryan languages, Assamese evolved at least before 7th century CE[10] from the middle Indo-Aryan Magadhi Prakrit, which developed from dialects similar to, but in some ways more archaic than Vedic Sanskrit.[11]

Its sister languages include Angika, Bengali, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Chakma, Chittagonian, Hajong, Rajbangsi, Maithili, Rohingya and Sylheti. It is written in the Assamese alphabet, an abugida system, from left to right, with many typographic ligatures.


Assamese originated in Old Indo-Aryan dialects, though the exact nature of its origin and growth is not clear yet.[13] It is generally believed that Assamese (Assam) and the Kamatapuri lects (Cooch Bihar and Assam) derive from the Kamarupi dialect of Eastern Magadhi Prakrit[14] by keeping to the north of the Ganges;[15] though some authors contest a close connection of Assamese with Magadhi Prakrit.[16] The Indo-Aryan language in Kamarupa had differentiated by the 7th-century, before it did in Bengal or Orissa.[17] These changes were likely due to non-Indo-Aryan speakers adopting the language.[18][19][20] The evidence of the newly differentiated language is found in the Prakritisms of the Kamarupa inscriptions.[21][22]

The earliest forms of Assamese in literature are found in the ninth-century Buddhist verses called Charyapada, and in 12-14th century works of Ramai Pundit (Sunya Puran), Boru Chandidas (Krishna Kirtan), Sukur Mamud (Gopichandrar Gan), Durllava Mullik (Gobindachandrar Git) and Bhavani Das (Mainamatir Gan). In these works, Assamese features coexist with features from other Modern Indian Languages.

A fully distinguished literary form (poetry) appeared first in the fourteenth century— in the courts of the Kamata kingdom and in the courts of an eastern Kachari king where Madhav Kandali translated the Ramayana into Assamese (Saptakanda Ramayana). From the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, songs – Borgeets, dramas – Ankiya Naat and the first prose writings (by Bhattadeva) were composed. The literary language moved to the court of the Ahom kingdom in the seventeenth century,[23] where it became the state language. This period saw the widespread development of standardised prose infused with colloquial forms in Buranjis.

According to Goswami (2003), this included "the colloquial prose of religious biographies, the archaic prose of magical charms, the conventional prose of utilitarian literature on medicine, astrology, arithmetic, dance and music, and above all the standardised prose of the Buranjis.[24] The literary language, having become infused with the eastern idiom, became the standard literary form in the nineteenth century, when the British adopted it for state purposes. As the political and commercial center shifted to Guwahati after the mid-twentieth century, the literary form moved away from the eastern variety to take its current form.

Geographical distribution

Assamese is native to Brahmaputra Valley consisting of western and eastern Assam. It is also spoken in states of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Presence of Assamese script can be found in Rakhine state of present Myanmar. Pashupati temple in Nepal also have inscription in Assamese showing its influence and prosperity in the past. There are also significant Assamese-speaking diaspora worldwide.[25][26][27][28]

Official status

Assamese is the official language of Assam, and one of the 23 official languages recognised by the Republic of India. The Assam Secretariat functions in Assamese.[29]


The Assamese phonemic inventory consists of eight vowels, ten diphthongs, and twenty-three consonants (including two semivowels).[30]

Front Central Back
IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script
Close i i ই/ঈ u u উ/ঊ
Near-close ʊ/o ú/o'
Close-mid e é এʼ o ó অʼ
Open-mid ɛ e ɔ o
Open a a
a i u
ɔ ɔi
a ai au
i iu
u ua ui
e ei eu
o oi ou
Labial Alveolar Dorsal Glottal
IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script IPA ROM Script
Nasal m m n n ন/ণ ŋ ng ঙ/ং
Stop voiceless p p t t ত/ট k k
aspirated ph th থ/ঠ kh
voiced b b d d দ/ড ɡ g
murmured bh dh ধ/ঢ ɡʱ gh
Fricative voiceless s s চ/ছ x x শ/ষ/স ɦ h
voiced z z জ/ঝ/য
Approximant central w w ɹ r j y য়/্য (য)
lateral l l

Consonant clusters

Consonant clusters in Assamese include thirty-three pure consonant letters in the Assamese alphabet. Each letter represents a single sound with an inherent vowel, the short vowel /ɔ/.

The first twenty-five consonants letters are called sparxa barna . These sparxa barnas are again divided into five bargas. Therefore, these twenty-five letters are also called "bargia barna".

Alveolar stops

The Assamese phoneme inventory is unique in the Indic group of languages in its lack of a dental-retroflex distinction among the coronal stops as well as the lack of postalveolar affricates and fricatives.[31] Historically, the dental and retroflex series merged into alveolar stops. This makes Assamese resemble non-Indic languages of Northeast India (such as Austroasiatic and Sino-Tibetan languages).[32] The only other language to have fronted retroflex stops into alveolars is the closely related eastern dialects of Bengali (although a contrast with dental stops remains in those dialects). Note that /r/ is normally realised as [ɹ] or as a retroflex approximant.

Voiceless velar fricative

Assamese and Sylheti are unusual among Eastern Indo-Aryan languages for the presence of the /x/ (which, phonetically, varies between velar ([x]) and a uvular ([χ]) pronunciations, depending on the speaker and speech register), historically the MIA sibilant has lenited to /x/ and /h/ (non-initially).[33] The derivation of the velar fricative from the coronal sibilant /s/ is evident in the name of the language in Assamese; some Assamese prefer to write Oxomiya or Ôxômiya instead of Asomiya or Asamiya to reflect the sound change.[34] The voiceless velar fricative is absent in the West Goalpariya dialects[35] though it is found in lesser extent in East Goalpariya and Kamrupi,[36] otherwise used extensively further east. The change of /s/ to /h/ and then to /x/ has been attributed to Tibeto-Burman influence by Dr. Chatterjee.[37]

Velar nasal

Assamese, Odia, and Bengali, in contrast to other Indo-Aryan languages, use the velar nasal (the English ng in sing) extensively. In many languages, while the velar nasal is commonly restricted to preceding velar sounds, in Assamese it can occur intervocalically.[30] This is another feature it shares with other languages of Northeast India, though in Assamese the velar nasal never occurs word-initially.[38]

Vowel inventory

Eastern Indic languages like Assamese, Bengali, Sylheti, and Odia do not have a vowel length distinction, but have a wide set of back rounded vowels. In the case of Assamese, there are four back rounded vowels that contrast phonemically, as demonstrated by the minimal set: কলা kôla [kɔla] ('deaf'), ক'লা kola [kola] ('black'), কোলা kûla [kʊla] ('lap'), and কুলা kula [kula] ('winnowing fan'). The near-close near-back rounded vowel /ʊ/ is unique in this branch of the language family. But in lower Assam, ও is pronounced same as অ' (o') which is also correct. কোলা kola [ko'la] মোৰ mor [mo'r]

Vowel harmony

Assamese has vowel harmony. The vowels [i] and [u] cause the preceding mid vowels and the high back vowels to change to [e] and [o] and [u] respectively. Assamese is one of the few languages spoken in India which exhibit a systematic process of vowel harmony [39][40]

Writing system

Modern Assamese uses the Assamese script, and in the medieval times, the script came in three varieties: Bamuniya, Garhgaya, Kaitheli/Lakhari, which developed from the Kamarupi script. It very closely resembles the Mithilakshar script of the Maithili language, as well as the Bengali script.[41] There is a strong literary tradition from early times. Examples can be seen in edicts, land grants and copper plates of medieval kings. Assam had its own manuscript writing system on the bark of the saanchi tree in which religious texts and chronicles were written, as opposed to the pan-Indian system of Palm leaf manuscript writing. The present-day spellings in Assamese are not necessarily phonetic. Hemkosh (হেমকোষ [ɦɛmkʊx]), the second Assamese dictionary, introduced spellings based on Sanskrit, which are now the standard.

In the early 1970s, it was agreed upon that the Roman script was to be the standard writing system for Nagamese Creole.[3]

Morphology and grammar

The Assamese language has the following characteristic morphological features:[42]

  • Gender and number are not grammatically marked.
  • There is a lexical distinction of gender in the third person pronoun.
  • Transitive verbs are distinguished from intransitive.
  • The agentive case is overtly marked as distinct from the accusative.
  • Kinship nouns are inflected for personal pronominal possession.
  • Adverbs can be derived from the verb roots.
  • A passive construction may be employed idiomatically.

Negation process

Verbs in Assamese are negated by adding /n/ before the verb, with /n/ picking up the initial vowel of the verb. For example:[43]

  • /na laɡɛ/ 'do(es) not want' (1st, 2nd and 3rd persons)
  • /ni likʰʊ̃/ 'will not write' (1st person)
  • /nukutʊ̃/ 'will not nibble' (1st person)
  • /nɛlɛkʰɛ/ 'does not count' (3rd person)
  • /nɔkɔɹɔ/ 'do not do' (2nd person)


Assamese has a huge collection of classifiers, which are used extensively for different kinds of objects, acquired from the Sino-Tibetan languages.[44] A few examples of the most extensive and elaborate use of classifiers are given below:

  • "zɔn" is used to signify a person, male with some amount of respect
    • E.g., manuh-zɔn – "the man"
  • "zɔni" (female) is used after a noun or pronoun to indicate human beings
    • E.g., manuh-zɔni – "the woman"
  • "zɔni" is also used to express the non-human feminine
    • E.g., sɔɹai zɔni – "the bird", pɔɹuwa-zɔni – "the ant"
  • "zɔna" and "gɔɹaki" are used to express high respect for both man and woman
    • E.g., kɔbi-zɔna – "the poet", gʊxaɪ-zɔna – "the goddess", rastrapati-gɔɹaki – "the president", tiɹʊta-gɔɹaki – "the woman"
  • "" has three forms: , ta, ti
    • (a) tʊ: is used to specify something, although someone, e.g., loɹa- – "the particular boy" (impolite)
    • (b) ta: is used only after numerals, e.g., ɛta, duta, tinita – "one, two, three"
    • (c) ti: is the diminutive form, e.g., kesua-ti – "the infant, besides expressing more affection or attachment to
  • "kɔsa", "mɔtʰa" and "taɹ" are used for things in bunches
    • E.g., sabi-kɔsa - "the bunch of key", saul-mɔtʰa – "a handful of rice", suli-taɹi or suli kɔsa – "the bunch of hair"
  • dal, dali, are used after nouns to indicate something long but round and solid
    • E.g., bãʱ-dal - "the bamboo", katʰ-dal – "the piece of wood", bãʱ-dali – "the piece of bamboo"
Assamese Classifiers
/zɔn/males (adult)manuh-zɔn (the man - honorific)
/zɔni/females (women as well as animals)manuh-zɔni (the woman), sɔrai-zɔni (the bird)
/zɔna/honorifickobi-zɔna (the poet), gʊxai-zɔna (the god/goddess)
/ɡɔɹaki/males and females (honorific)manuh-ɡɔɹaki (the woman), rastrɔpɔti-gɔɹaki (the president)
/tʊ/inanimate objects or males of animals and men (impolite)manuh- (the man - diminutive), gɔɹu- (the cow)
/ti/inanimate objects or infantskesua-ti (the baby)
/ta/for counting numeralse-ta (count one), du-ta (count two)
/kʰɔn/flat square or rectangular objects, big or small, long or short
/kʰɔni/terrain like rivers and mountains
/tʰupi/small objects
/zak/group of people, cattle; also for rain; cyclone
/pat/objects that are thin, flat, wide or narrow.
/sɔta/objects that are solid
/kɔsa/mass nouns
/mɔtʰa/bundles of objects
/mutʰi/smaller bundles of objects
/taɹ/broomlike objects
/ɡɔs/wick-like objects
/ɡɔsi/with earthen lamp or old style kerosene lamp used in Assam
/zʊpa/objects like trees and shrubs
/kʰila/paper and leaf-like objects
/kʰini/uncountable mass nouns and pronouns
/dal/inanimate flexible/stiff or oblong objects; humans (pejorative)

In Assamese, classifiers are generally used in the numeral + classifier + noun (e.g. /ezɔn manuh/ 'one man') or the noun + numeral + classifier (e.g. /manuh ezɔn/ 'one man') forms.


Most verbs can be converted into nouns by the addition of the suffix /ɔn/. For example, /kʰa/ ('to eat') can be converted to /kʰaɔn/ ('good eating').[45]

Grammatical cases

Assamese has 8 grammatical cases:

CasesSuffixExampleLiteral English translationNormal English translationNote
Absolutive none বাৰীত গৰু সোমাল।
(barit goru- xümal.)
Garden-LOC cattle-ABS entered Cattles entered into the garden.
Ergative -, -
(-e, -i)
গৰুৱে ঘাঁহ খায়।
(goru-e ghãh kha-e.)
Cattle-ERG grass-ACC eat-(3rd person, habitual present) Cattles eat grass. The personal pronouns without a plural or other suffix are not marked.
Accusative -(), −
(-(o)k, −)
১. শিয়ালটোৱে শহাটো খেদি আছে।
(1. xial-tü-e xoha-tü-k khedi ase.)
২. তেওঁলোকে চোৰটো পুলিচক গতালে।
(2. teü̃lük-e sür-tü- pulis-ok gotale.)
1. Jackal-the-ERG hare-the-ACC chasing exist-(3rd person, present continuous).
2. They thief-the-ACC police-ACC handover-(recent past)-(3rd person).
1. The jackal is chasing the hare.
2. They handed over the thief to the police.
Genitive -(অ)ৰ
তাই ঘৰ
(tai-r ghor)
she-GEN house Her house
Dative -(অ)লৈ [dialectal: -(অ)লে]; -(অ)ক
(-(o)loi [dialectal: -(o)le]; -(o)k)
১. সি পঢ়াশালিলৈ গৈ আছে।
(1. xi porhaxali-loi goi ase.)
. বা চাবিটো দিয়া।
(2. ba-k sabi-tü- dia.)
1. He school-DAT going exist-(3rd person, present continuous)
2. Eldersister-DAT key-the-ACC give-(familiar, imperative).
1. He is going to (the) school.
2. Give elder sister the key.
Terminative -(অ)লৈকে [dialectal: -(অ)লেকে]
(-(o)loi [dialectal: -(o)leke])
১. মই নহালৈকে কʼতো নেযাবা।
(1. moi n-oha-loike kót-ü ne-za-b-a.)
২. ১ৰ পৰা লৈকে
(2. 1-or pora 7-oloike)
1. I not-coming-TERM where-even not-go-future-(3rd person)
2. 1-GEN from 7-TERM
1. Don't go anywhere until I don't come.
2. From 1 up to 7
Instrumental -(এ)ৰে [dialectal: -(এ)দি]
(-(e)re [dialectical: -(e)di])
কলমেৰে লিখিছিলা।
(kolom-ere likhisila.)
pen-INS write-(2rd person, distant past). You wrote with (a) pen.
Locative -(অ)ত [sometimes: -এ]
(-(o)t [sometimes: -e])
১. সি বহীখন লিখিছে।
(1. xi bohi-khon-ot likhise.)
২. আইতা মঙলবাৰে আহিছিল।
(2. aita moŋolbar-e ahisil.)
1. He notebook-the-LOC write-(present perfect)-(3rd person).
2. Grandmother Tuesday-LOC come-(distant past)-(3rd person).
1. He has written on the notebook.
2. Grandmother came on Tuesday.


Number Person Gender Pronouns
Singular 1st m/f (I) moimükmürmütmüloi
2nd m/f (you) toi ᵛ
tumi ᶠ
apuni ᵖ
3rd m (he)
n (it, that)
i *
xi **
f (she) ei *
tai **
n & p (he/she) eü/ekhet(-e ᵉ) *
teü/tekhet(-e ᵉ) **
Plural 1st m/f (we) amiamakamaramatamaloi
2nd m/f (you) tohõt(-e ᵉ) ᵛ
tümalük(-e ᵉ) ᶠ
apünalük(-e ᵉ) ᵖ
3rd m/f (they) ihõt *
eülük/ekhetxokol(-e ᵉ) ᵖ *
xihõt **
teülük/tekhetxokol(-e ᵉ) ᵖ **
n (these, those) eibür(-e ᵉ) ᵛ *
eibilak(-e ᵉ) ᶠ *
eixomuh(-e ᵉ) ᵖ *
xeibür(-e ᵉ) ᵛ **
xeibilak(-e ᵉ) ᶠ **
xeixomuh(-e) ᵖ **

m=male, f=female, n=neuter., *=the person or object is near., **=the person or object is far., v =very familiar, inferior, f=familiar, p=polite, e=ergative form.


With consonant ending verb likh (write) and vowel ending verb kha (eat, drink, consume).

Stem Likh, Kha
Gerund Likha, khüa
Causative Likha, khua
Conjugative Likhi, Khai & Kha
Infinitive Likhibo, Khabo
Goal Likhiboloi, Khaboloi
Terminative Likhiboloike, Khaboloike
Agentive Likhüta ⁿᵖ/Likhüra ᵐⁱ/Likhüri ᶠⁱ, Khaüta ⁿᵖ/Khaüra ᵐⁱ/Khaüri ᶠⁱ
Converb Likhüte, Khaüte
Progressive Likhüte likhüte, Khaüte khaüte
Reason Likhat, Khüat
Likhilot, Khalot
Conditional Likhile, Khale
Perfective Likhi, Khai
Habitual Likhi likhi, Khai khai

For different types of verbs.

Tense Person tho "put" kha "consume" pi "drink" de "give" dhu "wash" kor "do" randh "cook" ah "come"
+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - + -
Simple Present 1st per. thoü nothoü khaü nakhaü ~ nekhaü piü nipiü diü nidiü dhuü nudhuü korü nokorü randhü narandhu ~ nerandhü ahü nahü
2nd per. inf. thoö nothoö khao nakhao ~ nekhao pio nipio dio nidio dhuo nudhuo koro nokoro randho narandho ~ nerandho aho naho
2nd per. pol. thüa nüthüa khüa nükhüa pia nipia dia nidia dhüa nüdhüa kora nokora randha narandha ~ nerandha aha naha
2nd per. hon. & 3rd per. thoe nothoe khae nakhae ~ nekhae pie nipie die nidie dhue nudhue kore nokore randhe narandhe ~ nerandhe ahe nahe
Present continuous 1st per. thoi asü thoi thoka nai khai asü khai thoka nai pi asu pi thoka nai di asü di thoka nai dhui asü dhui thoka nai kori asü kori thoka nai randhi asü randhi thoka nai ahi asü ahi thoka nai
2nd per. inf. thoi aso khai aso pi aso di aso dhui aso kori aso randhi aso ahi aso
2nd per. pol. thoi asa khai asa pi asa di asa dhui asa kori asa randhi asa ahi asa
2nd per. hon. & 3rd per. thoi ase khai ase pi ase di ase dhui ase kori ase randhi ase ahi ase
Present Perfect 1st per. thoisü thüa nai khaisü khüa nai pisü pia nai disü dia nai dhui asü dhüa nai korisü kora nai randhisü rondha nai ahi asü oha nai
2nd per. inf. thoiso khaiso piso diso dhuiso koriso randhiso ahiso
2nd per. pol. thoisa khaisa pisa disa dhuisa korisa randhisa ahisa
2nd per. hon. & 3rd per. thoise khaise pise dise dhuise korise randhise ahise
Recent Past 1st per. thölü nothölü khalü nakhalü ~ nekhalü pilü nipilü dilü nidilü dhulü nudhulü korilü nokorilü randhilü narandhilü ~ nerandhilü ahilü nahilü
2nd per. inf. thöli nothöli khali nakhali ~ nekhali pili nipili dili nidili dhuli nudhuli korili nokorili randhili narandhili ~ nerandhili ahilu nahilu
2nd per. pol. thöla nothöla khala nakhala ~ nekhala pila nipila dila nidila dhula nudhula korila nokorila randhila narandhila ~ nerandhila ahila nahila
2nd per. hon. & 3rd per. thöle nothöle khale nakhale ~ nekhale pile nipile dile nidile dhule nudhule korile nokorile randhile narandhile ~ nerandhile ahile / ahilᵗʳ nahile / nahilᵗʳ
Distant Past 1st per. thoisilü nothoisilü ~ thüa nasilü khaisilü nakhaisilü ~ nekhaisilü ~ khüa nasilü pisilü nipisilü ~ pia nasilü disilü nidisilü ~ dia nasilü dhuisilü nudhuisilü ~ dhüa nasilü korisilü nokorisilü ~ kora nasilü randhisilü narandhisilü ~ nerandhisilü ~ rondha nasilü ahisilü nahisilü ~ oha nasilü
2nd per. inf. thoisili nothoisili ~ thüa nasili khaisili nakhaisili ~ nekhaisili ~ khüa nasili pisili nipisili ~ pia nasili disili nidisili ~ dia nasili dhuisili nudhuisili ~ dhüa nasili korisili nokorisili ~ kora nasili randhisili narandhisili ~ nerandhisili ~ rondha nasili ahisili nahisili ~ oha nasili
2nd per. pol. thoisila nothoisila ~ thüa nasila khaisila nakhaisila ~ nekhaisila ~ khüa nasila pisila nipisila ~ pia nasila disila nidisila ~ dia nasila dhuisila nudhuisila ~ dhüa nasila korisila nokorisila ~ kora nasila randhisila narandhisila ~ nerandhisila ~ rondha nasila ahisila nahisila ~ oha nasila
2nd per. hon. & 3rd per. thoisile nothoisile ~ thüa nasile khaisile nakhaisile ~ nekhaisile ~ khüa nasile pisile nipisile ~ pia nasile disile nidisile ~ dia nasile dhuisile nudhuisile ~ dhüa nasile korisile nokorisile ~ kora nasile randhisile narandhisile ~ nerandhisile ~ rondha nasile ahisile nahisile ~ oha nasile
Past continuous 1st per. thoi asilü thoi thoka nasilü khai asilü khai thoka nasilü pi asilü pi thoka nasilü di asilü di thoka nasilü dhui asilü dhui thoka nasilü kori asilü kori thoka nasilü randhi asilü randhi thoka nasilü ahi asilü ahi thoka nasilü
2nd per. inf. thoi asili thoi thoka nasili khai asili khai thoka nasili pi asili pi thoka nasili di asili di thoka nasili dhui asili dhui thoka nasili kori asili kori thoka nasili randhi asili randhi thoka nasili ahi asili ahi thoka nasili
2nd per. pol. thoi asila thoi thoka nasila khai asila khai thoka nasila pi asila pi thoka nasila di asila di thoka nasila dhui asila dhui thoka nasila kori asila kori thoka nasila randhi asila randhi thoka nasila ahi asila ahi thoka nasila
2nd per. hon. & 3rd per. thoi asil(e) thoi thoka nasil(e) khai asil(e) khai thoka nasil(e) pi asil(e) pi thoka nasil(e) di asil(e) di thoka nasil(e) dhui asil(e) dhui thoka nasil(e) kori asil(e) kori thoka nasil(e) randhi asil(e) randhi thoka nasil(e) ahi asil{e) ahi thoka nasil(e)
Simple Future 1st per. thöm nothöm kham nakham ~ nekham pim nipim dim nidim dhum nudhum korim nokorim randhim narandhim ~ nerandhim ahim nahim
2nd per. inf. thöbi nothöbi khabi nakhabi ~ nekhabi pibi nipibi dibi nidibi dhubi nudhubi koribi nokoribi randhibi narandhibi ~ nerandhibi ahibi nahibi
2nd per. pol. thöba nothöba khaba nakhaba ~ nekhaba piba nipiba diba nidiba dhuba nudhuba koriba nokoriba randhiba narandhiba ~ nerandhiba ahiba nahiba
2nd per. hon. & 3rd per. thöbo nothöbo khabo nakhabo ~ nekhabo pibo nipibo dibo nidibo dhubo nudhubo koribo nokoribo randhibo narandhibo ~ nerandhibo ahibo nahibo
Future continuous 1st per. thoi thakim thoi nathakim/nethakim khai thakim khai nathakim/nethakim pi thakim pi nathakim/nethakim di thakim di nathakim/nethakim dhui thakim dhui nathakim/nethakim kori thakim kori nathakim/nethakim randhi thakim randhi nathakim/nethakim ahi thakim ahi nathakim/nethakim
2nd per. inf. thoi thakibi thoi nathakibi/nethakibi khai thakibi khai nathakibi/nethakibi pi thakibi pi nathakibi/nethakibi di thakibi di nathakibi/nethakibi dhui thakibi dhui nathakibi/nethakibi kori thakibi kori nathakibi/nethakibi randhi thakibi randhi nathakibi/nethakibi ahi thakibi ahi nathakibi/nethakibi
2nd per. pol. thoi thakiba thoi nathakiba/nethakiba khai thakiba khai nathakiba/nethakiba pi thakiba pi nathakiba/nethakiba di thakiba di nathakiba/nethakiba dhui thakiba dhui nathakiba/nethakiba kori thakiba kori nathakiba/nethakiba randhi thakiba randhi nathakiba/nethakiba ahi thakiba ahi nathakiba/nethakiba
2nd per. hon. & 3rd per. thoi thakibo thoi nathakibo/nethakibo khai thakibo khai nathakibo/nethakibo pi thakibo pi nathakibo/nethakibo di thakibo di nathakibo/nethakibo dhui thakibo dhui nathakibo/nethakibo kori thakibo kori nathakibo/nethakibo randhi thakibo randhi nathakibo/nethakibo ahi thakibo ahi nathakibo/nethakibo

The negative forms are n + 1st vowel of the verb + the verb. Example: Moi porhü, Moi noporhü (I read, I do not read); Tumi khelila, Tumi nekhelila (You played, You didn't play). For verbs that start with a vowel, just the n- is added, without vowel lengthening. In some dialects if the 1st vowel is a in a verb that starts with consonant, ne is used, like, Moi nakhaü (I don't eat) is Moi nekhaü. In past continuous the negative form is -i thoka nasil-. In future continuous it's -i na(/e)thaki-. In present continuous and present perfect, just -i thoka nai and -a nai' respectively are used for all personal pronouns. Sometimes for plural pronouns, the -hok suffix is used, like korühok (we do), ahilahok (you guys came).Content

Relationship suffixes

PersonsSuffixExampleEnglish translation
1st person none Mür/Amar ma, bap, kokai, vai, ba, voni My/Our mother, father, elder-brother, younger-brother, elder-sister, younger-sister
2nd person
(very familiar; inferior)
-(e)r Tür/Tohõtor mar, baper, kokaier, bhaier, bar, bhonier Your/Your(pl) mother, father, elder-brother, younger-brother, elder-sister, younger-sister
2nd person
-(e)ra Tümar/Tümalükor mara, bapera, kokaiera, bhaiera, bara, bhoniera Your/Your(pl) mother, father, elder-brother, younger-brother, elder-sister, younger-sister
2nd person
3rd person
-(e)k Apünar/Apünalükor/Tar/Tair/Xihotõr/Teür mak, bapek, kokaiek, bhaiek, bak, bhoniek Your/Your(pl)/His/Her/Their/His~Her(formal) mother, father, elder-brother, younger-brother, elder-sister, younger-sister


Regional dialects

The language has quite a few regional variations. Banikanta Kakati identified two broad dialects which he named (1) Eastern and (2) Western dialects,[46] of which the eastern dialect is homogeneous, and prevalent to the east of Guwahati, and the western dialect is heterogeneous. However, recent linguistic studies have identified four dialect groups listed below from east to west:[30]


English Eastern Central Kamrupi Western Goalpariya
Mother Ma, Ai Mai, Ai Mai, Ai Maö, Ai, Mai
Why Kio, Kelei Kia Kia Kene, Ke
Wind Botah Batah Bataṣ
Money Toka Toka Taka Taka
Crab Keküra Kakra Kakra
And Aru (,Akou) Aö, Ako Aro, Aku Ar, Arö
Young male Deka, Sengelia Deka, Sengea Sengra, Deka Sengra
Cattle Goru Goo Goru Göru
Buffalo Möh Moh Moih, Möh Moiṣ
Bad Bea Bea Boea, Büea Bea, Boea
Plough Nangol, Hal Langon, Hal Nangal, Hal
Seedlings Kothia Kothia Koitha
Mud Büka Böka Pek
Now Etia Itia Ite, Ethen Ela
Once Ebar Eba Akbar Ekbar
I can, I can't, I could, I couldn't Parü, Nüarü, Parilü, Nüarilü Paong, Noong, Paĩlong, Noĩlong Paru, Noru, Pallu, Nollu Parong, Naparong/Parong na, Parlung, Naparlung/Parlung na
Good person Bhal manuh Bhal manhu Bhal manhu Bhal manshi
I went home. Moi ghoroloi goisilü. Moe ghook goesilong. Moi ghorük geisilu. Mui ghor geisilung.
Will you go when I come? Moe ahile toi zabi ne? Moe ahili toi zabi na? Moi aihli toi zabi na? Mui/Moi ashile ki tui zabu?
He told us to get off the vehicle. Xi amak garir pora namiboloi kóle. Xi amak gai pa namiba ligi kola. Xi amak garir para nambak logi kolak. Oui amak gaṛi thakia namibar koil.
You should not cut the tree with the dao. Toe gosdal dakhonere katibo nelage. Toe gosdal daxanedi katiba nalage. Toi gasdal dakhan di katba nalge. Tui gasṭa daökhan dia kaṭiba nalage.
Will he go? Xi zabo ne? Xi zabo na? Xi zabo na Oui ki zabe?
If we die, you will also die. Ami morile toiü moribi. Ami moili toü moibi. Ami molli toiü morbi. Amra/Ami morle tuiö morbu/morbi
I will tell who will be the king. Roza kün höbo moi köm. Raza kün hobu moe kom. Raza kae hobo moi kom. Raza kae hoibe mui koim.
When I was bringing the eggs, they fell on the ground. Moi konibilak anüte matit pori göl. Moe konibilak anöngte matit pori gol. Moi dimagilak ante matit pori gel. Mui dimagilak anite matit poria geil.
I brought fish for Nitu catching from the pond. Nituloi pukhurir pora mas dhori anisü. Nitu ligi puxui pa mas dhoi anisöng Nituk lagi pukhrir para mas dhori ansü. Nituk lagia pukhrir para mas dhoria ancung.
You sit. (Polite) Apuni bohok. Aponi bohok. Apni bohok. Tömra boshö.
Ram also went to his home eating rice with them. Xihõtor logot Rameü bhat khai kamtü korile. Tahãtü logot Ameü bhat khai kamtü koila. Tahãtor logot Rameü bhat khai kamtü kollak Umrar logot Ram(e)ö bhai khaea kamta korilek.
I don't eat these in this manner. Moi enekoi eibür nekhaü. Moe eneke eibhu naxang. Moi enke eigila nakhaü. Mui engka eigila nakhang.
When did you come? Toi ketia ahiso? Toe kitita ahiso? Toi kitia aihso? Tui kunbela ashcish?
English Eastern Central Kamrupi Goalpariya


Collected from the book, Assamese – Its formation and development.[47] The translations are of different versions of the English translations:

English: A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, 'I want my share of your estate now before you die.' So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

Eastern Assamese (Sibsagar): Künü ezon manuhor duta putek asil, tare xorutüe bapekok kole, "Oi büpai! xompottir zi bhag moi paü tak mük diok!" Tate teü teür xompotti duiü putekor bhitorot bati dile. Olop dinor pasot xorutü puteke tar bhagot zi pale take loi dur dexoloi goi beissali kori gütei xompotti nax korile. Tar pasot xei dexot bor akal höl. Tate xi dux paboloi dhorile. Tetia xi goi xei dexor ezon manuhor asroe lole, aru xei manuhe tak gahori soraboloi potharoloi pothai dile. Tate xi gahorir khüa ebidh gosor seire pet bhoraboloi bor hepah korileü tak küneü ekü nidile.

Central Assamese: Manhu ezono duta putak asil. Tahãtüü bhitoot xoutü putake bapekok kola,

Kamrupi (Pati Darrang): Eta manhur duta putak asil, xehatör xorutui bapakök kolak, "He pite, xompöttir mör bhagöt zikhini porei, take mök di." Tate teö nizör xompötti xehatök bhagei dilak. Tar olop dinör pasötei xeñ xoru putektüi xokolöke götei loi kömba dexok legi polei gel aru tate lompot kamöt götei urei dilak. Xi xokolö bioe koraõte xeñ dexöt bor akal hol. Xi tate bor kosto paba dhollak. Teten xi aru xeñ dexor eta manhur asroe lolak. Xeñ mantui nizör potharök legi tak bora saribak legi pothei dilak. Tate xi aru borai khawa ekbidh gasör sei di pet bhorabak legi bor hepah kollak. Kintu kawei ekö tak nedlak.

Kamrupi (Palasbari): Kunba eta manhur duta putak asil. Ekdin xortö putake bapiakok kola, "Bapa wa, apunar xompöttir moi bhagöt zeman kheni pam teman khini mök dia." Tethane bapiake nizör xompötti duö putakok bhage dila. Keidinman pasöt xörtö putake tar bhagtö loi kunba akhan durher dekhok gel, aru tate gundami köri tar götei makha xompötti nohoa koilla. Tar pasöt xiai dekhot mosto akal hol. Tethian xi bor dukh paba dhoilla. Tar xi tarei eta manhur osarök zai asroe asroe lola. Manhtöi tak bara sarba potharöl khedala. Tate xi barai khawa ekbidh gasör seṅ khaba dhoilla. Teö tak kayö akö khaba neidla.

Kamrupi (Barpeta): Kunba eta manhör duta putek asil. Ekdin xorutu puteke bapekök kolak, "Pita, amar xompöttir moi zikhini mör bhagöt paü xikhini mök dia." Tethen bapeke nizör xompötti tahak bhage dilak. Tare keidinmen pisöte xei xoru putektui tar gotexopake loi ekhen duhrer dekhök gusi gel, arö tate xi lompot hoi tar gotexopa xompöttike ure phellak. Tar pasöt xei dekhkhenöt mosto akal hol. Tethen xi xei dekhör eta manhör osröt zai asroe lolak. Manuhtui tak bara sarbak login patharök khedolak. Tate xi ekbidh barai khawa gasör sẽi khaba dhollak. Take dekhiö kayö tak ekö khaba nedlak.

Western Goalpariya (Salkocha): Kunö ekzon mansir duizon saöa asil. Tar sötotae bapok koil, "Baba sompöttir ze bhag mör, tak mök de." Tat oë nizer sompötti umak batia dil. Tar olpo din pasöte öi söta saöata sök götea dur desot gel. Ore lompot beboharot or sompötti uzar koril. Oë götay khoros korar pasöt oi desot boro akal hoil. Ote oya kosto paba dhoril. Sela oë zaya öi deser ekzon mansir asroe löat öi manusi ok suar soraba patharot pothea dil. Ote suare khaöa ek rokom gaser sal dia pet bhoroba saileö ok kaho kisu nadil.

Non-regional dialects

Assamese does not have caste- or occupation-based dialects.[48] In the nineteenth century, the Eastern dialect became the standard dialect because it witnessed more literary activity and it was more uniform from east of Guwahati to Sadiya,[49] whereas the western dialects were more heterogeneous.[50] Since the nineteenth century, the center of literary activity (as well as of politics and commerce) has shifted to Guwahati; as a result, the standard dialect has evolved considerably away from the largely rural Eastern dialects and has become more urban and acquired western dialectal elements.[51] Most literary activity takes place in this dialect, and is often called the likhito-bhaxa, though regional dialects are often used in novels and other creative works.

In addition to the regional variants, sub-regional, community-based dialects are also prevalent, namely:

  • Standard dialect influenced by surrounding centers.
  • Bhakatiya dialect highly polite, a sattra-based dialect with a different set of nominals, pronominals, and verbal forms, as well as a preference for euphemism; indirect and passive expressions.[52] Some of these features are used in the standard dialect on very formal occasions.
  • The fisherman community has a dialect that is used in the central and eastern region.
  • The astrologer community of Darrang district has a dialect called thar that is coded and secretive. The ratikhowa and bhitarpanthiya secretive cult-based Vaisnava groups too have their own dialects.[53]
  • The Muslim community have their own dialectal preference, with their own kinship, custom, and religious terms, with those in east Assam having distinct phonetic features.[51]
  • The urban adolescent and youth communities (for example, Guwahati) have exotic, hybrid and local slangs.[51]
  • Ethnic speech communities that use Assamese as a second language, often use dialects that are influenced heavily by the pronunciation, intonation, stress, vocabulary and syntax of their respective first languages (Mising Eastern Assamese, Bodo Central Kamrupi, Rabha Eastern Goalpariya etc.).[53] Two independent pidgins/creoles, associated with the Assamese language, are Nagamese (used by Naga groups) and Nefamese (used in Arunachal Pradesh).[54]


There is a growing and strong body of literature in this language. The first characteristics of this language are seen in the Charyapadas composed in between the eighth and twelfth centuries. The first examples emerged in writings of court poets in the fourteenth century, the finest example of which is Madhav Kandali's Saptakanda Ramayana. The popular ballad in the form of Ojapali is also regarded as well-crafted. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw a flourishing of Vaishnavite literature, leading up to the emergence of modern forms of literature in the late nineteenth century.

Sample text

The following is a sample text in Assamese of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Assamese in Assamese alphabet

দফা ১: সকলো মানুহে স্বাধীনভাৱে সমান ঠাকুৰালি আৰু অধিকাৰে জন্ম লয় । সকলোৰে বিবেক আৰু জ্ঞান-বুদ্ধি আছে আৰু সকলোৱে এজনে আনজনক ভাই-ভাই হিচাপে ব্যৱহাৰ দিব লাগে ।

Assamese in phonetic Romanization 1

Dopha êk: Xôkôlû manuhê sadhinbhawê xôman thakurali aru ôdhikarê zônmô lôy. Xôkôlûrê bibêk aru ɡyan-buddhi asê aru xôkôlûê êzônê anzônôk bhai-bhai hisapê byôwôhar dibô lagê.

Assamese in phonetic Romanization 2

Dopha ek: Xokolü manuhe sadhinbhawe xoman thakurali aru odhikare zonmo loy. Xokolüre bibek aru ɡyan-buddhi ase aru xokolüe ezone anzonok bhai-bhai hisape byowohar dibo lage.

Assamese in the International Phonetic Alphabet

/dɔɸa ɛk | xɔkɔlʊ manuɦɛ sadʱinbʱaβɛ xɔman tʰakuɹali aɹu ɔdʱikaɹɛ zɔnmɔ lɔe̯ || xɔkɔlʊɹɛ bibɛk aɹu ɡɪan-buddʱi asɛ aɹu xɔkɔlʊɛ ɛzɔnɛ anzɔnɔ bʱaɪ-bʱaɪ ɦisapɛ bɛβɔɦaɹ dibɔ lagɛ/


Clause 1: all human free-manner-in equal dignity and right was taken birth takes. Everyone's reason and conscience exist, and everyone-indeed one towards another brother as behaviour give-to should.


Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience. Therefore, they should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

See also


  1. "SEAlang Library Ahom Lexicography".
  2. Bhattacharjya, Dwijen (2001). The genesis and development of Nagamese: Its social history and linguistic structure (PhD). City University of New York. ProQuest 304688285.
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Assamese". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. "Assamese". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  5. "Asamiya, pronounced /ɔxomia/ is the major language spoken in the northeastern part of India beyond West Bengal. It is the language of Assam which is pronounced by the native speakers and the word Asamiya has been derived from Assam with the adjectival affix -īyā, meaning ‘of, ‘relating’ or ‘belonging to’. Assam the name of the state, is of recent origin; and so is Asamiya the name of the language (Kakati 1972:1–4)." (Goswami 2003:429)
  6. "Statement". Archived from the original on 6 February 2012.
  7. "Axomiya is the major language spoken in Assam, and serves almost as a lingua franca among the different speech communities in the whole area." (Goswami 2003:394)
  8. "...Rajbangshi dialect of the Rangpur Division (Bangladesh), and the adjacent Indian Districts of Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar, has been classed with Bengali because its speakers identify with the Bengali culture and literary language, although it is linguistically closer to Assamese." (Masica 1993, p. 25)
  9. Sen, Sukumar (1975), Grammatical sketches of Indian languages with comparative vocabulary and texts, Volume 1, P 31
  10. "...the MIA languages are not younger than ('classical') Sanskrit. And a number of their morphophonological and lexical features betray the fact that they are not direct descendants of Rigvedic Sanskrit, the main basis of 'Classical' Sanskrit; rather they descend from dialects which, despite many similarities, were different from Rigvedic and in some regards even more archaic." (Oberlies 2007:163)
  11. Proto-Kamta took its inheritance from ?proto-Kamarupa (and before that from ?proto-Gauda-Kamarupa), innovated the unique features ... in 1250-1550 AD" (Toulmin 2006:306)
  12. "Axomiya has historically originated in Old Indo-Aryan dialects, but the exact nature of its origin and growth is not very clear as yet." (Goswami 2003:394)
  13. (Kakati 1941, p. 6)
  14. Goswami, Golockchandra (1982), Structure of Assamese, Page 3
  15. There is evidence that the Prakrit of the Kamarupa kingdom differed enough from the Magadhi Prakrit to be identified as either a parallel Kamrupi Prakrit or at least an eastern variety of the Magadha Prakrit (Sharma 1990:0.24–0.28)
  16. "It is curious to find that according to (Hiuen Tsang) the language of Kamarupa 'differed a little' from that of mid-India. Hiuen Tsang is silent about the language of Pundra-vardhana or Karna-Suvarna; it can be presumed that the language of these tracts was identical with that of Magadha." (Chatterji 1926, p. 78)
  17. "Perhaps this 'differing a little' of the Kamarupa speech refers to those modifications of Aryan sounds which now characterise Assamese as well as North- and East-Bengali dialects." (Chatterji 1926, pp. 78–89)
  18. "When [the Tibeto-Burman speakers] adopted that language they also enriched it with their vocabularies, expressions, affixes etc." (Saikia 1997)
  19. Moral 1997, pp. 43-53.
  20. "... (it shows) that in Ancient Assam there were three languages viz. (1) Sanskrit as the official language and the language of the learned few, (2) Non-Aryan tribal languages of the Austric and Tibeto-Burman families, and (3) a local variety of Prakrit (ie a MIA) wherefrom, in course of time, the modern Assamese language as a MIL, emerged." (Sharma 1978, pp. xxiv-xxviii)
  21. Medhi 1988, pp. 67–63.
  22. Guha 1983, p. 9.
  23. Goswami 2003, p. 434.
  24. "Assamese Association – of Australia (ACT & NSW)".
  25. "Welcome to the Website of "Axom Xomaj",Dubai, UAE (Assam Society of Dubai, UAE)!".
  26. "Constitution". Archived from the original on 27 December 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  27. "AANA - AANA Overview".
  28. "Secretariat Administration Department". Archived from the original on 20 June 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  29. Assamese, Resource Centre for Indian Language Technology Solutions, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati.
  30. "Assamese, alone among NIA languages except for Romany, has also lost the characteristic IA dental/retroflex contrast (although it is retained in spelling), reducing the number of articulations, with the loss also of /c/, to three." (Masica 1993, p. 95)
  31. Moral 1997, p. 45.
  32. The word "hare", for example: śaśka (OIA) > χɔhā (hare). (Masica 1993, p. 206)
  33. Whereas most fricatives become sibilants in Eastern Goalpariya (sukh, santi, asa in Eastern Goalpariya; xukh, xanti, axa in western Kamrupi) (Dutta 1995, p. 286); some use of the fricative is seen as in the word xi (for both "he" and "she") (Dutta 1995, p. 287) and xap khar (the snake) (Dutta 1995, p. 288). The /x/ is completely absent in Western Goalpariya (Dutta 1995, p. 290)
  34. B Datta (1982), Linguistic situation in north-east India, the distinctive h sound of Assamese is absent in the West Goalpariya dialect
  35. Goswami, Upendranath (1970), A Study on Kamrupi, p.xiii /x/ does not occur finally in Kamrupi. But in St. Coll. it occurs. In non-initial positions O.I.A sibilants became /kʰ/ and also /h/ whereas in St. Coll. they become /x/.
  36. Chatterjee, Suniti Kumar, Kirata Jana Krti, p. 54.
  37. Moral 1997, p. 46.
  38. Directionality and locality in vowel harmony: With special reference to vowel harmony in Assamese (Thesis) via
  39. Mahanta, Shakuntala (August 2012). "Assamese". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 42 (2): 217–224. doi:10.1017/S0025100312000096. ISSN 1475-3502.
  40. Bara 1981, p. ?
  41. Kommaluri, Subramanian & Sagar K 2005.
  42. Moral 1997, p. 47.
  43. Moral 1997, pp. 49-51.
  44. Moral 1997, p. 48.
  45. "Assamese may be divided dialectically into Eastern and Western Assamese" (Kakati 1941, p. 16)
  46. "Assamese:Its formation and development" via Internet Archive.
  47. (Goswami 2003:403)
  48. Kakati 1941, p. 14-16.
  49. Goswami 2003, p. 436.
  50. (Dutta 2003, p. 106)
  51. Goswami 2003, pp. 439-440.
  52. (Dutta 2003, p. 107)
  53. (Dutta 2003, pp. 108–109)


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