Nagaland is one of the most diverse states in India with 16 main tribes and many further sub-tribes. The most interesting thing is that within the same tribe or sub tribe, the different villages too have different dialects.
so, for example: if there is someone from Ungma village in Mokukchung district (Ao Naga inhabited district) of Nagaland, the dialect he’ll follow is Ungma Ao Naga dialect.
Therefore, it is extremely important for Nagas to have one common dialect that can be followed by all tribes. Since, Nagaland touches Assam on the North, and Assam is noticeably the BIG BROTHER of North East India, a lot of references were taken from Assamese dialect and thus NAGAMESE was born, as an intelligible language and preferred form of communication among all Nagas or Nagas and others in North East India. It is more a Creole than a dialect/ language itself. It is now (since 1936) also officially used by the Nagaland Legislature and even taught as part of academics though English stays the official language.
Nagamese has two cases, two tenses, three aspectual distinctions and no gender. (ref. Wikipedia)
While i was travelling in Nagaland, i realized it was most essential for me to understand and learn basic Nagamese.
I have put together these phrases of Nagamese for everyone who wishes to travel into Nagaland.
|1||What are you doing?||Ki kori ase?|
|2||How are you?||Kinika ase?|
|3||I am coming to <place’s name>||Moe ( place’s name ) aahebo|
|4||When are you coming to <place’s name>?||(place’s name) te ketiya ahibo?|
|5||What are you saying?||Aponi ki koi ase?|
|6||Where is <place/ person name>?||(place/ person name) kuthe ase?|
|7||How do I get there?||Moe tatte kinika jabo?|
|8||Where are we going?||Kuthe jabole ase?|
|11||What do you do? (more interms of profession etc.)||Apone ki kore?|
|12||How is your work going?||Aponar kom kinika jaye ease?|
|13||I don’t eat meat.||Moe manso na khae|
|12||I eat meat.||Moe manso khae|
|13||What do you feel like eating?||Apone ki khabole mon ase?|
|14||I will see you soon.||Moe apone ke joldi luk papo.|
|15||Is it raining in <place name> or no?||(place name) te paani ah e ase no nai? / Pani giri ase neki?|
|16||I am not feeling well. I need to see a doctor.||Moe gao theek no hoi. Moe doctor ke dikhabole jabo.|
|17||I will give you one (tight) slap.||Apone ke aekta thapor debo.|
|18||You do it||Kori be|
|19||I will do it||Kori bo|
|20||How much is it?||Kiman ase?|
|21||I would like to buy that?||Moe ittu kinibole mon ase.|
|22||<It, she/he> is very beautiful||<Ittu,Tar> Beshi sunder ase.|
|23||I don’t like <it, her/him, them>||Moe <ittu,tar, tar khan> ke bhaal na lage|
|24||I am very happy||Khushi pai she|
|25||You are a nice person||Apone mano bhaal ase|
|28||We are friends now||Itiye to moe khan sathi ase.|
|29||I am in love with <you/place/ person>||Moe <aponar/place/person> ke morom peshi kore|
|30||I am missing/ think of you all.||Moe aponar sabke bhabi ase|
when you refer to these numbers as money, replace “ta” with takka”.
Apart from Nagamese, i picked few other languages. since i spent quite a long time in Mokukchung, here are few Ao Naga phrases that i learn. Akok, my Naga friend is from Ungma village so i am assuming it is Ungma Ao Naga dialect.
|SR. NO.||ENGLISH||Ungma Ao Naga dialect|
|1||What are you doing?||Na kichi aser?|
|2||How are you?||Na ku ma lier?|
|3||I am fine.||Ni chunga lier|
|4||I am coming to <place’s name>?||Ni (place’s name) ee arora.|
|5||What are you saying?||Naya kichi jimpierba?|
|6||Where is <place/ person thing>?||Ner (place/ person thing) kolen lier|
|9||Nice to meet you||Ni na aa churuba kanga pilar|
|10||Please don’t worry. its alright.||Kicha ma ser aa sizatobalu|
|11||Thanks a lot||Kanga pilar|
|12||What would you like to eat?||Na kichi cheenar.|
|13||I don’t want to eat anything.||Ni Kicha mi cheener.|
|12||I would like to have some <food- which is always taken as rice>||Ni chi tilaga chiongner.|
|13||See you tomorrow||Asung yana a churuti|
|14||See you soon||Asung yana yakta a churuti|
|15||Where are you from?||Na kulen a lier?|
|16||I am from <place name>||Ni (place name) nu a lier|
|17||Your son drinks a lot. (which was probably my most used sentence in mokukchung)||Ner chiri yi kanga a chimer|
|18||You are very beautiful||Na kanga tebur tajung|
|19||You are very good/ nice.||Na kanga chunger a|
|22||Are you the king of Nagaland?- mostly used as a sarcastic statement.||Nagaland indang chuba ana?|
|23||I am going to town (hill people usually go DOWN to the market)||Ni townee ken (aoera or uti- down/ atur- up)|
|37||blood||Aaz (shorter than dog’s aazz)|
|43||I hate you||Ni na ma chiner|
|44||I love you <a lot>.||Ni na (kanga) meimer.|
|45||I am missing/ think of you.||Ni na pilamer.|
i might be very wrong with this… i wrote it as i heard it.
Now learning… Ao Naga Number Chart:
Now its easy…
Take multiples of ten and add the first 9 numbers to it. in cases starting from 20 onwards… multiple of ten will be followed by “er” and then the first 9 numbers.
now the magic begins…
just add “ser <and>” after multiples of 100 and then using the multiples of 10 and first 9 numbers… you are a master at AO NAGA numbers!!!
104- noklanka ser pizz(u)
508- noklanpungo ser tee
750- noklantinit ser tinam
999-noklantoku ser tokurtoku!!!
Now, if you are wondering, why would i want to bombard your screen with these strange words that have absolute nothing in relevance to you…
there’s a reason to it.
when i went to North East India, i went there with almost no information. only once i got there, and especially Nagaland, i knew, for me to communicate better, i will need to pick basics of their language because where few Nagas do talk in English (because Nagaland is now a christian state) but most of them know only their local dialect.
I asked my Naga friends to help me with this. And i learnt it by writing it against its english translations. initially i was terrible but with practice, i learnt quite a few phrases and started saying them fluently (like a Naga would.. :P)
what i loved about learning a new language(even though it was just basics) was that now i could partially understand when people would talk in a group. they found it strange and absurd when they saw me nodding my head to their conversation. but the look on their face when i responded in their dialect was PRICELESS!
then, i was immediately taken in… i was their “metermer” instantly!
with a language you can bridge that huge barrier… i wish one day i can communicate with my naga friends in their mother tongue… then i know i will be really communicating with them!
it also helped me a lot in finding my way around… within Nagaland.
I feel its almost necessary for me, to share this little knowledge that i gained there especially for the ones who someday wish to travel there.
it will be just amazing, if next time someone plans their trip to Nagaland , they would invariably take along with them photo copies/ prints of these. Thats when i will send a bit of myself with each and everyone of them.
These little things i can’t stop dreaming of or wishing for…