Karbi—despite of the 420,000 speakers spread across North-East Indian states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland—is one of the vulnerable languages of South Asia as identified by UNESCO. Karbi is grouped under the Mikir languages which itself is part of the 50-odd-languages that are known as the Kuki-Chin language group or simply known as Kukish languages. The last known census was in 2001 and the number of speakers might have increased by now but there are only a handful of people that are working for reviving the language. One of them is D.S. Teron who is a veteran and is a full time self-sponsored researcher based in the Karbi Anglong district of Assam. This page that is based on our conversation with Teron leads to some of the most important aspects of the Karbi language—like narration of a folklore, folk song, local festival celebrations and traditional games. The Karbi elders have been historically great storytellers, be it while recounting the past of deceased family members through Mosera Kihir, or the wailing songs of Kecharhe remembering the dead. Karbi is also known as Arleng or Mikir. Our guest, Mr. Teron is from one of the five clans that are also known as Kur—these are Terang, Teron, Enghee. Ingti and Timung.
Introduction: Licensing, interviewee’s name (00:00 – 01:48); Meaning of Karbi and the Karbi people (01:48 – 03:27); Description of interviewee’s birthplace (03:27 – 04:18); Traditional games for the kids (04:18 – 08:52); Linguistic details of Karbi language (08:52 – 15:09); Storytelling of the Karbi people (15:09 – 27:21); Folk song (27:21 – 31:03); Local fairs/festivals (31:03 – 42:30); Daily activities of the interviewee (42:30 – 52:37)
1. Pronunciation of interviewee’s name (Download as
English: In this interview, Teron shares how his name is pronounced in his native language Karbi. In this interview, Teron pronounces his name in his native language, and shares some details about how the family name is given based on local traditions.
2. Meaning of Karbi and the Karbi people (Download as
English: In this interview, Teron shares about the meaning of the word “Karbi” and explains about the Karbi people citing local legends. One of the legends say that the Karbi people have to offer a portion of their food to the thier ancestors (see 0:34–) In this interview, Teron details about meaning of the word “Karbi” and how local legends have been guiding the Karbi people’s daily life, their belief and social activities.
3. Interviewee D.S. Teron’s birthplace Jor Teron (Download as
English: In this interview, Teron shares about Jor Teron, the place he took birth and the place was named after his grandfather. In this interview, Teron gives an account of his birthplace, how it got named after his grandfather who was a local leader of the community and founded the village.
4. Traditional games of the Karbi people (Download as
English: Karbi-language speaker D.S. Teron from Assam, India shares how his language has been influenced by other languages, influenced other languages and is related to other Asian languages. In this interview, D.S. Teron shares some of the linguistics details of the Karbi language. Karbi is part of the Kukish languages (also known as “”Kuki chin””; IPA:: /kuki t͡ʃin/). Teron cites findings of several linguists that have helped showing relation of the language (Karbi) with Naga, Meithei, Garo and Khasi, and Assamese (the recent-most interaction of all others as the Karbi people got involved with the Assamese people during and after India’s formation in 1947).
5. Karbi language – its language family and related languages (Download as
English: In this interview, Teron shares about the games he and his friends played as kids in the sixties. In this interview, D.S. Teron goes into details about his childhood and the society was back them. This portion of the full interview gives an account how the Karbi people lived in the 1960s. He then shares about two traditional games—one involving walking with stilts to avoid thorns to pierce one’s feet while walking on the swampy soil in naked feet, and a game called “Hambi” (meaning nickernut or nicker bean; IPA: /haːmbi/) which involved the locally-grown nickernut. The nickernut was played between two opponent teams (each team will have equal number of players with a minimum of two players). The opponent teams will keep about five meters of distance from each other. There are different stages and each stage has a name. Part of the game is also to tease the opponents.
6. Storytelling of the Karbi people (Download as
English: In this interview, Teron narrates stories of the Karbi people of the Jor Teron region in Assam.
7. Folk songs of the Karbi people (Download as
English: In this interview, Teron narrates about the folk songs of the Karbi people by singing a portion of a song.
8. Local festival celebrations by the Karbi people (Download as
English: In this interview, Teron shares about the celebration of local festivals by the Karbi people.
9. Daily activities of the speakers. (Download as
English: In this interview, Teron shares his daily activities in Karbi.
|Language details||Recording details|
|Language||Karbi||Recording content||Narration of a folklore, a folk song, a local festival, traditional games, Meaning of “Karbi”, speaker’s daily activities|
|Dialect||N/A||Recording location||Remote, Speaker at Karbi Anglong district, Assam, India|
|Alternate name(s)||Mikir||Recording date||Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 8:55 AM|
|SIL Code||mjw||Recordist(s)||Subhashish Panigrahi|
|Current state||Living, endangered||Hardware||Zoom H1|
|Language group||Tibeto-Burman languages||Software||Audacity|
|Possible influences||Assamese, Naga||#files||10|
|Open Language Archives Community (OLAC)||here||File format(s)||wav, flac|
|Swadesh word list||here||Bit rate||16 bit PCM|
|Ethnologue||here||Total audio length (HH:MM:SS)||00:53:37|
|SIL International||here||Copyright||CC-BY-SA 4.0|
|Wikipedia in respective language||N/A||Image||N/A|
|Scholarly citations on Google Scholar||here|
|Internet Archive resources||here|
|Speaker Origin||Karbi Anglong district, Assam, India|
|Speaker’s Name||D.S. Teron|
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