Miji languages

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Miji
Dhammai
Sajolang
Native toIndia
RegionArunachal Pradesh, India and Shannan Prefecture, China
EthnicityMiji people
Native speakers
28,000 (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3sjl
Glottologmiji1239[2]
saja1240  Sajolang / Miji[3]
bang1369  Bangru / Ləvai[4]

Miji (autonym: Dmay[5]), also Dhammai or Sajolang, is a cluster of possibly Sino-Tibetan languages in Arunachal Pradesh, northeastern India. "Dialects" include at least two distinct languages, which are not particularly close, with only half of the vocabulary in common between the languages of East Kameng District and West Kameng District. Long assumed to be Sino-Tibetan languages, they may be a small independent language family.[6]

Varieties[edit]

There are 3 varieties of Miji.[7][8]

  • Western Miji: spoken in and around Nafra and Thrizino circles, West Kameng District. Western Miji speakers refer to themselves as the Sajalang (sadʑalaŋ) or Dhəmmai (ðəmmai) (Bodt & Lieberherr 2015:70).[8]
  • Eastern Miji: spoken in Lada Circle,[5] East Kameng District. Eastern Miji speakers refer to themselves as the Nəmrai (nəmrai) (Bodt & Lieberherr 2015:70).[8]
  • Northern Miji (also known as Bangru[7]): spoken in Sarli Circle,[5] northern Kurung Kumey District by 1,500 people.[8] This is the most divergent Miji variety.[9]

Distribution[edit]

According to Ethnologue, Miji is spoken in the following areas of Arunachal Pradesh.

  • West Kameng District, Nafra circle, Bichom and Pakesa river valley – 25 villages including Debbing, Dichik, Rurang, Nachinghom, Upper Dzang, Naku, Khellong, Dibrick, Nizong, Najang, Zangnaching, Chalang, Nafra, and Lower Dzang
  • East Kameng District: Bameng and Lada circles – Wakke, Nabolong, Kojo, Rojo, Sekong, Panker, Zarkam, Drackchi, Besai, Naschgzang, Sachung, Gerangzing, Kampaa, Salang, Pego, and Dongko villages

I.M. Simon (1979:iii)[10] lists the following Miji villages from the Census of 1971.

  • 1. Chalang [Cinlang]
  • 2. Díbín [Díbín]
  • 3. Ditchik [Dícik]
  • 4. Dzang [Dzang]
  • 5. Jangnachin [Zanachin]
  • 6. Khazolang
  • 7. Khelong
  • 8. Laphozu
  • 9. Mathow
  • 10. Nakhu
  • 11. Nachibun
  • 12. Nizung
  • 13. Rurang

Smaller hamlets include Dishin [Dícin], Devrik [Dívih], Diyung [Diyong], Nazang [Natsang], Nanthalang, and Otung [Uthung]. Some Mijis have also live in Aka villages such as Dijungania, Buragaon, Tulu, Sarkingonia, and Yayung.

Bangru locations[edit]

Blench (2015),[5] citing Ramya (2012),[11] lists the Bangru (Northern Miji) villages Bala, Lee, Lower Lichila, Upper Lichila, Machane, Milli, Molo, Nade, Namju, Palo, Rerung, Sape, Sate (saːtəː),[8] Wabia, and Walu’, as well as Sarli Town. Traditionally, the Bangru lived in the ‘thirteen Bangru villages’ (Bangru language: ləwjɛː neːpeː rəŋleː kətə̃ĩŋ).[8]

In China, Bangru (transcribed in Chinese as Bengru 崩如) is spoken in the area of Bixia 比夏, southern Longzi County 隆子县, Shannan Prefecture 山南地区, Tibet — in the villages of Jieli 结列, Baluo 巴洛, Xiade 夏德, Li 利, Lilaqi 利拉齐, and Gelangge 嘎朗洛 (Li 2003).[12] Bangru is also spoken by many of the nearby Sulung people, who live in San'an Qulin Township 三安曲林乡 of Longzi County. Names of Bangru include ləʔ˧˩ wai˥ (autonym), pɤn˧˩ ru˥ (Bangni exonym), and bu˧ zuai˥ bi˧ (Sulung exonym).[12] There are also 6 people living in Douyu Village No. 1 (斗玉一村) on the Chinese side. Li (2003) reports that there are about 1,600 Bangru people as of 1980, and about 2,000 as of 2003.

As with more than 90% of the residents of Kurung Kumey District, most Bangru speakers can also speak Nyasang, a Nyishi language variety.[8] Bangru speakers make up about 40% of the population of Sarli circle, which also has small numbers of Puroik speakers.

The Bangru refer to themselves as the taːdə or taːdʑuː baŋruː, and to the Eastern Miji and Western Miji as waːduː baŋruː.[8] The Bangru claim that they are the descendants of one of the sons of the Grandmother Sun (ʔaseː lədʑuwjɛː), while the Miji are the descendants of the other son who migrated to the Lada Circle area in East Kameng district. There are five Bangru clans:[8]

  • Pisa (pədʑoː dʑuː)
  • Melo (məloː dʑuː)
  • Tagang (təgaŋ dʑuː)
  • Mili (məli dʑuː)
  • Sape (saːpə)

Bangru traditional religion revolved around reverence of the sun and moon ("our Grandfather Moon" ʔaloː ləbãĩ and "our Grandmother Sun" ʔaseː lədʑuwjɛː; see also Donyi-Polo), but it is now being replaced by Christianity.[8]

Phonology[edit]

Consonants[edit]

In all Miji languages the "p" "f" "t" and "k" sounds are always aspirated.[5]

Consonant phonemes
  Bilabial Labio-
dental
Dental Alveolar Post-
alveolar

(Palato-
alveolar
)
Retroflex Palatal Palata-
lized
velar
Labia-
lized
velar
Glottal
Plosive b         d                 ɡ ʔ  
Affricate             ts       tc              
Fricative     v θ ð s z ʃ ʒ       ʐ x       ɣʷ
Lateral fricative             ɬ ɮ                        
Nasal   m           n       ɳ   ɲ            
Trill               r                        
Tap or flap                       ɽ                
Approximant       ʋ                   j       w    
Lateral approximant               l       ɭ                

Vowels[edit]

Monophthong phonemes
  Front Central Central
rhotacized
Back
Close i     u
Close-mid e ə/ɨ[ə]   o
Open-mid ɛ     ʌɔ
Open     a  

Tones[edit]

The Miji languages have a relatively simple tonal system with only two tone: high and low. There is a third rising tone but it is so scarcely used that in some of the languages it is disregarded completely.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Miji at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Miji". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Sajolang". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bangru". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Blench, Roger. 2015. The Mijiic languages: distribution, dialects, wordlist and classification. m.s.
  6. ^ Blench, Roger; Post, Mark (2011), (De)classifying Arunachal languages: Reconstructing the evidence (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-26
  7. ^ a b Blench, Roger; Post, Mark (2011), (De)classifying Arunachal languages: Reconstructing the evidence (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-26
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bodt, Timotheus Adrianus; Lieberherr, Ismael (2015). "First notes on the phonology and classification of the Bangru language of India". Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area. 38 (1): 66–123. doi:10.1075/ltba.38.1.03bod.
  9. ^ Blench, Roger. 2018. Mijiic, the Miji and Bangru languages: distribution, dialects, wordlist and classification. m.s.
  10. ^ Simon, I. M. 1979. Miji Language Guide. Shillong: Directorate of Research, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.
  11. ^ Ramya, T. 2012. Bangrus of Arunachal Pradesh: An Ethnographic Profile. International Journal of Social Science Tomorrow, 1(3):1-12.
  12. ^ a b Li Daqin [李大勤]. 2003. "A sketch of Bengru" [崩如语概况]. Minzu Yuwen 2003(5), 64-80.

Further reading[edit]