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Mahanta, Shakuntala

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  <dc:creator>Mahanta, Shakuntala</dc:creator>
  <dc:description>eastern districts of Assam. Assam is a north-eastern state of India, therefore Assamese
and creoles of Assamese like Nagamese are spoken in the different north-eastern states
of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and also the neighbouring country of
Bhutan. Approximately 15 million people speak Assamese in India (see Ethnologue,
Gordon 2005, which lists 15,374,000 speakers including those in Bhutan and
Bangladesh). In the pre-British era (until 1826), the kingdom of Assam was ruled by
Ahom kings and the then capital was based in the eastern district of Sibsagar and later
in Jorhat. The American missionaries established the first printing press in Sibsagar and
in the year 1846 published a monthly periodical 'Arunodoi' using the variety spoken in
and around Sibsagar as the point of departure. This is the immediate reason which led
to the acceptance of the formal variety spoken in eastern Assam, (which roughly
comprises of all the districts of Upper Assam). Having said that, the language spoken in
these regions of Assam also show a certain degree of variation from the written form of
the 'standard' language. As against the relative homogeneity of the variety spoken in
eastern Assam, variation is considerable in certain other districts which would
constitute the western part of Assam, comprising of the district of Kamrup upto
Goalpara and Dhubri (see also Kakati 1962 and Grierson 1968). In contemporary
Assam, for the purposes of mass media and communication, a certain neutral blend of
eastern Assamese, without too many distinctive regional features, like // deletion,
which is a robust phenomenon in the eastern varieties, is still considered to be the norm.
The lexis of Assamese is mainly Indo-Aryan, but it also has a sizeable amount of
lexical items related to Bodo among other Tibeto-Burman languages (Kakati 1962), and
there are a substantial number of items borrowed from Hindi, English and Bengali in
recent times.</dc:description>
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