A people group in India who call themselves Mande speak the Garo language. Most of the 889,000 (2001 census) speakers of Garo live in the northeast region, specifically Assam state: Goalpara, Kamrup, and Karbi Anglong districts; Meghalaya state: Garo Hills district; Nagaland state: Kohima district; Tripura state: south Tripura district, Udaipur sub-district; north Tripura district, Kailasahar and Kamalpur sub-districts; west Tripura district, Sadar sub-district; West Bengal state: Jalpaiguri and Koch Bihar districts. There are a total of 1,009,000 speakers of Garo in all countries. Other names for this language are Garrow and Mandi. The ISO code for Garo is grt.
Garo is considered to be the Statutory provincial language in Meghalaya State (1950, Constitution, Articles 347). The classification of the language is Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Sal, Boro-Garo.
The dialects of Garo are A’beng (A’bengya, Am’beng), A’chick (A’chik, A’we, Chisak, Dual, Matchi), Dacca, Ganching, Kamrup. A’chick is the standardized dialect of Garo in India. The A’beng dialect is used in Bangladesh, but is not mutually intelligible, and is reportedly most similar to Koch [kdq].
The Awe dialect, spoken in Assam, has few remaining speakers; most use standard Garo. Garo is used as a second language by Atong [aot], Hajong [haj], Koch [kdq], Lyngngam [lyg], Rabha [rah], and Ruga [ruh].
The Mande highly value their language. Garo is taught in primary schools. Literature, videos, and radio programs have been produced in the language.
The following title is a grammar of Garo:
Burling, Robins. 2004. The Language of the Modhupur Mandi (Garo), vol. 1: Grammar. New Delhi: Bibliophile South Asia/Promilla & Co.
The Bible has been translated into Garo. The scripts used for Garo are Bengali (Bangla), Braille (since 1998), and Latin.
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