Nagamese: The Lingua Franca of Nagaland, its PROs and CONs

Nagamese: The Lingua Franca of Nagaland, its PROs and CONs

The Naga Blog is a forum on facebook where Nagas from Nagaland and around the world network, share ideas and discuss a wide range of topics from politics and philosophy to music  and current events in Nagaland and beyond. The blog is not owned by any individual, nor is it affiliated to or associated with any political party or religion. The only movement it hopes to stir is the one raised by the voices of the Nagas every step of the way, amassing perhaps to mass consciousness one day.

M Longnyu Konyak: Naga- Assamese, so called ‘Nagamese’ is indeed the most spoken dialect in our State. Almost 90% of our Naga population speak Nagamese. But, for a dialect to qualify as language, it should have script, which we don’t have it. Many suggest that we should develop the script. But, how do we develop it? Assamese has its own script. We can’t use English alphabets to write Roman-Nagamese. If we do so, only the English educated person can read or write Nagamese. The illiterate mass will still be not able to read or write Nagamese, they will be restricted to oral speaking only. About the developing of Nagamese’s script, it’s not that easy. We have Hindi in our schools, we got Hindi papers, Hindi script, Hindi song, watch Hindi movies, in fact, Hindi is our National language. Yet, we Nagas hardly knows Hindi. Only a small fragment of Naga population knows how to read or write Hindi, rest, we go with ‘NAP-Hindi’. If we can’t read or write hindi language which has script in it, which was taught to us in school and with all those hindi literature available, how can we learnt this ‘Borrowed Broken Assamese’ which we don’t even have the script? The ability to speak a dialect doesn’t mean we can read or write that dialect. Mention may be made that in India, though Hindi is the National language, yet, it is not fully implemented. There are still some official documents which are not done in Hindi in National Interest and circulated in English language only. We have our own mother-tongue, but even for that, we use English alphabets to write and bring out Roman mother tongue. What I personally feel is, Nagamese should NOT be promoted as our official language, English should still prevail and our local mother tongue should be encouraged in school itself. Just a layman opinion. Discussion opened to the house. Thanking you all.
Apong Chingchongchang: Why to discourage Nagamese as a common language?


If script is the problem then why not we develop it?


You cannot hide the fact that 80% (approx) Nagaland people speaks fluent Nagamese than English even the educated students studying in Nagaland schools and colleges. If you insult Nagamese as a bazaar language i think you should stop going to bazaar. Nagamese can be a better institutions and about English being the richest language should be use but for now Nagamese is Nagas identity.


Your suggestions are accepted TNB’S . Thank you !
Rokovizo Kuotsu Angami Naga: It’s a matter of personal choice and we can’t judge people for that. My love for English, Tenyidie and Nagamese can co-exist and are mutually exclusive to each other, it doesn’t mean that because i am a Naga i shouldn’t prefer English or that i feel Nagamese is inferior or less sophisticated. I am Naga but Nagamese is not my mother tongue. My language is Tenyidie. If i have to chose between English and Nagamese, I prefer English because it is more expressive and functional. Nagaland is a state of diverse languages and cultures, and there is no reason why Nagamese has to be everyone’s language. I know what my roots are and i have cultural awareness but Nagamese can never be a better institution, of course the state should develop language policy to increase functionality of Nagamese in the public domain such as business, transportation, advertisement, audio-visual media, church service and meetings to promote the longevity of the language but not in the field of education, media, judiciary, legislation and administration.


Chewu Kanuo: Seriously, it’s sad when you say Nagamese is Nagas identity, really? A broken up language? Broken Assamese is Nagas identity? You know what Nagamese sounds like to Assamese speaking people?? You sound like a small kid, starting to learn a new language, saying poo poo instead of I want to go use the toilet. While it is true that majority speak Nagamese, i wouldn’t want to encourage it as a common language, for Christ’s sake, it’s not even a proper language. Nobody knows Nagamese outside the state, and if you really want to promote a language/dialect, why not your own, if you’re really into Naga identity and stuff. Why promote a borrowed language, the Assamese are doing that already.


Pepen Timothy Patton: Guys English is already our official language of our state but for any layman Nagamese is more comfortable. Yes Nagamese can never be our state official language but if the GOI wants to give a new platform and promote Nagamese I see no harm in it. Do you expect us to speak in English to those shopkeepers and other vegetables vendors? Many of them are not comfortable to speak in English so for them Nagamese come as a relief to them. Nagamese is cool. Our common Nagas identity. Also I felt very odd coming across the articles posted by NSF in against of Nagamese as a language! lame protest. They can’t even help the existing students to get their scholarships on time and now poking their noses un-necessarily on this issue.


Kusayi Lohe: I am taking English as my major paper and my lecturer once said, “all the local dialects may one day be overshadowed by Nagamese and that we might lose some of our dialects.” I guess she is right. I speak Nagamese but I never try and make it my habit. And it is so annoying to see some parents not teaching their children their own mother tongue. Like some of the bloggers suggested, we can use English more instead of Nagamese.


Sangtipong Imchen: A potpourri language mix of Assamese, Bengali and Hindi that has no trace of “Naganess” will betray our identity to the overarching Indian identity to the international community. This morning headlines carried the news of the Govt bringing out books on the contributions of freedom fighters from the North-East and Rani Gaidinliu will be a figure herself. All these projects are efforts of the colonial Indian state to colonise the knowledge, history, ideas and culture of Indigenous people like the Nagas and incorporate us to the Indian identity which we have been resisting till now. There is a nefarious motive under play behind this scheme engineered solely to garb the Nagas in the garment of Indian identity before the world, thus weakening our right to exist as an independent nation- the cause which is based on the foundational truth that we are an indigenous people whose history and culture never shared any form of commonality with nor was a part of the distinct Indian history and culture. This truth which India seeks to erase should be protected and upheld at all cost whether we remain under India or we don’t. Same as it is, English is not indigenous to the Nagas too but contextually we are not at war with Britain but our war is with India so prudence dictates that we do no put ourselves in any position that will debilitate the legitimacy of our unfinished cause for justice before the world community.


Arenla Jamir: Personally I feel Nagamese is here to stay in Nagaland… issue with that. English is our official language. Our different local dialects needs to be preserved and promoted as it directly defines our identities as members of different tribes of Nagaland….in our present plural society a common language can bind us together as Nagas in general. Don’t we all think Nagas need unity and fraternity to happily Co – exist with one another?….Nagamese whether we like it or not has become a part of the Naga Identity….denouncing the language may do no good…remember the story of Babel Tower from the Bible….to build a tower, we need to speak a common language emotionally and practically. …this is my opinion only.


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