Published June 28, 2019
This video was recorded by Abhinash Das in Assam, India. Karbi is spoken by the Karbi people of northeastern India and north-eastern Bangladesh. The Karbi people largely call themselves 'Karbi' but sometimes prefer 'Arleng'. They are one of the major indigenous ethnic tribes of Northeast India and the principle tribal community in the Karbi Anglong district of Assam. The Karbi community is so closely situated with Assamese that some Karbis speak Assamese as their mother tongue, and many loanwords from Assamese exist in the Karbi language. The two languages are not genetically linked however--Karbi is a Sino-Tibetan langauge, whereas Assamese belongs on the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. The Karbis have a rich oral tradition including The Mosera (literally, "recalling the past"), a folk narrative about the origin and migration of ancestral Karbis. Karbi was spoken by around 420,000 people as of a 2001 census, and is a Tibeto-Burman language within the Sino-Tibetan language family.