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Assamese: Linguistic variety, languages in contact and creoles – Émilie Arrago-Boruah (Panthéon-Assas University, CESAH)

Assamese (glottocode: assa1263) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by approximately 20 million people. It is one of the twenty-two official languages of India and serves as a bridge language between the various population groups residing in Assam. The northeastern states of India, which have been divided since 1963, boast a wide range of native languages. In addition to Indo-European languages like Assamese and Bengali, there are around a hundred languages belonging to three other linguistic families: Sino-Tibetan languages (including around eighty Tibeto-Burman languages), Austroasiatic languages (such as the Mon-Khmer groups like Khasi, and languages from the Munda group predominantly spoken by tea plantation workers), and a few languages from the Tai-Kadai family, which are currently highly fragmented. Assamese has thus assimilated lexical contributions and some phonological traits from all these contact languages, although its grammar and the majority of its vocabulary derive from Sanskrit.

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