Assamese (Asamiya) is the major language spoken by the people of Assam. It is a very rich language and has its origins in the ancient Sanskrit. Spoken by a population of around 20 million, it is regarded as a major language by the Constitution of India. However, both Bodo and Assamese are regarded as the local official languages of Assam, whereas in the Barak valley region, Bengali has been given the same status. Besides Assam, Assamese is spoken in certain sectors of Arunachal Pradesh and other northeastern states also.
There is a striking resemblance between the Assamese language and Bengali as well as Oriya language. In fact, all three of them are said to have evolved from the Magadhi Prakrit. Magadhi Prakrit gave rise to four Apabhramsa dialects viz, Radha, Vanga, Varendra and Kamrupa. The Kamrupa, in turn, gave rise to Assamese and Bengali. Besides these two prime languages, a large number of native languages are also spoken within Assam. Some of them are Dimaca, Mishing, Karbi, Rabha, Tiwa etc. These languages belong to the Tibeto-Burman family.
Small pockets of ethnic groups like the Tai Phake, Tai Aiton, Tai Khamti, etc speak the Tai language, which has its origins in southern China and south-east Asia. In the present-day Assam, due to the confluence of different cultures and traditions, a wide variety of other languages have also paved their way in the dialect of Assam. Some of them are Punjabi, Marwari, Bhojpuri, Manipuri etc. All these dialects are spoken by different cultural groups in Assam.
Dialect Groups Of Assamese
Due to some external influences, four distinct dialect groups of Assamese language have evolved. They are: