Moran language

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Native toIndia
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

Moran (Morān) is an extinct Boro-Garo language which was spoken in Assam in Northeast India (mostly Tinsukia district) and related to Dimasa language.[1] The census returned 78 speakers in 1901, 24 in 1911 and none in 1931, and the only source of this language exists in a 1904 article by P R Gurdon.[2][3] The speakers of this language have shifted to the Assamese language. The name "Moran" reportedly means 'forest dweller'.[citation needed]


It can be stated that the original language of the Morans was a Kachari language, as stated by the researcher W.B. Brown. During the medieval period(13th-16th century), the Morans as well as Chutias after coming in contact and getting partially assimilated by the invading Shans, resorted to speaking the lingua franca, which was a mixture of their native tongue and Prakrit. This process of transition gave rise to the Moran language, which over time was again replaced by a modern form of Assamese which had a greater influence of Prakrit.The ancient Moran language was also known as Bodo ruchi as stated by some elders of the community. The Morans now are found mostly in the Tinsukia district. They were greatly migratory due to jhumming or shifting cultivation even during the colonial era. They gradually migrated north from their original habitat near Tipam and Charaideo where the first Tai immigrants met them, probably due to spread of wet-rice cultivation in their original habitat.[4] When the British arrived in the 19th century, the area between Dibrugarh and Sadiya was mostly virgin forests[5] and the chief habitat of the Morans. In the early part of Ahom rule, they were employed in menial capacities as hewers of wood and drawers of water.[6] During the later part of Ahom rule, they were found in areas like Kakotal, Mariani, Holongapar, Jhansi, etc where they chiefly worked as Kapahiya(cotton-growers), which shows that they scattered around the south bank of the Brahmaputra with the expansion of the Ahom kingdom.[7]

The Moran as well other Kacharis word for water is "Di", which apparently forms the first syllable of all major rivers of Upper Assam including Dibang, Disang, Dikhou, Dikrong, Dikarai, Dihing, Digaru, Difolu, Dimow, Disoi, etc. which shows that this group of people were the dominant tribe in the entire region with their seat in Sadiya, the earliest known power and civilisation of Chutias.They were probably the eastern Kachari branch which got isolated during the ahom rule[8]


  1. " I have recently been able to demonstrate that Gurdon’s dialect is a variety of Dimasa, since it retains all the features examined here: it has the same consonant clusters and diphthongs as Dimasa." (jaquesson 2017:108)
  2. "A second more dramatic example is P.R. Gurdon’s 1904 article ‘The Morans’ in the same journal. The author noted down several hundred words in the language, which he knew to be endangered. The census returned 78 speakers in 1901, 24 in 1911 and none in 1931. Gurdon’s article is thus the only source for this extinct language." (jaquesson 2017:108)
  3. PRT Gurdon, 1903, "The Morāns", Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 72, no. 1, p 36 ff
  4. In the early 13th century, the Moran territories were bounded by Buridhing on the north and Disang on the south
  5. Saikia, Yasmin,Fragmented Memories: Struggling to be Tai-Ahom in India,p. 105
  6. Endle,S,The Kacharis,p.88
  7. Endle,S,The Kacharis,p.87
  8. Endle 1911, p. 4.


  • Jaquesson, François (2017). Translated by van Breugel, Seino. "The linguistic reconstruction of the past The case of the Boro-Garo languages". Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area. 40 (1): 90–122. doi:10.1075/ltba.40.1.04van.

External links[edit]

  • Moran at Brahmaputra Studies Database

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