Cite as follows:

Burling, Robbins. 1959. Proto-Bodo. Language 35:433-53. Accessed via STEDT database <> on 2024-06-25.

p.434: “The Bodo group falls into three subdivisions: Koch, Garo, and Bodo proper, though the latter two appear to be somewhat closer to each other than to Koch.
My materials on Garo are the best I have; they can, I think, be trusted quite fully, since I worked with and in the language for two years, and had ample opportunity to check and recheck my data. The materials presented here are from the dialect of the northeastern part of the district, the dialect which is becoming the standard language for all Garos. This is the dialect that is called Standard Garo in the Linguistic Survey of India and is found in publications of the American Baptist Mission Society. Where my transcription differs from that introduced by the Mission, it is a refinement in phonemic analysis, not a difference in dialect.”

p.435: “The group which I have called Bodo proper consists of a number of dialects (said to be largely if not completely mutually intelligible) scattered up and down the Brahmaputra valley, known variously as Mech, Dimasa, Kachari, and even Bodo or Boro. My materials on this language consist of a vocabulary list collected from a single informant from the Goalpara District to the north of the Garo Hills. His language is very similar if not identical to that recently referred to as Boro by J. Burton-Page and P. C. Bhattacharya, and earlier called Bodo, Bårå, or Plains Kachari by the Linguistic Survey and Endle. My informant referred to his language as Kachari, and I use that name here, not to indicate that it is different from the language considered by the authors named but to avoid
confusion with the term which I must use for the whole group.”

p.437: “The Koch group has fewer speakers than either of the other two, and is divided into a number of languages which are said to be mutually unintelligible, though their speakers sometimes live very near to one another. I use materials from two of these languages, Atong and Wanang.
My materials on Atong were collected from a number of speakers in the area of Baghmara, Garo Hills, and are approximately equivalent in reliability to those on Kachari.
Wanang, the last language to be used here, is spoken by only a few hundred people, most of whom live along the western border of the Garo Hills, near the market place of Garobadha. It appears to be very similar to the language which the Linguistic Survey misleadingly calls ‘Garo of Jalpaiguri’. Neither the latter nor Wanang, of course, is Garo in any sense; both are more closely related to Atong and the other languages collectively known as Koch. My materials on Wanang are the least adequate of those used in this paper. I collected the vocabulary items at one sitting, and had little chance to check my recording. My ear was by that time accustomed to Bodo languages, a circumstance which helped to make a rapid collection possible; but it may also have prejudiced my hearing.”

p.439: “Where perfect correspondence is lacking, I place my guess in parenthesis, except that (ʔ) indicates an admission of ignorance concerning a glottal stop, not a guess that such a phoneme did in fact occur. In other cases where I am unwilling even to guess I write an empty parenthesis ( ) or a V to indicate an unknown vowel.”

Languages in this source:

ISO 639-3 Language Name Short Lg Name Group num. of records Phon. Inventory
n/a *Bodo-Garo Proto-Bodo 1.7.1 - Bodo-Garo 112
aot Atong Atong - Koch 1 p.28
brx Bodo Kachari - Bodo 2 p.52
kdq Wanang Wanang - Koch 2 p.425