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Meghalaya

Half way to heaven

Language of Meghalaya

English is the official language of the state. The most spoken languages in Meghalaya are Khasi (33.82%) and Garo (31.60%) followed by Pnar (10.69%), Bengali (6.44%), Nepali (1.85%), War (1.73%), Hindi (1.62%), Hajong (1.40%) and Assamese (1.34%).

Khasi (also spelled Khasia, Khassee, Cossyah, and Kyi) is a branch of the Mon–Khmer family of the Austroasiatic stock and according to 2001 census, Khasi is spoken by about 1,128,575 people residing in Meghalaya. Many words in the Khasi language have been borrowed from Indo-Aryan languages such as Assamese, Bengali and Nepali. Moreover, the Khasi language originally had no script of its own. The Khasi language is one of the very few surviving Mon–Khmer languages in India today.

The Garo language has a close affinity with the Koch and Bodo languages, a small family of Tibeto-Burman languages. Garo, spoken by the majority of the population, is spoken in many dialects such as Abeng or Ambeng, Atong, Akawe (or Awe), Matchi Dual, Chibok, Chisak Megam or Lyngngam, Ruga, Gara-Ganching and Matabeng.

Pnar is spoken by many people of the both West and East Jaintia Hills. The language is related to the Khasi language. Apart from the main languages, various local dialect are being spoken by the War Jaintia (West Jaintia Hills), Maram and Lynngam (West Khasi Hills), War Pynursla (East Khasi Hills), Tiwa language by Tiwa peoples of Ri-Bhoi district. Another example is the Biate language spoken by many people inhabiting the south-eastern part of Meghalaya bordering Assam.

Indo-Aryan languages like Assamese, Bengali, Nepali and Hindi are spoken by many people residing mostly in the East Khasi Hills district and the West Garo Hills district.

English is spoken as a common language across the diverse ethnic and demographic groups. In urban centres most of the people can speak English; rural residents vary in their ability.

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