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The Khasis by P. R. T. Gurdon

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_Child_.--So, _kon_; Suk, _kon_; Mon, _kon_; Hueei, _kuon_; Annan,
_kon_; Khmer, _kun_; Khasi, _khun_. Compare Nancowry, _kon_.

_Eye_.--The word _mat, mat, mat_, run through several of these
languages, e.g. Mon, _mat_; Huei, _mat_; Stieng; _mat_; Bahnar _mat_;
Annam, _mat_; Khasi, _khmat_ (dialectic _mat_). In Nancowry compare
_olmat_, eye, and _okmat_, eyebrow, and (_e_)_mat_ (_hen_) _mat_
(_drug_), _mat_, of the Nicobar dialects, also Semang _mat, met,
med_. Kuhn remarks that the word _mat_ is common for "_sight_," and
"eye" all over the Malay Archipelago. It should be remarked that in
the Amwi and Lakadong dialects of Khasi the word is _mat_.

_Nose_.--If we cut off the aspirate _kh_ from the Khasi _khmut_, which
thus becomes _mut_, we find some correspondence between Mon, _muh_
(_mu_); Stieng (_tro_), _muh_; Bahnar, _muh_. Here also compare Ho
_mua, muta_; Mundari, _mun_; Uraon, _moy_. In the Anwi and Lakadong
dialects of Khasi the word is _mur-kong_.

_Hand_.--Xong, _ti_; Mon, _toi_; Annam, _tay_, Khmer, _te_ (from
_sang te_, finger); Palaung, _tae, tai_, and Khasi, _kti_ (with
prefix _k_) closely correspond. The forms _ta_ and _toi_ of Amwi,
and Lakadong, respectively, still more closely correspond with the
Mon-Khmer languages than with Khasi. Here compare Nancowry _tei_
and _ti_, or _ti_ of the Kol languages.

_Blood_.--Palaung _hnam_, and Wa _nam_ closely correspond with Khasi
_snam_; here compare Khmer _iham_.

_Horn_:--Mon, _grang_, the horn of an animal, may be compared with
the Khasi _reng_.

_Far_.--Distant. Bahnar, _hangai_; Annam, _ngai_; Khmer, _chhngay_;
Lemet, _sngay_; Sue _chngai_ may be compared with the Khasi
_jing-ngai_. Amwi _shnjngoi_ seems to be a closer form to the above
than Khasi _jing-ngai_. But compare Mynnar (Jirang), _chngi_, which
is clearly very close to Sue _chngai_, and Khmer _chhngay_.

_To weep, to cry_.--Mon, _yam_; Khmer, _yam_; Khmu Lemet and Palaung,
_yam_, are clearly the same as Khasi _iam_, with which also may be
compared Ho _yam_.

It is interesting to note that the Amwi and Lakadong dialects of Khasi,
which are spoken by the people who dwell on the southern slopes of
the Jaintia Hills, seem more closely to correspond with the Mon-Khmer
forms than even with Khasi. The Mynnar or Jirang dialect of Khasi,
spoken on the extreme north of the hills, also appears to possess some
words which are very similar indeed to some of the Mon-Khmer forms
given by Professor Kuhn. Unfortunately, I had time to collect but a
few words of this interesting dialect, as I arrived in the portion
of the country inhabited by these people only a short time before
submitting this monograph to Government. The Mynnar dialect appears
to be akin to the Synteng, Lakadong, and Amwi forms of speech. The
Mynnars observe also the Synteng ceremony of "_Beh-ding-khlam_," or
driving away the demon of cholera, so that although now inhabiting
a part of the country a considerable distance away from that of the
Synteng, it is not unlikely that they were originally connected with
the latter more closely.

Professor Kuhn comes to the conclusion that there is a distinct
connection between Khasi, Mon or Talaing, Khmer, and the other
languages of Indo-China that have been mentioned, which is to be seen
not only from similarities in some of the numerals, but from the
convincing conformities of many other words of these languages. He
goes on to add that more important than these contacts of the
mono-syllabic languages of Indo-China with mono-syllabic Khasi is
their affinity with the Kol, and Nancowry poly-syllabic languages
and with that of the aboriginal inhabitants of Malacca, i.e. the
languages of the so-called Orang-Outang, or men of tile woods, Sakei,
Semung, Orang-Benua, and others; and that although it is not, perhaps,
permissible to derive at once from this connection the relation of the
Khasi Mon-Khmer mono-syllabic group with these poly-syllabic languages,
it seems to be certain that a common substratum lies below a great
portion of the Indo-Chinese languages as well as those of the Kol and
Ho-Munda group. More important than connections between words is, as
Dr. Grierson points out in his introduction to the Mon-Khmer family,
the order of the words in the sentence. In both Khasi and Mon that
order is subject, verb, object. Taking this fact in conjunction with
the similarities of the Khasi and Mon vocabularies, we may conclude
that it is proof positive of the connection between Khasi and Mon, or
Talaing. In Munda, however, this order is subject, object, verb. Tiffs
is a very important difference, for, as Dr. Grierson points out,
"the order of words in a sentence follows the order of thought of the
speaker; it follows therefore that the Mundas think in an order of
ideas different from those of the Khasis and the Mons." Dr. Grierson
comes to the stone conclusion with respect to these languages as
Professor Kuhn, which is as follows:--"Owing to the existence of these
differences we should not be justified in assuming a common origin for
the Mon-Khmer languages on the one hand, and for the Munda, Nancowry,
and Malacca languages on the other. We may, however, safely assume
that there is at the bottom of all these tongues a common substratum,
over which there have settled layers of the speeches of other peoples,
differing in different localities. Nevertheless, this substratum
was so firmly, established as to prevent its being entirely hidden
by them, and frequent undeniable traces of it are still discernible
in languages spoken in widely distant tracts of Nearer and Further
India. Of what language this original substratum consisted we are not
yet in a position to say. Whatever it was, it covered a wide area,
larger than the area covered by many families of languages in India at
the present day. Languages With this common substratum are now spoken,
not only in the modern Province of Assam, in Burma, Siam, Cambodia,
and Anam, but also over the whole of Central India, as far west as the
Berars." Grierson, having agreed regarding the existence of this common
substratum, does not finally determine whether the ancient substratum
was the parent of the present Munda language, or of the Mon-Khmer
language. He says, "It cannot have been the parent of both, but it
is possible that it was the parent of neither." We are thus still in
a state of uncertainty as to what was the origin of these languages.

The brief description which follows of some of the more prominent
characteristics of the Khasi language is based chiefly on Sir Charles
Lyall's skeleton Grammar contained in Vol. II. of Dr. Grierson's
"Linguistic Survey of India." It does not pretend to be an exhaustive
treatise on the language; for this students are referred to the
excellent grammar compiled by the Rev. H. Roberts.

_The Article_.--There are four articles in Khasi; three in the
singular, _u_, (masculine), _ka_ (feminine), and _i_ (diminutive of
both genders); and one in the plural for both genders, _ki_.

All Khasi nouns take a pronominal prefix to denote the gender,
i.e. the third personal pronoun, _u_ (masculine), _ka_ (feminine), _i_
(diminutive). The great majority of inanimate nouns are feminine, and
all abstract nouns. The sun (day), _ka sngi_, is feminine, the moon
(month), _u b'nai_, is masculine. Sometimes the word varies in meaning
according to the gender, e,g. _u ngap_, a bee; _ka ngap_, honey.

_Genders_.--Names of mountains, stones, plants, fruits, stem, and
the moon, are masculine, e.g.:--

_U kyllang_, the Kyllang rock.
_U mawlein_, quartz.
_U phan_, potato.
_U soh niamtra_, orange.
_U'lur duti_, the morning star.
_U'tiw kulap_, rose.
_U b'nai_, the moon.

Names of rivers, lakes, books, places, the sun, and' all abstract
nouns are feminine, e.g.:--

_Ka wah_, river.
_Ka nan_, lake.
_Ka kitap_, book.
_Ka Shillong_, Shillong.
_Ka sngi_, sun
_Ka jingsneng_, advice.

The article _i_ is used either as a diminutive, as _i khunlung_,
a baby, or for denoting endearment, as _i mei_, mother.

_Number_.--_U, ka_, and _i_ stand for the singular number, e.g. _u
khla_ (a tiger), _ka khoh_ (a Khasi basket), _i khun_ (a child). _Ki_
is the sign of the plural, as _Ki maw_, the stones. _Ki_ in some few
instances is used honorifically, as _ki Siem_, the king, _ki kthaw_,
the father-in-law.

_Cases_ are eight in number, and are denoted by prefixes. The
declension of the noun _lum_ (hill) is given below by way of example:--

Singular. Plural
Nominative _u lum_ _ki lum_
Accusative _ia u lum_ _ia ki lum_
Instrumental _da u lum_ _da ki lum_
Dative _ia, ha_, or _ia, ha_, or
_sha u lum_ _sha ki lum_
Ablative _na u lum_ _na ki lum_
Genitive _jong u lum_ _jong ki lum_
Locative _ha u lum_ _ha ki lum_
Vocative _ko lum_ _ko phi ki lum_

The sign of the genitive case, _jong_, is sometimes omitted for the
sake of brevity, e.g. _u ksew nga_ (my dog) for _u ksew jong nga_. The
preposition _la_ gives also the force of the possessive case, e.g. _la
ka jong ka jong_ (their own). There are some nouns which change their
form, or rather are abbreviated when used in the vocative case,
e.g. _ko mei_, not _ko kmei_ = Oh mother; _ko pa_, not _ko kpa_ =
Oh father. These, however, are all of them nouns showing relationships.

_Pronouns_.--Personal pronouns are _nga_ (I), _ngi_ (we), _me_ (thou,
masculine) _pha_ (thou, feminine), _phi_, (you, masculine or feminine),
_u_ (he, it), _ka_ (she, it), _i_ (diminutive form of _u_ or _ka_),
and _ki_ (they).

The emphatic form of the personal pronoun is formed by prefixing _ma_,
e.g. _ma-nga_, _ma-u_, after a verb, but not after a preposition,
e.g. _dei-ma-nga_ = it is I. But _ai, ia ma nga_ is an incorrect form.

_The Reflexive Pronoun_ is formed by the word _lade_ (self) being
suffixed to the personal pronoun, as _u leh sniu ia lade_ = he does
himself harm, or by the addition of the word _hi_ (self) to the
personal pronoun, as _phi hi pbi ong_ (you yourself).

_The Relative Pronoun_ is formed by the suffix _ba_, added to any of
the personal pronouns, as _kaba_, _uba, kiba_ (who, which).

_The Demonstrative Pronoun_ is formed by the addition of the particles
denoting the position of things with reference to the speaker,
e.g. (1) near = this, _ne_ (_u-ne_, _kane_, _i-ne, ki-ne_); (2) in
sight, but further off = that, _to_ (_uto_, &c.); (3) further away,
but still visible = that _tai_ (_u-tai_, &c.); (4) out of sight or
only contemplated in the mind = that, _ta_ (_u-ta_, &c.); (5) above =
that, _tei_ (_u-tei_, &c.); (6) below = this, _thi_ (_ka-thi_, &c.);
_katai-tai, katei-tei, kathie-thie_ point to an object at a great
distance but within sight.

_The Interrogative Pronoun_ is the article followed by _no_ or
_ei_ (e.g. _u-no, kano_, who), _u-ei, ka-ei_ (who, which). _Ei_ is
often used without the "article," and _no_ (which is restricted to
persons) when declined, regularly drops the "article," e.g. _jong-no_
whose? _ia-no_, whom? _sha-no_, to whom? What? neuter, is _aiuh_,
and also _kaei_.

_Adjectives_ are formed by prefixing _ba_ to the root, thus _bha_
goodness; _ba-bha_, good; _sniu_, badness; _ba-sniu_, bad. When _ba_
is dropped, the word in no longer an adjective but a verb, and in
some cases a noun, e.g. _uba khraw_ (adj.) = big, great; _u khraw_
= he becomes great. An adjective may be formed without any of the
prefixes _ba, uba_, &c., e.g. _ka miau-tuh_ = a thieving cat.

An adjective follows the noun it qualifies, and agrees with the noun
it qualifies in gender and number.

_Comparison_.--The comparative is formed by adding _kham_ before
an adjective, followed by _ban ia_ (than), or simply _ia_, and the
superlative by adding such adverbs of intensity as _tam, eh, eh than,
tam eh, shikaddei_, which are followed generelly by _ia_ or _ban ia_.

_Numerals_.--In Khasi the cardinal number always precedes the noun
(e.g. _lai sin_, three times,) The following are the first ten

1. _Wei_.
2. _Ar_.
3. _Lai_
4. _Sau_.
5. _San_.
6. _Hinriu_.
7. _Hinnieu_.
8. _Phra_.
9. _Khyndai_.
10. _Shipheu_.

The word _khad_ is prefixed for forming the numerals from 11 to 19,
e.g. _khad-wei, khad-ar_, eleven, twelve, &c.

The verbal root (which never varies) may be simple or compound. The
compound roots are (1) _Causals_, formed by prefixing _pyn_ to the
simple root; as _iap_, die; _pyniap_, kill. (2) _Frequentatives_,
formed by prefixing _iai_; as _iam_, weep; _iai iam_, weep
continually. (3) _Inceptives_, by prefixing _man_; as _stad_, be
wise; _manstad_, grow wise. (4) _Reciprocals_, by prefixing _ia_;
as _ieit_, love; _ia-ieit_, love one another. (5) _Intensives_, by
prefixing tim particle _kyn, lyn, syn, tyn_. Any noun or adjective
may be treated as a verbal root by means of a prefix of these five
classes. Thus _kajia_, a quarrel (Hindustani loan word, _qazia_;) _ia
kajio_, to quarrel with one another; _bynta_, share; _pyn-ia-bynta_
(reciprocal catmal), to divide between several persons. It should
be mentioned with reference to the second class or frequentative
verbs, that they sometimes take the prefixes, or particles as Roberts
prefers to call them, _dem, dup, nang, shait, ksaw_ in place of _iai_,
e.g. _dem-wan_, to come after; _dup-teh_, to practise; _nang-wad_,
to go on searching; _shait pang_, to be always ill; _ksaw-bam_, to be
in the habit of devouring. There are two verbs for "to be," _long_,
implying existence absolutely, and _don_, implying limited existence,
and also meaning "to have." There is only one form of conjugation for
all verbs. Tense and mood are indicated by prefixes, number and person
by the subject. When the subject is a noun the pronoun is inserted
before the verb. The following is the conjugation of the verb "to be"
in the present, past, and future tenses:--

Present. Past. Future.
Singular. Plural. Singular. Plural. Singular. Plural.

1 2 3 4 5 6
_Nga long_ _Ngi long_ _Nga la long_ _Ngi la long_ _Ngan long_ _Ngin long_
I am We are I was We were I shall be We shall be

_Me_ (mas.) or _Phi long_ _Me_ or _pha _Phi la long_ _Men_ or _phan _Phin long_
_pha_ (fem.) la long_ long_
Thou art Ye are Thou wast Ye were Thou shalt be You shall be

_U _(mas.) or _Ki long_ _U _or _ka _Ki la long_ _U'n_ or _ka'n _Kin long_
_ka_ (fem.) la long_ long_
He or she is They are He or she was They were He or she will They will be

The above simple tenses are made definite or emphatic by various
means. _La_, sign of the past, when added to _lah_, sign of the
potential, has the sense of the pluperfect, e.g. _nga la lah long_,
I had been. _Yn_ abbreviated into _'n_ emphasizes the future, the
particle _sa_ also indicates the future; _da_ is the usual sign
of the subjunctive mood, _lada, la, lymda, tad, ynda, ban, da_ are
other signs of this mood. The sign of the infinitive is _ba'n_. The
imperative is either (1) the simple root, or (2) the root compounded
with some word such as _to_.

_Participles_.--The present participle is formed by prefixing _ba_ to
the root, e.g. _ba long_, being. The imperfect participle is formed
by prefixing such words as _ba u, ka da, da kaba_, &c. The perfect
participle is formed by putting such particles as _ba la, haba la,
da kaba la_ before the verb. Verbal nouns of agency are formed by
prefixing _nong_ to the root, e.g. _u nong knia_ (the sacrificer). The
_Passive Voice_ is formed by using the verb impersonally, and putting
the subject into the Accusative case with _ia_.

_Potentiality_ is indicated by the verb _lah_, necessity by the verb
_dei; dang_ and _da_ show the indefinite present.

The _negative_ is indicated by the particles _ym_, contracted into _'m,
shym_, and _pat_. _Ym_ is put before the verb, e.g. _'ym don briew_
= there is no one; with a pronoun it is contracted, e.g. _u'm wan_,
he does not come. It follows the sign of the future, e.g. _phi'n y'm
man_, you will not come. _Shym_ and _pat_ are neptive particles, and
are used with _negative verbs_ in the past tense, e.g. _u'm shymla
man_, he did not come.

_The use of the word "jing."_--One of the most striking features
of the language is the use of the word _jing_, which is employed to
create a verbal noun out of a verb: for instance, take the verb _bam_,
to eat; if we prefix _jing_ we have _jingbam_, food. _Bat_, to hold;
_jing-bat_, a handle. The use of the word _nong_ has already been
noticed under the heading "verbs." As an example of another common
prefix, it may again be mentioned here. Thus, _nong-ai-jingbam_ means
a table servant, literally one who gives food. Again, _nong-bat_,
a holder, literally, one who holds.

_Syntax_.--The order of words in the sentence is usually (1) subject,
(2) verb, and (3) object, in fact, the same as in English, and in this
respect it differs entirely from the order in the languages derived
from Sanskrit, and that of the languages of the Thibeto-Burman group,
as far as I have been able to ascertain. For instance, in the Kachari
or Boro language the order in the sentence is (1) subject, (2) object,
(3) verb. In Khasi when emphasis is needed, however, the object
occasionally precedes the berb, e.g. _ia u soh u la die_, he has
sold the fruit, literally, the fruit he has sold. As stated before,
adjectives follow the nouns they qualify, e.g. _u lum bajyrong_,
a high mountain, literally, the hill that is high. Interrogative
adverbs may either precede or follow the verb, e.g. _naei phi wan_,
or _phi wan naei_, where do you come from?

No account of the Khasi language would be complete without some
reference to the adverbs which are so very numerous in Khasi. U
Nissor Singh, in his admirable little book of "Hints on the Study of
the Khasi Language," writes, "Adverbs are so numerous in the Khasi
language that I shall not attempt to enumerate them all in this small
book. Many of the adverbs, indeed, belong to the untranslatables
of the language. We are never in want of a specific term to express
the appropriate degree of any quality." To learn how to use the right
adverb at the right time is one of the niceties of the language. There
is a peculiarity about some of the adverbs of place which should
be mentioned: e.g. _Hangto_, there (within sight); _hangne_, here;
_hangta_, there (out of sight); _hangai_, there (at some distance);
_hangtei_, there (upwards); _hangthi_, there (downwards); also the
interrogative adverbs _hangno, nangno_, whence, contain the inherent
root _nga_, and it seems possible that this _nga_ is the first personal
pronoun I. If this is so, _hangto_ would mean literally "to me there,"
_hangthi_ "to me down there," and similarly _nangno, nangne_ would mean
"from where to me there" and "from there to me here."

Adverbs generally follow the words they modify, as _u'n leit mynta_
= he will go now, but there are exceptions to the above rule,
such as interrogative adverbs. The following come before those
they modify: _tang shu, la dang_ (as soon as, when); _kham, shait_
(used to, ever); _pat_ or _put_ (yet) ; and _shym_ (not); but _shuh_
(more) goes last. Adverbs of past time are formed by prefixing _myn_,
e.g. _mynhynne_, a short time ago. Adverbs of future time are formed
by prefixing _la_. The particles _man_, _man la_, and _hala_ denote

The Khasis are exceedingly fond of using double words [43] which add
much to the finish and polish of a sentence. Old people especially
have a predilection this way. It is one of the great diffuculties
of the language to learn how to use such double words correctly. The
following are some examples:--


kajain ka nep cloth.
ka kot ka sla paper.
ka lynti ka syngking road.
ka iing ka sem house.
u babu, u phabu babu.
u tymen u san elder.
ka stih, ka wait arms (lit.: shield and sword).
u badon ba em a well to do person.
ka spah ka phew wealth
u kha-u-man a relation on the father's side.


pynsyk-pynsain to comfort.
ia shoh ia dat to scuffle.
byrngem-byrait to threaten.
shepting-shepsmiej to be afraid.
ihthuh-ihthaw to be familiar.
kyrpad-kyrpon to beg.
ia lum-ia lang to assemble.


basniw-basmeh bad.
basmat-basting active.
donbor-donsor powerful.
don burom-don surom noble.
bakhraw-batri pertaining to a noble family.
baduk-basuk poor, needy.
babok-basot righteous.
bariwbha-riwmiat. wealthy.


hur-hur delicately.
hain-hain brilliantly (red).
prum-prum, prem-prem prominently.
rymbiaw-rymboin shrikingly.
nior-nior, iar-iar weakly.
parum-pareh many.
sip-sip, sap-sap having no taste.

The Mikirs appear to have borrowed a small portion of their vocabulary
from the Khasis. The following are quoted as examples of possible
common roots:--

Mikir. Khasi.
belly pok kpoh.
strike (_v_.) chok shoh.
father po kpa.
come (_v_.) vang wan.
rice beer hor hiar.
maternal uncle ni-lur kni.

The Lynngam dialect differs so much from the standard Khasi that some
remarks regarding the former will not be out of place. Dr. Grierson, on
pages 17 to 19 of his Volume II. of the "Linguistic Survey of India,"
has indicated some of these differences, which may be recapitulated
here as follows. Some of the commonest verbs vary considerably
from those used in the standard dialect. There are also many minor
differences of pronunciation. A man is _u breo_, not _u briew_, a son
is a _u khon_, not _u khun_. Standard _ng_ is often represented by
_nj_. Thus _doinj_ for _ding_, fire. A final _h_ often appears as _k_,
and an initial _b_ as _p_. Thus, _baroh_ (Standard), all, becomes
in Lynngam _prok_. Standard _ei_ becomes _aw_. Thus _wei_ = _waw_,
one; _dei = daw_, necessary. The articles are frequently omitted. The
pronoun _u_ is used for the plural as well as the singular, instead
of the Standard plural _ki_. The diminutive _i_ is used with inanimate
nouns. This is also sometimes the case in the Standard form.

_Nouns_.--The prefix of the Accusative-dative is _se_ or _sa_, often
contracted to _s'_ instead of _ia_ (Standard). The prefix of the Dative
is _hanam, hnam_, or _tnam_. The Standard Dative-locative prefix _ha_
is also used, and may be spelt _he_ or _hy_. _Ta_ or _te_ are also
found. For the genitive, besides the Standard _jong_, are found _ha,
am-ba, am_, and _am-nam. Am-nam_ and _am_ also mean "from."

The plural sometimes takes the suffix _met_.

_Adjectives_.--The usual word for male is _korang_, and for
"female" _konthaw_, in place of the Standard _shynrang_
and _kynthei_ respectively. The following are examples of
comparisons:--_Re-myrriang_, good; _Mai-myrriang_, better;
_U re-myrriang_, best. The Standard _tam_ is also used for the

_Pronouns_.--The Personal Pronouns are:--

Singular Plural
1st Person, ne biaw, iaw.
2nd Person, mi, mei phiaw.
3rd Person u, ju, u-ju kiw.

The Nominative of the pronoun of the second person singular is given
once as _ba-mi_, and once as _ma-mi_. The _ma_ or _ba_ is the Standard
emphatic prefix _ma_.

Demonstrative Pronouns appear to be _be, tei_ that, and _uni_, or
_nih_, this. _Be_ is used as a definite article in the phrase _be
jawmai_, the earthquake.

_The Relative Pronoun_ is _u-lah_, who.

_Interrogative Pronouns_ are _net, u-iet_, who? and _met_, what?

_Verbs_.--The pronoun which is the subject of a verb may either precede
or follow it. Thus _ne rip_, I strike; _rip biaw_, we strike. The words
meaning to be are _re, im_, and _meit_ in addition to the Standard
_long_. Like the Standard _don, im_, corresponding to Synteng _em_,
also means to have. As in the Standard, the Present Tense is formed
by using the bare root.

The Past Tense is formed in one of five ways, viz.:--

1. By suffixing _let_, as in _ong-let_, said.
2. By suffixing _lah-let_, as in _dih-lah-let_, went.
3. By prefixing _lah_, and suffixing _let_, as in _lah-ong-let_, said.
4. By prefixing _lah_, as in _lah-kyllei_, asked.
5. By prefixing _yn_ (_yng, ym_), as in _yn-nai_, gave; _yng-kheit_,
shook; _um-pait_, broke; _yn-jai_, fell.

The Future is formed in a very peculiar way. The Standard _yn_ is
inserted into the middle of the root, immediately after the first
consenant. Thus _rip_, strike; _rynip_, will strike. If the root is a
compound, it is inserted between the two members, as in _pan-yn-sop_,
will fill. Here observe that the Standard causative prefix _pyn_
becomes _pan_ in Lynngam. The Infinitive the same form as the Future.

Dr. Grierson points out the following most noteworthy fact with
reference to the formation of the Lynngam Future and Infinitive, i.e.,
that similar infixes occur in Malay in the Nancowry dialect of Nicobar,
and the Malacca aboriginal languages.

The prefix of the Imperative is _nei_, as in _nei-ai_, give; _nei-lam_,
bring. The usual negative particle is _ji_, which is suffixed,
e.g. _um-ji_ is not.


Lynngam Standard (Khasi).
1. Waw, shi Wei, shi.
2. Ar-re or a-re Ar.
3. Lai-re Lai.
4. Saw-re Saw.
5. San-de San.
6 Hyrrew-re Hinriw.
7. Hynnju-re Hinniew.
8. Phra-re Phra.
9. Khondai-re Khyndai.
10. Shi-phu Shi-phew.

The peculiarity about the Lynngam numerals is the suffix _re_, and the
numeral "five" _de_. None of the other dialects of Khasi posess this
peculiarity. Dr. Grierson's Volume may be referred to for a Lynngam
Vocabulary. I make the following additions:--

English Lynngam Khasi (Standard).
Hearth paw ka dypei
Earthen pot kheow u khiw
Flesh mim ka doh
Spoon jamplai ka siang
Sleeping-room syrkut ka'rumpei
Drinking-gourd longtang u skaw
,, ,, longjak u klong dih-um
Broom shipuat u synsar


Turban khabong jain brung ka jain spong
Ear-ring kurneng ka shohshkor
Apron shiliang ka jymphong
Haversack jolonjwa [44] ka pla
Cap pokhia ka tupia
Girdle pun-poh u saipan
Under Garment jain tongpan ka jympin

Domestic Terms.

Pestle synraw u synrei
Door phyrdaw ka jingkhang
Fowl house kjor syar ka sem siar
Portion of house
in front of the
hearth nengiaw ka nongpei
Do. behind the
hearth shangla ka rumpei
Store-house siang ka ieng buh kyba
Millet jrai u krai
Indian corn soh rikhawu riw hadem
Arum chew ka shiriew

Agricultural Implements.

Spade wakhew u mokhiew
Bill-hook wait-bah ka wait Lynngam
Do. wait-koh ka wait khmut
Axe dapam u sdi
Basket used in
reaping and
sowing khyrnai ka koh rit.


Exogamous Clans in the Cherra State

1. Basa-iew-moit
Intermarriage with Majaw and Hynniewta clans prohibited.
2. Diengdoh
Intermarriage with Lalu, Diengdohbah and Diengdohkylla clans
3. 'Dkhar
4. Dohling
5. Dulai
6. Dunai
7. Hura
8. Hynniewta
9. Jala
10. Jyrwa
11. Khar Jarain
12. ,, Khlem
13. ,, Khrang
14. ,, Kongor
15. ,, Kyni
16. ,, Lukhi
17. ,, Maw
18. ,, Mawphlang
19. ,, Mu
20. ,, Muid
21. ,, Muti
22. ,, Mylliem
23. ,, Naior
24. ,, Shi-ieng
25. ,, Synteng
26. -- --
27. Khong-bri
28. ,, hat
29. ,, ji
30. ,, joh
31. ,, kwang
32. ,, kynshen
33. ,, kyntiaj
34. ,, kyshah
35. ,, lam
36. ,, liar
37. ,, longioi
38. ,, lynnong
39. ,, mawpat
40. ,, mukon
41. ,, ngain
42. ,, riat
43. ,, rymmai
44. ,, sdir
45. ,, shir
46. ,, sit
47. ,, sngi
48. ,, sya
49. ,, war
50. ,, wet
51. ,, wir
52. Lyngdoh-Nonglwai
53. Lynden
54. Lynrah
55. Majaw
56. Marbaniang
This is one of the myntri clans of Mawsynram State.
57. Malngiang
Originally from Maskut in the Jowai Sub-division.
58. Marpna
59. Mawlong
60. Marboh
Formerly one of the Khadar Kur clans. Has now become extinct.
61. Mawdkhap
62. Mohkhiew
63. Mynrieng
64. Myrthong
65. Nongbri
66. Nongkynrih
One of the myntri clans of the Khyrim State.
67. Nonglait
68. Nongtran
69. Nonglathiang
70. Nongrum
One of the myntri clans of the Khyrim State.
71. Nontariang
These two clans cannot intermarry. Nongtariang is now one of
the Khadar Kur clans in place of the Marboh clan which has
become extinct.
72. Padoh
73. Parariang
74. Pohnong
75. Prawai
76. Puria
77. Pompyrthat
78. Rani
79. Rapthap
80. Rynjah
One of the myntri clans of the Khyrim State.
81. Samai
82. Shabong
83. Shanpru
84. Shrieh
_Shrieh_ means a monkey. Possibly totemistic.
85. Siem Lyngng
86. Sohkhlet
87. Shyngpliang
88. Sumer
89. Swer
90. Syiem
91. Syngai
92. Synrem
93. Thabah
94. Tham
_Tham_means a crab. Possibly totemistic.
95. Tohtih
96. Umdor
97. Walang
98. Warkon
99 Khyrwang
100. Ksing


Exogamous Clans in the Khyrim State

1. Awri
2. Bariang
3. Basa-iew-moit
4. Bhoi
5. Bithai
6. Diengdoh (2)
Intermarriage with Masar clan prohibited.
7. 'Dkhar
8. Dumpep
9. Hadem
10. Jasia
11. Khang-shei
12. Khar baino
13. ,, baki
14. ,, bangar
Intermarriage with Nong-lwai clan prohibited.
15. Khar bih-khiew
Intermarriage prohibited with Khar-umnuid clan
16. Khar bonniud
17. ,, bud
18. ,, buli
19. ,, dint
20. ,, dohling
21. ,, dumpep
22. ,, hi-dint
23. ,, iap
24. ,, Kamni
25. ,, Kongor
26. ,, Kset
27. ,, kynang
28. ,, long
29. ,, luni
30. ,, Malki
31. ,, Masar
32. ,, mawlieh
Intermarriage with Khar pomtiah clan prohibited.
33. Khar mihpein
34. ,, mithai
35. ,, mudai
36. ,, mujai
37. ,, mukhi
38. ,, muti
39. ,, mylliem
40. ,, patti
41. ,, pein
42. ,, phan
43. ,, phur
44. ,, pohlong
45. ,, pohshiah
46. ,, pomtiah
Intermarriage with Khar mawlieh clan prohibited.
47. Khar pomtih
48. ,, pran
49. ,, ryngi
50. ,, rynta
51. ,, Sati
52. ,, shan
53. ,, shi-ieng
54. ,, shilot
55. ,, shong
56. ,, shrieh
57. ,, sohnoh
58. ,, sugi
59. ,, Umnuid
Intermarriage with Khar-bihkhiew clan prohibited.
60. Khar urmut
61. ,, War
62. Khier
63. Khmah
64. Khong-binam
65. ,, blah
66. ,, buh
67. ,, buhphang
68. ,, 'dkhar
69. ,, dup
Intermarriage prohibited with Rongsai and Khongree clans.
70. Khong [45] iap
71. ,, iong
72. ,, ji
Intermarriage with Pongrup clan prohibited.
73. Khong joh
74. ,, kai
75. ,, khar
76. ,, kiang
77. ,, kib
78. ,, kylla
79. ,, kyndiah
80. ,, lam
81. ,, liam
82. ,, likong
83. ,, litung
84. ,, luni
85. ,, malai
86. ,, mawlow
87. ,, niur
88. ,, noh
89. ,, pdei
90. ,, pnam
91. ,, pnan
92. ,, sdoh
93. ,, siting
94. ,, slit
95. ,, sugi }
96. ,, sni }
97. ,, sti }
Intermarriage prohibited also with Lyngdoh clan
98. Khong stia
99. ,, sylla (2)
100. ,, thaw
101. ,, tiang
102. ,, thorem
103. ,, wanduh (2)
104. ,, wet
105. ,, wir
106. Khriam
107. Khynriam
108. Khynriem
109. Khynriem miyat
110. Khynriem mawshorok
Intermarriage with Pongrup, Lyndoh and Mawthoh clans
111. Khynriem wahksieng
112. Kur Kalang.
113. Lamin
114. Lawai
Intermarriage with Lyngdoh clan prohibited.
115. Lawaisawkher
116. Lingshing
117. Liting
118. Lyngbah
119. Lyngdoh
Intermarriage with Pongrup and Mawthoh clans prohibited.
120. Lyngiar
121. Mairang
122. Majaid
123. Manar
124. Masar
Intermarriage with Diengdoh clan prohibited.
125. Mawiong
126. Mawphlang
127. Mawsharoh
128. Mawthoh
Intermarriage with Pongrup and Lyngdoh clans prohibited.
129. Mawwa
130. Morbah
131. Mormein
132. Mukhin
133. Muroh
134. Mylliem
135. Mylliem muthong }
136. ,, Ngap }
137. ,, pdah }
Intermarriage between these clans prohibited also with
Sohtum clan
138. Mynsong
139. Niengnong
140. Nieng-suh
142. Nongbri
Intermarriage with Nong-kynrih clans prohibited.
143. Nongbri Partuh
144. Nonghulew
145. Nong-khlieh
146. Nong-kynrieh
Intermarriage with Nongbri clan prohibited.
147. Nong-lwai
Intermarriage with Khar-Bangar clan prohibited.
148. Nong-lyer
149. Nong-pinir
150. Nong-pluh
151. Nongrum
152. Nongspung
153. Nongsteng
154. Nongstein
155. Nongtlub
156. Pdei
157. Pohkhla
158. Pohthmi
159. Pongrup
Intermarriage with Mawthoh and Lyngdoh clans prohibited.
160. Rumkheng
161. Ruson
162. Rymkheng
163. Ryndong (2)
164. Ryngksai
165. Rynjah
Intermarriage with Mawroh clan prohibited.
166. Rynjem
167. Ryntong
168. Ryngngi
169. Shabong
170. Shadap
171. Singting
172. Sohkhleb
173. Sohtum
Intermarriage with Mylliemngap, Mylliempdah and Mylliem-muttong
clans prohibited.
174. Sonjri
175. Songthiang
176. Sumer
177. Surong
178. Suting
179. Swali
180. Swer
181. Synnah
182. Synteng
183. Synteng-hen
184. Tadong
185. Tangper
186. Tangsang
187. Tarieng
188. Trai-iew
189. Tyngsier
190. Tynsil (2)
191. Tyngsong
192. Umsong
193. Uri-ieng
194. Wallang
195. Warbah
Intermarriage with War-shong prohibited.
196. War-Jnem
197. ,, jri
198. ,, khyllew
199. War-malai
200. ,, moi
201. ,, Nongjri
202. Wan-khar
203. War-shong
Intermarriage with Warbah prohibited.


Divination by Egg-Breaking

The _dieng shat pylleng_, or egg-breaking board, is shaped as indicated
in the diagram. Having placed a little heap of red earth on the board
at point _p_, the egg-breaker sits facing the board in the position
shown in the diagram. He first of all makes a little heap of rice in
the middle of the board sufficient to support the egg. He places the
egg there. He then takes it up and smears it with red earth, muttering
incantations the while. Having finished the invocation to the spirits,
the egg-breaker sweeps the grains of rice off the board, stands up,
and dashes the egg on the board with considerable force. The large
portion of the egg-shell is made to fall in the middle of the board,
as at X in the diagram. This portion of the shell is called _ka lieng_,
or the boat. The small bits of egg-shell which fall around the boat are
either good or evil prognostics, according to the following rules:--

1. The bits of shell which fall on the right of the boat are called
_ki jinglar_, and those on the left _ki jingkem_. Supposing fragments
of shell fall as at _b, c, d, e_, with their insides downwards, this
is a good sign, but if one of the fragments lies with its outside
downwards, this is a bad omen, and signifies _ka sang long kha_, or
sin on the father's or the children's part. It may also signify _ka
daw lum_, or "cause from the hill," i.e, that the illness or other
affliction has been caused by a god of some hill.

2. If the fragments of shell lie on the left side of the boat as at
_g, k, i, j_ in the diagram, they are named _ki jingkem_. If they lie
with their insides downwards, they indicate a favourable sign. If _g_
lies with its outside downwards, this is an evil omen. If _g_ and _h_
lie with their insides downwards, this is favourable, even if _i_
lies with its outside downwards. If, however, _j_ lies with its
outside downwards, this is not a good sign.

3. If there are a number of pieces of egg-shell lying in a line,
as at _k_, this is an evil prognostic, the line of shell fragments
indicating the road to the funeral pyre. Such a line of shell fragments
is called _ki'leng rah thang_. This sign is a harbinger of death.

4. If all the fragments of shell on both sides of the board, excepting
the boat, lie with their insides downwards, the question asked by the
egg-breaker is not answered. If _a_ or _l_ fall with their outsides
downwards, this is a bad sign.

5. If the portion of a shell at _f_ falls with the outside downwards,
this indicates that some god needs appearing by sacrifice.

6. If there are a number of small fragments lying around the boat,
as in the diagram, these mean that there are many reasons for the
illness, which cannot be ascertained.

7. If the portion of shell marked _s_ is detsehed from the boat,
this indicates that the goddess is very angry.

8. If four fragments lie around the boat so as to form a square, as _c,
e, h, j_, these mean that the patient is at the point of death. These
are called _ki leng sher thang_.

8. If there are no fragments, as at _d, e, f, g, h, i_, it is a puzzle,
_ka leng kymtip_.

_Note_.--The above information was obtained from U Sarup Singh,
of Mairong; U Them, of Laitlyngkot, and U Bud, of Jowai. Different
egg-breakers have somewhat different methods of reading the signs,
but the main points are usually the same.


[1] The previous history of the Khasi state of Jaintia, so far as it
can be traced will be found related in Mr. E. A. Gait's _History of
Assam_ (1906), pp. 253-262.

[2] P. 211.

[3] Vol. iii., p. 168, 177, &c.

[4] These cloths, which Lindsay calls "_moongadutties_," were really
the produce of Assam, and were _dhutis_ or waist-cloths of _muga_ silk.

[5] Pp. 218-220., It appears from p. 219 that Mr. Scott's report
is responsible for the erroneous statement (often repeated) that the
mountaineers "called by us Cossyahs, denominate themselves Khyee." This
second name is in fact the pronunciation current in Sylhet of the word
_Khasi, h_ being substituted for _s_, and should be written as _Khahi_.

[6] In Mr. Scott's time it was usual to speak of such a place as a

[7] Vol. ix, pp. 833 sqq.

[8] Vol. xiii., pp. 612 sqq.

[9] Pp. 272 sqq.

[10] Called >w|oskop'ia: one of the lost books of the Orphic cycle
was entitled t`a >w|oskopik'a.

[11] The figures for Khasi population in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills
district will be found under "Habitat."

[12] The average rainfall at the Cherrapunji Police Station during
the last twenty years, from figures obtained from the office of the
Director of Land Records and Agriculture, has been 118 inches. The
greatest rainfall registered in any one year during the period was
in 1899, when it amounted to 641 inches.

[13] It is interesting to compare the remarks of M. Aymonier in his
volume iii of "Le Cambodge." He writes as follows:--"Mais en Indo-Chine
on trouve, partout dissemine, ce que les indigenes, au Cambodge du
moins, appellant, comme les peuples les plus eloignes du globe les
traits de foudre.' Ce sont ici des haches de l'age neolithique ou de la
pierre polie, dont la plupart appartiennent au type repandu en toute
la terre. D'autres de ces celtes, dits epaules, parcequ'ils possedent
un talon d'une forme particuliere, paraissent appartenir en propre a
l'Indo-Chine et a la presqu'ile dekkhanique. Its fourniraient donc
un premier indice, non negligeable, d'une communaute d'origine des
populations primitives des deux peninsules, cis et trans gangetiques."

[14] Mawkhar is a suburb of Shillong, the headquarters station.

[15] The maund is 82 lbs.

[16] See Bulletin No. 5 of the Agricultural Department of Assam,
1898, pp. 4 and 5.

[17] Khasi _u sak-riew_.

[18] Colocasia osculenta, Beng. _Kachu_.

[19] About threepence.

[20] For the story in detail see the Folk-lore section of the

[21] Simsong is the Garo name for the river Someshwari.

[22] Officer.

[23] See page 13, "Ka Niam Khasi" (U Jeebon Roy.)

[24] What follows is a literal translation of the Khasi.

[25] This cave is at Pomdalai, some five miles west of Cherrapunji,
close to a great waterfall called _Noh Ka Likai_, i.e. the place where
Ka Likai jumped down the precipice (for a full account of this story
see Section V. of the monograph), where there is a large block of
stone, with some cuts over it, known as _Dain Thlen_, i.e. the snake
cutting (place).

[26] In another account it is said to have been U Suid-noh himself
who did this.

[27] Sir Charles Lyall has pointed out that the Mikirs possess this
custom; it is probably borrowed from the Khasis.

[28] Karl Pearson's essay on "mother age civilization."

[29] Lit.: Cut by magic.

[30] In Ahom _kai_ = fowl, _chan_ = beautiful, _mung_ =
country. Therefore _Kai-chan-mung_ = fowl of a beautiful country

[31] A spirit which is supposed to have the power of causing a disease
of the navel of a child.

[32] _Iapduh_ is the regular word used for a clan, and in this case
a species dying out.

[33] The Shillong Peak is thought to be the seat of a powerful
_blei_ or god who has his abode in the wood close to the top of the
"Peak." Another folk-tale will be found concerning this god.

[34] another version is that it was U Kyrphei, another hill in
Nongspung territory, who fought with U Symper.

[35] For further details regarding the Khasi superstition of the
"thlen," the reader is referred to the portion of the monograph dealing
with human sacrifices. It may be mentioned that the "thlen's" cave is
at a place called Pom Doloi in the territory of the Siem of Cherra,
where there is also a rock called "Dain Thlen" (the cutting of the
"thlen"). Another version of the story explaining why there are still
"thlens" in the Khasi Hills is that there was an old woman who lived
at a placed called Mawphu, a village in a valley to the west of
Cherrapunji. This old woman forgot to eat her share of the "thlen's"
flesh, the result being that the species became repropagated.

[36] Both rivers, Umngot and Umiew, or Umiam, have their sources in or
close to the Shillong Peak. The word "Rupatylli" signifies in Khasi a
solid silver necklace of a peculiar shape. In order to appreciate this
pretty tale thoroughly, the reader ought to view the river "Rupatylli"
from the heights of the Laitkynsew, or Mahadeo, whence it is to be seen
glistening in the sun like a veritable rupatylli or silver necklace.

[37] Those mountains are the high hills which lie to the east of the
Jowai Sub-Division, and which form part of the boundary line between
the Khasi and Jaintia Hills District and North Cachar.

[38] The word Hadem is possibly a corruption of "Hidimba," the old
name for North Cachar.

[39] A Kongngor is one who has married a Khasi princess.

[40] This stone bridge, situated on the Theria road about a mile
below Cherra, existed up to the Earthquake of 1897, which demolished
it. The large slab of stone which formed the roadway of the bridge,
is however, still to be seen lying in the bed of the stream.

[41] The above story is said to have been taken down word for word
from the mouth of an old woman of the Malyniang clan who lived at

[42] Kuhn's "Beitraege zur Sprachenkunde Hinterindiens."

[43] Khasi _ktin kynnoh_.

[44] Assamese loan word, a corruption of "julunga."

[45] The word _khong_ has probably connection with the Synteng word
_jong_ meaning a clan.

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