|Number of Languages:|
|Number of Genetic Units:||16|
|Mean Level of Endangerment:|
|Mean Documentation Status:|
Eastern and Central India is home to a very large number of both large and small languages. Our knowledge of the distribution of languages in this area is quite poor. There are census numbers for many areas, but those numbers vary in reliability and give no information about the structure of languages or their use in society. Many people in this Hotspot use different languages in the course of every day, with different languages used in the home, in markets, or in official transactions.
Many of the languages in this Hotspot are Munda languages, known for their complex verb forms. These languages do not hold as much prestige as many other Indian languages; of the 22 official languages of India, only one is a Munda language. Many of the Munda languages have no writing system and have not been thoroughly documented.
Genetic Units found in Hotspot (16):
- Northern Tibeto-Burman
- North Assam
- North Munda
- South Munda
List of Languages:
Endangered Languages include:
- Bonda (9,000 speakers, South Munda)
- Bugun (1,046 speakers, North Assam)
- Chaura (2,018 speakers, Mon-Khmer:Nicobar)
- Didey (3,055 speakers, South Munda)
- Hruso (4,000 speakers, unclassified Tibeto-Burman)
- Khamba (1,333 speakers, unclassified)
- Khamyang (50 speakers, Tai-Kadai)
- Nancowry (2,200 speakers, Mon-Khmer:Nicobar)
- Potangi (8,000 speakers, Central Dravidian)
- Sajalong (4,000, unclassified Tibeto-Burman)
- Shom Peng (223 speakers, Mon-Khmer:Nicobar)
- Singpho (3,000 speakers, Jingpho-Konyak-Bodo)
- Tarasa (2,767 speakers, Mon-Khmer:Nicobar)
- Zakhring (300 speakers, unclassified Tibeto-Burman)
Some Features of Languages in Hotspot include:
- retroflex consonants
- numeral classifier systems
- echo words
Kungkungdeduuboobmar means 'a man with a clean-shaven head' in Sora (288,000 speakers). It is made up of the words kung (shave; used twice to mean clean-shaven), deduu (remove hairs), boob (head), and mar (man).
Poopungkoontam means 'I will stab you in the belly with a knife' in Sora (288,000 speakers). It is made up of the words poo (stab), pung (belly), koon (knife), t (will), and am (you).
Emeneau, M. B. 1956. India as a Linguistic Area. Language. 32: 1, pp. 3-16.
Thomason, Sarah G. 2001. Language Contact: an Introduction. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.