Garo speakers are primarily found in Meghalaya particularly
in the west and the east Garo hills district. In the Brahmaputra
valley the Garos are found mainly in the adjoining areas
of the south Kamrup district and sporadically found in the
Dhubri, Goalpara and the Darrang districts also. The Garos
are divided into five different groups : Achik, Abeng or
Ambeng, Awe, Ruga and Atong (see Boro-Garo group in the
section on Assam). Achik is the standard dialect and has
a well developed written form. It may be mentioned here
that Ruga and Atong along with Rabha, Tintekia Koch and
Koch form a distinct sub group within the Boro Garo group
of languages. While Abeng or Ambeng, Achik and Awe comprise
According to Playfair, Tintekiya Koch and Rabha shared common
features with Atong and Ruga which are not shared by the
other Garo sub groups. The following examples prove such
However, a recent survey conducted for this study has come
across some more dialects as shown below:
· The Matchi dialect is spoken
in the central highlands on the upper reaches of the
· The Chibok dialect is spoken
in the upper Bhugi Valley.
· Another such dialect Dual is
spoken in the upper reaches of Simsang.
· Chisak occupies a contiguous
position from Matchi whereas Dual is much spoken in
· Gara Ganching is spoken in
the mid south eastern portion West of Atong.
All the dialects bear a strong resemblance to each other,
each showing dialect variations, with the Atong and Ruga
dialects presenting the greatest variation. As such the
Garos from other parts of Garo Hills can make themselves
understood except in the Atong and the Ruga speaking areas.
The Garo language has a rich varied vocabulary, but prior
to the advent of the American Baptist missionaries, no attempt
has been made to compile the Garo words. The richness of
the Garo language and vocabulary is manifested in the oral
and traditional literature of the Garos like , Katta Agana
(Epic Lore), Katta Sailing, (A type of folk-song) Doroa
(folk song) and Minggrapa (Lamentation during the wake).
It was only during the period of (1788-89) that John Eliot,
the commissioner of Dacca, attempted to compile the Garo
vocabulary for the first time.
It may be noted here that " this language makes little
use of the devices of internal change or suppletion. Reduplication
is utilized to a considerable extent, but the preponderant
grammatical device is affixation, particularly the use of
suffixes, which is carried to such an extent that the language
might almost be labeled as agglutinative,. (R.Burling