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 another group.
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 a claim.
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 Simsang river.
· The Chibok dialect is spoken in the upper Bhugi Valley.
· Another such dialect Dual is spoken in the upper reaches of
· Chisak occupies a contiguous position from Matchi whereas Dual
is much spoken in the South.
· Gara Ganching is spoken in the mid south eastern portion West
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,.