Written and compiled by A. Avtans
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Nagaland in the north eastern frontiers of India is a linguist’s paradise where not less than 23 different indigenous languages are spoken in full vigor. Though English is the official language in Nagaland, It is Nagamese (a pidgin/creole arising out of Assamese, Hindi, English and various Naga languages) which rules the roost across the state. Though the origin of Nagamese is unknown, it is evident from the accounts of Lt. Bigges (Tour Diary 1841) that this pidgin was in vogue before the British soldiers set their feet in the Naga Hills. The earliest record of Nagamese is found in Hutton (1921) with a few lexical items and phrases in the pidgin. Hutton (1921) says
‘the Assamese as spoken in the Naga Hills is peculiarly well adapted for the reproduction of Naga idioms as a vehicle of interpretation. It makes a better lingua franca for the Hills than Hindustani or English would, the substitution of which for Assamese has been occasionally suggested.’
Hutton is referring to Nagamese when he is writing of Assamese of Naga Hills. Similarly Haimendorf (Von Furer Haimendorf, The Naked Nagas, 1939, London) writes
‘Fortunately many people including children spoke fluently Nagamese, the lingua franca of entire Naga Hills’.
The spread of Nagamese according to Sreedhar (M.V. Shreedhar, 1985, Standardized Grammar of Naga Pidgin, Mysore) is due to several factors. He cites the construction of roads, penetration of Marwari traders in far flung areas, and various state and central agencies bringing Non-Nagas in Nagaland as the primary reason for the spread of Nagamese. It is absolutely clear that neither colonization nor subjugation was responsible for the birth of Nagamese.
Today Nagamese is used for diverse inter-lingual communication situations such as Schools, markets, hospitals, legislative assembly, and even in churches. Moreover the emergence of a unified Naga identity irrespective of tribal affiliations has led to situations where it has acquired the role of a mother tongue for the children born out of wedlock of people from two different communities. Nagamese is increasingly used in informal conversation though formal discourse is still done in English or any other indigenous language. Youth use it profusely among themselves on the streets of Kohima, Dimapur, Mokukchung and outside Nagaland etc.
Knowing a little of Nagamese in Nagaland comes handy when one decides to visit this beautiful state in the Far East. Nagamese is like a song you would like to sing time and again.
Here are some SURVIVAL PHRASES in Nagamese based on Dr. N. Khashito Aye’s book titled Nagamese: the Lingua Franca of Nagaland, 2007 (published by Christian Education Ministry, Sugar Mill, 5th Mile, Dimapur- 7977112, Nagaland).
SURVIVAL PHRASES in NAGAMESE
|Please come in||aahibi||आइए।|
|Please sit down||bohibi||बैठिए।|
|Where do you live?||aapuni kot thaake?||आप कहाँ रहते/रहती हैं?|
|My house is in Agra||mor laagaa ghar Agrate aase||मेरा घर आगरा में है।|
|What is your name?||aapuni laagaa naam ki aase?||आपका क्या नाम है?|
|My name is Prakash||mor laaga naam prakaash aase||मेरा नाम प्रकाश है।|
|How are you?||kenekaa aase?||आप कैसे हैं?|
|I am alright||Bhaal hi aase||मैं ठीक हूँ।|
|Are you alright||Aapuni bhaal aase?||क्या आप ठीक हैं?|
|What happened?||ki hoise?||क्या हुआ?|
|What is the price of this?||itu kiman dam ase?||इसका दाम क्या है?|
|lower down the price||olop kom koribi||कुछ कम कीजिए।|
|That will do||Hoise||हाँ यह ठीक है।|
|I don’t want||amaake naalaage||मुझे नहीं चाहिए।|
|At what time you will come?||aapuni kimaan baajite aahibo?||आप कितने बजे आएंगे।|
|I will come tomorrow at 8 o’clock||aami kaali aat bajite aahibo||मैं कल आठ बजे आऊँगा।|
|Please drive the car||gaari chalaabi||गाड़ी चलाइए।|
|Drive slowly||aaste chalaabi||धीरे चलाइए।|
|To the left||left phaale||बाईं ओर।|
|To the right||right phaale||दाईं ओर।|
|This way||itu phaale||इस तरफ।|
|That way||hitu phaale||उस तरफ।|
|Which way?||kun phaale?||किस तरफ?|
|Go straight||sida jabi||सीधा जाइए।|
|Do you like it?||aapuni itu bhal laage?||क्या यह आपको पसंद है?|
|Where are you going?||aapuni kot jabo?||आप कहाँ जा रहे/रही हैं?|
|I am going to market||moi market jai aase||मैं बाज़ार जा रहा हूँ।|
|Where has he gone?||taar kot jaise?||वह कहाँ गए/गई हैं?|
|I will come tomorrow||aami kali aahibo||मैं कल आऊँगा।|
|Vitsaho and kitoka have come||vitshao aaru kitoka aahise||वित्साहो और कितोका आए हैं।|
Survival Nagamese Glossary
|Nagamese||English gloss||Hindi Gloss|
|adowaa / adruk||ginger||अदरक|
|ami / moi||I||मैं|
|anibo||will bring||लाऊँगा / लाएगा|
|baastenga||bamboo shoot||बाँस की कोपलें|
|bera||wall / fence||दीवार|
|bohibo||will sit||बैठूँगा / बैठेगा|
|bon koribo||will cover / close||बंद करूँगा / करेगा|
|bonabo||will make||बनाउँगा / बनाएगा|
|bosti||village||गाँव / बस्ती|
|chaapattaa||tea leaves||चाय पत्ती|
|chamraa||skin / leather||चमड़ा|
|chatni||mashed/grounded vegetable or fish||भर्ता / चोखा|
|dhalibo||will pour||डालूँगा / डालेगा|
|dhoribo||will hold / catch||पकड़ूँगा / पकड़ेगा|
|dud||breast / milk||स्तन / दूध|
|gaao buraa||village headman||मुखिया|
|gaudhabo||will bath||नहाऊँगा / नहाएगा|
|ghumabo||will sleep||सो जाउंगा / सो जाएगा|
|hosa||true||सही / सत्य|
|jonabo||will inform||सूचना देगा|
|khabo||will eat / drink||खाएगा|
|khong koribo||will be angry||गुस्सा होगा|
|kumraa||pumpkin||सीताफल / कुम्हरा|
|laipata||a kind of leafy vegetable||एक पत्तेदार सब्ज़ी|
|lora||boy / son||लड़का|
|lori||girl / daughter||लड़की|
|maaki||female / wife||औरत / पत्नि|
|maati||land / field||भूमि|
|mekhala||skirt worn by women||औरतों द्वारा पहना जाना वाला एक वस्त्र|
|morom koribo||will love||प्रेम करेगा|
|mota||male / husband||आदमी / पति|
|paribo||can do||कर सकेगा|
|shim||beans||सेम / फली|
|taka||money / rupee||रुपया|
|thai||place||स्थान / जगह|
And I end this piece with a Nagamese Love song by Kevilinuo Vizo:
Moi laagaa darling
Moi laagaa darling bishi sunder,
Tai laagaa bosti moi najaane,
Beraai beraai kenaa thing bekhaaise
Biyanpabi salam di aase
Ek din noholie, dui din noholie
Love kuribo etu time te koi dibo de,
Eki logote rastaa rastaa beraabo,
Itu din rukhi aase darling.
Post photo courtesy: http://miyzone.blogspot.com/2007/08/different-houses-nagaland-heritage.html
अभिषेक जी, नागालैंड की भाषा के बारे में जानकर अच्छा लगा. थोड़ा बंगाली उच्चारण नजर आता है?
धन्यवाद रवि जी। शायद इस भाषा पर असमिया के माध्यम से बांग्ला का प्रभाव हो.
Great !!!!!! your Nagamise is much better than m…….. Keep it up Abhishek !!!!!!
i am interested in learning nagamese… may u please help me with some of the useful links.
Please tell me how to tell these words in naga language. please help me.
1. You have a beautiful smile.
2. You have the most beautiful smile in have ever seen.
3. You have the most beautiful smile in this world.
4. Dont worry. you will do well.
5. Dont worry you will pass exams.
6. I pray for you.
7. I will miss you
Thanks for deleting my comment. Actually there are NO forums where I could post my translations in naga language.
Some simple words are missing from your list.
see you again
you are welcome
also if you give your email address, i have a few more which you can email me. Just help out a brother in need.
For visiting my blog
I am sorry I cannot help you much in this regard.
I will suggest you to learn more Nagamese from the book I have mentioned here-
Dr. N. Khashito Aye’s book titled Nagamese: the Lingua Franca of Nagaland, 2007 (published by Christian Education Ministry, Sugar Mill, 5th Mile, Dimapur- 7977112, Nagaland
You can buy this book by writing a letter to him.
Also take a look at
For this you need to sign up here
All the best !
It’s good. But I want more to learn Nagamese. Could u suggest me where i can learn more, means website. And I also want to listen Nagamese songs as well.
Want some nagamese learning process
could u please tell me how to say thank you in nagamese.
@Syam and Khamtau
You can write to Dr. N. Khashito Aye for the book
Also you can download a linguistic grammar from here
You say it ‘Thanks de’ in Nagamese…seems to be an English borrowing.
could you please help me how to say in nagamese Imiss you very much
I am beginner and i want to know where can I get the necessary guide book for nagamese.
@Joanathan….read the comments above and you will find the answers.
You can say ‘bisi miss kuri aase’……for “I miss you very much!”
In nagamese they use to say jabolah,koribolah,etcwhich ends in lah could you please tell me in what tense or expression do they use these sentenses.
Wonder why none of the nagas didnt comment???
anyhow i learnt a few words of nagamese,and abhishek can i learn nagamese by learning assamese???
Thanks for visiting.
Yes learning Assamese can help you lots…but not all. Nagamese has its own flavors
All the best
@Jonathan, Jabowolah (u spelt it wrong) means “might go” and Koribowolah means “might do”.. so its basically future tense.. An example: Apuni b jabowolah? translated in english will be “U might go too?” or “Are you going too?”
Hi, i did a lot of researches before finding your blog which helped a lot to learn few Nagamese words. Thank you very much Abhishek for your great support. I’m french and just got back from Nagaland after wonderful and memorable weeks of discovery. Still want to learn more about languages …. i’ll follow your advice for that. Best continuation, i’ll visit again soon
Best wishes 🙂
hey man add few more details n da ones given above…
hey avishek cn u tl me how to say….. we Missed u alot in nagamese… Pls help bro lol
I have as much knowledge of Nagamese as you have!
The better person to ask would be a person belonging to Nagaland
Whatever I have written here is from asking Native Nagamese Speakers or from Books
I understand your need but I am unable to Help
Moe lagaa lang. to spread korise….apuni manu bhali aase! Wid regards….gan aeng ao
Thanks Gan for kind words!
naga chukri sobse besi sundar ase…………
Wow! It’s amazing. It is quite helpful for me. You’ve done a great job. May God bless you!
Naga Chuki sobse besi bhal ase..:-)
Thanks for visiting the blog and for your encouraging words. May God bless you too David!
great work!! need your help in few words ……….
2:- please come
3:- land of beauty and devotion
fortunate to visit a linguist’s blog.Would like to read interesting things from you in future also.
could u tell me the meaning of sukha and axonne
HEY ABHISHEK THANK U SO MUCH…NOW I CAN LEARN NAGAMESE AND TALK NICELY WITH MY GF…..THANKS ONCE AGAIN…..YPU ROCK…
Axone is a fermented Soy dish mostly used by Sema people but also used by many in Nagaland as a seasoning to Pork curry..:-)
Sukha…means ‘dry’ and it can also refer to dry tobacco..
Your kind words make this work worth doing. Thank you!
Nagamese is a developing language. So one cannot expect phrases like ” land of beauty and devotion” to exist in it.
Please come would be ” ahibi”
Welcome will be “welkom”
@ Thank you Veera
wat bout sukhamas??
Sukhamas is “dry fish”
Dry Meat is ” Sukha Mongso”
Abhishek sukhmas is not dry meat it is DRY fish
Missed You alot would be something Like
Tumike ekdom miss korise de….
My words “Nagaland Tumi ke ekdom miss kuri ase de, tumi laga bisi remember kuri ase moi” India laga sobse bhal jaga to nagaland ase
@ Keshob…thanks for the correction..I realized it few days back but was lazy to update..
Soon I will be coming up with many useful phrases..
Thanks again for visiting and commenting
I was born and bought up in Dimapur Nagaland.
I grew up learning
Nagamese: The lingua Franca,
Nepali: The Mother Tongue,
English; the medium of instruction,
Hindi: the language spoken in Doordarshan. DD1 and DD2.
So all this languages are Dear to me.
Nagaland ekdum bhal jaga ase, tate thaka manu khan bhi bhal ase de, ami ke ekdum morom kore.
Abhishek ke ekdum dhonyobad dibo. Apuni nagaland language ke spread kuribole modod kuriase. bisi bhal kaam kuri ase de.
Keep it up
Thank you de
hey hw dya say im sorry in nagamese????
Need urgent Nagamese translation for a script :
1. A new Dawn of Prosperity
2. Ushering in Food Security
A Maiden Century of Production of Rice
An All Time High Production
5. Phenomenal rise in production
in last three years
Based on 3rd Advance Estimate
6.The Nation Salutes its Farmers
You can reply in points given, your help is much appreciated!
“buri manu” means ? please help me..
Thankyou for your great help!!
Im going to get married with a nagamese guy
and these phrases will help me a lot.
But still i want to learn more before my marriage.
Can somebody tel me the meaning of “oi buri dekhan cho bhane ko khoi”
Hi! I do not understand any Indian language. I was hoping you could help me decipher a text my friend sent me in his native tongue some months ago. He wouldn’t translate it for me, & all I ever found on my own was ‘apooni’, which means ‘you’. Much later, I learned that the text is in Nagamese, but by then, I was already too exhausted to search for what it meant.
I’m still regularly in touch with him, but we never talked about it again. I figured it might just have been a gibberish prank intended to keep me curious. But for some reason, I remembered it today, & came across this site. I found some words through it as possible translations, although the spelling slightly varied.
“aji apooni beishi kooshi paishe tee
to kinika apooni ki kuobo na”
I would really appreciate it if you could enlighten me on what he was trying to tell me (but which, at the same time, he didn’t want me to comprehend).
Thank you very much!
Thanks for visiting!
I guess that text means
‘Today you have got a lot of happiness, but wont you talk/tell about it?
Thanks for visiting and welcome if it helps you!
Wow! I guess my friend was just really playing with my mind. He gave me the impression that it was a “super secret plan” back then. But since he’s grown to become my most trusted friend & confidant, that plan must haveworked after all. Hahahaha.
Thanks again, Abhishek!
Thanks for the post,it is good enough…………………………
i love to learn nagamese for my friends pls help me out i didnt understand what they r speaking
Visit Nagaland Srinivasan ! You will learn quickly !
Really surprised to find it, but well it is interesting! Glad to know someone is helping out! Bhal laki se!
Thanks ! Welcome again !
how do you say hello innagamese?????
Handy while in Nagaland.
Abhi, How to say thank you in Naga
Thank you in Nagamese is ‘thank you de’
@ Thanks Hem !
What you transalted above is Assamese and not Nagamese
Why not say it is Bengali? Ultimately Assamese is claimed by Benaglis as Bangla.
By the way, it is not translated by me, but rather collected by me through various Naga sources.
i am interested to learn nagamese plz
help me out
Moi Medziphema te bohi se, naga manu laga culture besi bhalo ase………
good post 4 mee….
guys can you tell me how to say
i’m fall in love with you
please help me in saying this – “welcome to nagaland, Wish u all a Happy Independance Day”
i wanna learn konyak language of naga tribe plz teach me
I have pronunciation problem, but its greatn awesome….
Helo..Abhishek, keep up the good work!…We Nagamese speakers salutes you.
”Bishi khushi pai shea dea”
Hi, can you please translate this phrase? Mon di kina lehki she kwa. Thanks for your help
I think these are Assamese phrases,
I speak three dialects of Bengali. Bengali is the root language, Assamese, Tripuri, and Nagamese usually use the same Bengali roots.
Most of the phrases-dangor, dolong, itu, hitu, keneka, are exactly Assamese. If you can read an Assamese news paper, you can cross check.
Notwithstanding, hats off to you. Learning NE languages need lot of skill, and you have gone far and beyond, Kudos
Very good job….
I was just curious to know how do our naga cousins talk in nagamese. Thank you. Please add some more sich phrases.
Hey,Somone help me.My crush say to me”Tui ki kuri ase?What does it mean?
Tui ki kuri ase means what are you doing?
This is very interesting , I love to learn nagamese. Thank you.
THANKS FOR THIS BECAUSE THESE THINGS MAKES STUDENTS MATURE
After knowing bengali its easy to talk Assamese manipuri and naga ..same flow
Hi please mujhe aap hello ko nagamese language mein bata dijiye please
How do u say hello in nagamese
Hello is just „Hello“ in Nagamese, sometimes if you know the person that comes to visit you …. it will be „Ahise?“ (lit.: Came?) as a greeting