Written  by A. Avtans

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In the North-Eastern part of India, there is the state of Meghalaya (in Sanskrit meaning the abode of clouds). Meghalaya is home to primarily three indigenous communities namely Khasi, Garo and Jayantia (Pnar) who are united by their mutual belief in matrilineal lineage i.e the women inherits all the family property . In 1972 Meghalaya state was formed by merging Garo Hills , Khasi Hills and Jayantia Hills. Shillong is the capital city of the Meghalaya state. Because of its famous rolling hills, it is often called as “Scotland of the East”. Since it was the capital of undivided Assam for long during British times, Shillong has developed into a popular hill station and a cosmopolitan city. Apart from being the seat of several governmental and educational institutions, Shillong has a bracing climate throughout the year.

Khasi is an Austro-Asiatic language of the Mon-Khmer branch and is spoken primarily in Meghalaya by the Khasi people. It is the lingua franca in Shillong and the surrounding areas of Khasi and Jayantia hills. According to 2001 Indian census, it is spoken by more than 1,128,575 speakers. It is also spoken in some parts of Bangladesh and neighboring districts of Assam state of India. There are mainly five varieties of Khasi language viz ‘Standard Khasi’ (which is based on a variety called Khynriem spoken in Cherapunji/Sohra area) ‘Langrin’, ‘Lyngngam’, ‘Bhoi’ and ‘Nongtung’.

Khasi is nowadays written in Latin script which was introduced by Welsh missionary Rev. Thomas Jones.  It is used in schools, markets, homes and as a medium of instruction/lecture in the universities. Higher education is also available in Khasi in North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong. Since the official language of the state is English and there is a growing tendency to learn and speak English in the state, Khasi is slowly loosing ground in the area of education.
Some of the survival phrases which might come handy for anyone visiting Shillong (The Rock Capital of India) or any other part of Meghalaya, is presented below. I have been helped in compiling these phrases by a friend Ms Ianosha Majaw who is a native Khasi speaker and lives now in Shillong. Thanks to all !

English Khasi Hindi
Hello kumno Namaskaar
How are you? Phi long kumno? Aap kaise hain?
I am fine Nga biang Main thiik hun
Thank you khublei  
What is your name? Kaei ka kyrteng jong ph Aapkaa naam kyaa hai?
My name is Mary Nga kyrteng ka Mary Mera naam Mary hai
My name is John Nga kyrteng U John Mera naam John  hai
What is …………? Haei ka/u ………..? Yah kyaa hai?
What is the price of this? Katno (ka dor jong une/kane) Iskaa daam kya hai?
I do not want it Ngam kwah kane Yah Mujhe nahi chahiye
I want this Nga kwah kane Yah Mujhe chahiye
Yes Hooid Haan
No em No
How much money will you take Katno pisa phin shim Aap kitne paise lenge?
Who is she/he? Uei / Kaei
Vah kaun hai?
I am from London Nga dei na London Main London se hun
I live in Police Bazar Nga sah ha Police Bazar Main Police bazaar mein rahta (m)/rahti (f) hun
What is there to eat Madam? Don aiu ban bam Kong? Khane mein kya hai madam?
See you tomorrow Sa lakynduh lashai Kal milte hain
I am leaving now Ngan leit noh shwa Ab main chaltaa (m)/chalti (f) hun
What is the time now? Katno baje mynta? Abhi samay kyaa ho raha hai?
Please Sngewbha Kripa kar ke
Sorry Sngewbha Maaf kijiye
How much is this? Katno kane? Yah Kitna hai?
Where shano Kahan
Where are you going? Shano phin leit? Aap kahan jaa rahe hain?
I am going to Cinema Ngan leit sha Cinema Main cinema jaa rahaa hun
When are you going? Lano phin leit? Aap kab jaa rahe hain?
Sir/ Mister Bah Sar/ ji
How are you Mr. Peter Kumno phi long Bah Peter? Aap kaise hain Peter ji
Miss/Madam Kong Madam/ ji
How are you Miss Mary? Kumno phi long Kong Mary? Aap kaisi hain Mary ji
Thanks a lot / bye Khublei shibun Bahut shukriya/ bye