Sikder Monoare Murshed

Dept. of Linguistics, University of Dhaka




Khasi language of Bangladesh: only representative of Austro-Asiatic family


More than 45 indigenous communities leaved in Bangladesh with thirty deferent languages. Linguistically Khasi is only representative from Mon-Khmer of Austro-Asiatic language family but anthropologically they are Mongoloid. Mainly they leave in Sylhet District of north-eastern part of Bangladesh. According to the 1991 census their population was 12300, but the Khashi community thinks their population is around 30,000. The Khasis also live in Meghalaya state of India. There are many stories and legends about origin of the Khasi community. The Khasiyas appear to be an isolated group, speaking a monosyllabic language which cannot be classed with any other of the same family. According to Mawrie (2001) ‘The Khasis have their home of origin somewhere in western china which was the migrating ground of many other tribes who spread to Indo-china, Cambodia and Myanmar’. The Burmese known Khasi’s as Ka-se or Ka-the. They have also other name like- cussay, khyee , khasas , khasiys etc. According to Hamlet Bareh (1977) 'Khasis is an off-shoot of the Mon-Khmer language, a group of Austro-Asiatic family is Malayo-Polynesian. Khasi forms an isolated Austric island in the midst of the neighboring speeches such as Bengali, Assamese, Biete and Vaiphei, Garo, Diamasa and Lalun and has retained its identity since ages past'. They do not have their own scripts but they adapted roman scripts. The Khasi language divided into many dialects and now-a-days this language community not only surrounded by the IA and TB families, but also influenced and changed day by day. This paper is made on this very ground.


Bareh, Hamlet. 1977. The Languages and Literatures of Meghalaya. Simla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study.

Mawrie, B.L., The Khasis and their Natural Environment: A Study of the Eco-consciousness and Eco-spirituality of the Khasis. Vendrame Institute Publications, Shillong.