Thursday, April 30, 2009

Confusing Words - 1(edited)

(This post has been rewritten to incorporate the scheme of spellings employed by Habung Donyi in his dictionary which are enclosed under parenthesis in red letters e.g, [abi].)

There are some groups of words in Apatani which sound quite distinct while speaking but we tend to write them with same spellings thus causing confusion while reading and writing. However, Habung Donyi has done some work on it while compiling his dictionary, the Apatani Dictionary: let’s write in Apatani. Inspite of the good effort, lot need to be done to make the the group of letters that represent the tone or sound of a syllable to be consistent. Such as, a sound of a syllable containing aspiration (sound of h) in between a consonant and a vowel (as in abhi) and in the end of a word (as in abih, opah etc); sound of double vowel such as ee, ie, oo etc., in a syllable have to be worked out.

Some of them are given below with hint on phonetics (based on my understanding) [(simplified form) capital letter(s) for stressed syllable e.g., /A-bi/ ]:

  • abi:

/A-bi/ come on behalf of other; [abi]

/ab-bi/ movement [?]

/ab-bhi/ sufficient, complete [abee]

/ab-bih/ to make to something to swing [abih]

/a-bhi/ pant, skirt; [abhi]

/A-bie/ preferable to come (to a place, through a route etc) [bie as in barbie doll]; [abie]

** Look at above word ‘abi’, we tend to write word ‘abi’ which means (1) to come on behalf of other; (2) movement; (3) sufficient, complete; (4) to make to something to swing; (5) pant, skirt; (6) preferable to come (to a place, through a route etc)

Can we write the word ‘abi’, respectively, as shown by H. Donyi in his dictionary to avoid confusion while reading and writing? (may be we can discuss to make them more consistent for different words having similar sound unit as in aba (come tpgether), diiba (eat together), inba (go together) etc.)

Let’s look at some more similar words:

  • aba:

/a-ba/ father [abba]

/A-ba/ come together [aba]

/AB-ha/ put load on something, put something in addition to something that already exist [aba]

  • ami:

/a-MI/ cat [ami]

/am-mi/ tail [amie]

/a-MIE/ eye [amee]

  • aku

/a-ku/ uncle (maternal) [akoo]

/A-ku/ come (past pp) [aku]

/A-kuh/ come from/through wrong direction [akku]

  • alyi

/a-lyi/ (1) air, wind [allyi]

(2) arrow [allyih]

/A-lyi/ coming (here from some where (now)) [alyi]

/a-LYIE/ pig [alyee]

  • miido

/MII-do/ doing [miido]

/mii-DO/ rain [miidoh]

  • miine

/MII-ne/ did [miine]

/mii-neh/ (1) touch, (2) hurt [miinne]

  • kapyo

/KA-pyo/ good to look [kapyo]

/KA-pyoh/ see/look first [?]

/kap-yoh/ first [kappyo*]

*in anglo apatani dictionary HD corrected ‘kapyoh’ into ‘kappyo’

Disclaimer: The content in this post and other posts in my blog space are purely based on my observation and understanding of the Tanii language, difference in views from other authors and their works that one may come across in this post and in the other posts of the blog shall by no means be misconstrued as an act of discredit to any author and their works. Besides, I employ common-place Apatani for spelling things in the blog so readers discretion are sought. Readers are encouraged to follow spelling patterns used in Apatani Dictionary by Habung Donyi.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lyrics of Popular Apatani Song-2

Ngunu Lemba Ngiimi Oho Biiko

Ngunu lemba ngiimi oho biiko

ano aya ne ano kapyo ne

Yolyan liipa ho kibo piniin hii

paro-liigo ho ropo khoniin hii

aro konchi ho piita adu niin

alyin kamo ho hime kheniin

piilo hutho ho nyimun yapa ka

gangun beniin hii elu beniin hii

ano tapyo ne ano tapyo ne

Lapang-babo, siigang-siilyi,

dibii-rungo hii gantii-yaso

ali-paho, sadi-sapa hii,

lutii-giira hii sulu-narung

senyi apu hii pudu apu hii

piita apu hii takung apu hii

sembo apu hii bagang rinyo hii

ano kapyo ne, ano kapyo ne

Myoko kazi, murung chanta

dree taku mi lema apin

halyin tasin entii apin mi

diiran sankha mi bachin arhi

sembo armin mi jojuru mi

chido henmun do, chido henmun do

Ngunu lemba ngiimi oho biiko

ano aya ne ano kapyo ne

Siilo kuko da ngo

leyu-siigya mi, si-sukung mi,

ude dokor mi nesu dokor mi

bije hagya mi moreh dalihn mi

anu-barmii mi ate-ata mi

ahi-nyatu mi diinii-barnii

biiniin-nyanii mi baro-manyan mi

kachin keku ma, kachin keku ma

Ngunu lemba ngiimi oho biiko

ano aya ne ano kapyo ne

Singer: Hage Tade

Lyricist: Tage Diibo

Note: This post is a transcript of a recorded song: any inadvertent error is regretted. Also the lyrics of this song is being transcripted from recorded song for the purpose of language study and the owner of this blog is not the copyright owner of this lyrics.


This song is an ode to an Apatani village. The poet depicts every facets of village life and its surroundings.


  1. Compound words:

Some common compound words are used in this song with good effect- let’s try to work out their meaning. (Some of them which I am not sure are being left without meaning)

· Yolyan liipa :- midnight

· paro-liigo :- time when rooster crow

· aro konchi :- early morning

· piilo hutho :- moonlit night

· nyimun-yapa :- young people

· Lapang-babo :- general term for traditional symbols of


· siigang-siilyi :- ?

· dibii-rungo :- ?

· gantii-yaso :- ?

· ali-paho :- ?

· sadi-sapa :- forest (in general)

· lutii-giira :- grazing ground of mithuns or cows

· sulu-narung :- fences (in general)

· leyu-siigya :- ?

· si-sukung :- ‘si’ a place of spring water where mithun drink water; ‘sukung’ well of potable water. Thus, ‘si-sukung’ means source of drinking water

· moreh dalihn :- narrow strip of land across forest area where owner of the forest lay their traps to catch birds or animals

· anu-barmii :- younger sibblings or younger lots in a community

· ate-ata :- elders

· ahi-nyatu :- ?

· diinii-barnii :- all the wives of an extended family or a clan are known to be 'diinii-barnii'

· biiniin-nyanii :- ‘biiniin’ traditional friend; ‘nyanii’ maternal uncle side of grandparents

· baro-manyan :- friends from other community inheritedfrom parents or grand parents; friends from other community

  1. Try to find English name for following flowers:

senyi apu, pudu apu, piita apu, takung apu, sembo apu and bagang rinyo

  1. Try to find English name for following fruits:

diiran sankha, bachin arhi, sembo arhi and jojuru

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lyrics of Popular Apatani Song -1

Dopii Doka Ajin
Dopii doka ajin ha
miige tatu ajin ha
ema koter mapa taku ma
manyan macho dola
wui hoter inpa taku ma
aha khiikhii dola
Dopii doka ajin ha
Ngiika apin diigo ho bui giiha bida niin
o tula ho hiiri liiha bida niin
tami une ho mihn diiha bida niin
hurli une ho tarne giiha bida niin
Dopii doka ajin ha
Niimi bilo ngiika riiyi-kiira pa hento
siilo pako da sarie-tamyo kumi no
ngiika sango lenda ka daru-yasi kumi no
hago lenda ka dorii-yamu kumi no
murtu-paku ho kuban nantii kubyo mi
sa-dango ho chilo nantii kubyo mi
Dopii doka ajin ha
Niimi siilo pako da karie-siimi pa hendo ku
niimi koda ngo durie-yalang pa hendo ku
myodi liipa ka diidii-tayin pa hendo ku
yasi liipa ka tandii-yasi pa hendo ku
Dopii doka ajin ha
miige tatu ajin ha
ema koter mapa taku ma
manyan macho dola
wui hoter inpa taku ma
aha khiikhii dola
Dopii doka ajin ha
Singer: Gyati Anda
Lyricist: ?
(readers may kindly inform me the name of the lyricist)
Note: This post is a transcript of a recorded song: any inadvertent error is regretted. Also the lyrics of this song is being transcripted from recorded song for the purpose of language study and the owner of this blog is not the copyright owner of this lyrics.
This song describe an unfaithful friend. Various metaphors are being used for the purpose of description. Dictionary meaning of metaphor is ‘A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison’. Some of the metaphors in the song are- dopii doka ajin, apin diigo hoka bui guha biniin, riiyi-kiira, daru-yasi, murtu-paku ho kuban niin, myodi liipa ka diidii-taying etc. Do you know their meaning? Can you find some more metaphors in the song? Some of these metaphors are derived from folklore, some from social practice in Apatani society and some from physical world. I just have brief idea about some of the metaphors. Let’s find out: do feel free to comment and join in discussion to elucidate their meanings.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Auxiliaries in Apatani (?)

It is not clear if there is auxiliary verbs similar to that in English in Apatani. However, some words and marker elements are suggestive of doing function as auxiliary verbs. If at all they are actually auxiliary verbs, there may not be direct correlation with the one found in English as Apatani and English belong to two completely different language families.

I. da, do, du, dane, done, dune, ma, mane, nyima, nyima ne, etc. act similar to ‘be’ auxiliaries in English. In Apatani they also indicate position, posture, existence or state of the subject in question. For example-

da [is (stand)] Tapu insi da. [lit. Tapu there is (standing position).]

Tapu is (standing) there.

dane [was (stand)] Tapu inso ho dane. [lit. Tapu there was (standing position).]

Tapu was (standing) there.

du [is (sit)] Tapu insi du. [lit. Tapu there is (sitting position).]

Tapu is (sitting) there.

dune [was (sit)] Tapu inso ho dune. [lit. Tapu there was (sitting position).]

Tapu was (sitting) there.

do [is/are (lie/exist)] Bazar ho haman do. [lit. In the market vegetable is/are (exist)]

There are vegetables in the market.

done [was (lie/exist)] Bazar ho haman done. [lit. In the market vegetables was/were (exist)]

There were vegetables in the market.

ma [(is) no] Mo Tapu ma. [lit. He Tapu (is) no] He is not Tapu.

mane [(was) no] Ngiika aki kapa niin hii pulu mane. [lit. By me the dog seen white (was) no.] The dog seen by me was not white.

nyima [(is) not (exist)] School ho miyu kone heter nyima. [lit. In the school man one even (is) not (exist.)] There is no one in the school.

nyima ne [(was) not (exist)] School ho miyu kone heter nyima ne. [lit. In the school man one even (was) not exist.] There was no one in the school.

In following conditions ‘be’ auxiliaries are hidden or no ‘be’ auxiliaries are used:

· when subject is personal pronoun

eg, 1. Ngo student. [I student.] I am an student.

2. Ngo Tanii atu. [I Tanii child] I am a Tanii. OR I am an Apatani.

3. Ngunu arda Itanagar to’pa miidu. [We tomorrow Itanagar about to go (down) doing.] We are going to Itanagar tomorrow.

· while making comparison

eg, 1. No mo mi kaye yado. [You to him/her tall (is/are) more(degree)] You are taller than him/her.

2. Apa miilan rumi kaye jado. [Apa all of them tall (is/are) most(degree) ] Apa is tallest among them.

· in interrogative sentences

eg, 1. Lampung whu? [Lampung who?] Who is Lampung?

2. Si nii? [It what?] What is it?

3. No niimpa khe’du? [You why crying?] Why are you crying?

4. Si whu? [He/She who?] Who is he/she?

· in a sentence using present particples

eg, 1. Ngo yasan pa’du. [I firewood cutting.] I am cutting firewood.

2. Tallo lembo si in’do. [Tallo on road walking.] Tallo is walking on road.

II. sii, sii-do, sii-ne, sii-ma, sii-to, etc. act similar to ‘do’ auxiliary in English, e.g,

· Opo ngiinyi a’ba sii. [Opo two of us do come together.] Opo and I do come together.

· Tamo, Tatung nyi in’ba siine. [Tamo, Tatung two (of them) go together did.] Tamo and Tatung did go together. {compare: Tamo and Tatung went together.}

· Niinyi du’ba siito [two of you do sit together.] Both of you do sit together. OR Both of you sit together.

III. mii-do, mii-to, mii-ne, mii-du, mii-ma etc., appear like ‘do’ auxiliary but act similar to ‘be’ auxiliaries as above, e.g,

· Mo school in’pa miido. [He/She school about to go.] He is about to go to school

· Ngo school in’pa miidu. [I school about to go (do)] I am about to go to school.

· Ruja alyi ho ngo apin dii’pa miito. [Ruja when came I about to eat meal (did)] When Ruja came I was about to take meal.


IV. bii, bii-do, bii-lyi, bii-ne, sii-lyi, sii-pa, etc act similar to ‘has/have’ auxilliary in English, e.g,

· Ngo apin diibii-lyi. [I meal have eaten] I have taken (eaten) meal.

· Tara apin diija bii-do. [Tara meal/rice has finished(by eating)]] Tara has finished meal/rice.

· Mo ngiimi kii’bii-ne. [He/She me has punched.] He/She has punched me.

· Ngunu a’ba siilyi. [we come together have] We have come together.

V. kin-do, kendo, talyi, -chi, nen-ne-do, nen-kin-do, nen-kin-ma, nend-ma etc., seem to act similar to ‘shall/will/should/would’ auxiliaries e.g,

· Ngo lemba cha’chi. [I villge will go (up)] I will go (up) to village.

· Tamo agin ho Obing a’bo kendo. [with Tamo, Obing come along will] Obing will come along with Tamo.

· Ngo imi talyi. [I sleep will.] I will sleep.

· Kago mi yasan ta’ke nenne-do. [To Kago firewood entrust (asked) to split would.] Kago would be entrusted (asked) to split firewood. {ta’ke nen ‘allow or entrust to cut/split’ a’ke nen ‘allow to come’}

· Omo mi so a’ke nendma. [To Omo here allowed or asked to come wont.] Omo would not be allowed to come.