World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Native to India and Bangladesh
Region Tripura, Assam, Mizoram, Bangladesh, Burma
Ethnicity Tripuri
Native speakers
970,000 (2001)[1]
Early forms
Early Tripuri
  • Kokborok
Koloma (obsolete), Bengali, Latin
Official status
Official language in
 India (Tripura)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
trp – Kokborok (Tripuri/Tipra)
ria – Riang
tpe – Tippera (Khagrachari)
usi – Usui
xtr – Early Tripuri
Linguist list
xtr Early Tripuri
Glottolog tipp1238[2]

The Borok language, Kók Borok (Kókborok) or Kak-Borak, also known as Tripuri, is any of the native languages of the Tripuri people of the Indian state of Tripura and neighboring areas of Bangladesh. The word Kók Borok is a compound of kók "language" and borok "people", which is used specifically for the Tripuri people. Kokborok is closely related to language of Dimasa Kacharies of Assam.


  • History 1
  • Classification and related languages 2
  • Kókborok sounds and phonetics 3
    • Vowels 3.1
    • Consonants 3.2
    • Diphthong 3.3
    • Syllables 3.4
    • Clusters 3.5
  • Tone 4
  • Morphology 5
  • Kókborok grammar 6
  • Counting and numbering 7
  • Dialects 8
  • Institutions and organisations 9
  • Literature 10
    • Present 10.1
  • Department of Kókborok, Tripura University 11
  • Statistics 12
  • Script 13
  • Language school 14
  • See also 15
  • References 16
  • External links 17


Kókborok has existed in its various forms since at least the 1st century AD, when the historical record of Tipra Kings began to be written down. The script of Kókborok was called "Koloma". The Chronicle of the Borok Kings were written in a book called the Rajratnakar, this book was originally written down in Kókborok using the Koloma script by Durlobendra Chontai.

Later, two Brahmins, Sukreswar and Vaneswar translated it into Sanskrit and then again translated the chronicle into Bengali in the 14th century. The chronicle of Tipra in Kókborok and Rajratnakar are no longer available. Kókborok was relegated to a common people's dialect during the rule of the Borok Kings in the Kingdom of Tipra, in contrast to Bengali language, from the period of the 14th century till the 20th century.

Kókborok was recognised as an official language of Tipra state in 1979. There currently is a debate over giving the language recognition as a National language of India. The official form is the Debbarma dialect, the language of the royal family.

Classification and related languages

Kokborok is a Sino-Tibetan language family of East Asia and South East Asia.

It is closely related to the Dimasa language of neighbouring of Assam. The Garo language is also a related language as spoken in neighboring Bangladesh and Meghalaya.

Kókborok is not a single language, but a collective name for the several languages and dialects spoken in Tripura. Ethnologue lists Usoi (Kau Brung), Riang (Polong-O), and Khagrachari ("Trippera") as separate languages; Mukchak (Barbakpur), though not listed, is also distinct, and the language of many Borok clans has not been investigated. The greatest variety is within Khagrachari, though speakers of different Khagrachari varieties can "often" understand each other. Khagrachari literature is being produced in the Naitong and Dendak varieties.[3] '

Kókborok sounds and phonetics

Debbarma Kókborok is a typical Sino-Tibetan language and consists of the following sounds:


  Front Back
Unrounded Rounded Rounded
High i y u
High-mid e    
Low-mid     w [ɔ]
Low a    

Original writers decided to use the letter w as a symbol for a vowel which does not exist in the English language.


  Labial Dental Apico-
Velar Glottal
Stops and
Aspirated t̪ʰ    
Voiceless p   t͡ʃ k  
Voiced b   d͡ʒ ɡ  
Fricatives Voiceless     s     h
Nasals m   n   ŋ  
Liquids     l, r      

N' is the pronunciation of the nasal sound; e.g., in' (yes).

Ng is a digraph and is generally used in the last syllable of a word; e.g., aming (cat), holong (stone).

Ua is often used initially; e.g., uak (pig), uah (bamboo), uatwi (rain).

Uo is often used finally; e.g., thuo (sleeping), buo (beat).


A diphthong is a group of 2 vowels. The wi diphthong is spoken as ui after sounds of the letters m and p. Two examples are: chumui (cloud) and thampui (mosquito). The ui diphthong is a variation of the wi diphthong. Other less frequently occurring diphthongs such as oi are called closing diphthongs. A closing diphthong refers to a syllable that does not end in a consonant.


A majority of words are formed by combining the root with an affix. Some examples are;

  • kuchuk is formed from the root chuk (to be high), with the prefix, ku.
  • phaidi (come) is formed from the root phai (to come), with the suffix di.

There are no Kókborok words beginning with ng. At the end of a syllable, any vowel except w can be found, along with a limited amount of consonants: p, k, m, n, ng, r and l. Y is found only in closing diphthongs like ai and wi.


"Clusters" are a group of consonants at the beginning of a syllable, like phl, ph + l, in phlat phlat (very fast), or sl in kungsluk kungsluk (foolish man). Clusters are quite impossible at the end of a syllable. There are some "false clusters" such as phran (to dry) which is actually phw-ran. These are very common in echo words : phlat phlat, phre phre, prai prai, prom prom, etc.


There are two tones in Kókborok, a high and a low tone. To mark the high tone, the letter h is attached to the vowel with the high tone.

example: low tone High tone

  1. lai-easy laih-crossed
  2. bor-senseless bohr-to plant
  3. cha-correct chah-to eat
  4. nukhung-family nukhuhng-roof


Morphologically Kókborok words can be divided into five categories. They are the following.

(a) Original words: thang-go; phai-come; borok-nation; borog-men kotor-big; kuchu-youngest; kwrwi-not;etc.

(b) Compound words, that is, words made of more than one original words: nai-see; thok-testy; naithok-beautiful; mwtai-god; nog-house; tongthar-temple; bwkha-heart; bwkhakotor-brave; etc.

(c) Words with suffixes: swrwng-learn; swrwngnai-learner; nugjak-seen; kaham-good; hamya- bad; etc.

(d) Naturalized loan words: gerogo-to roll; gwdna-neck; tebil- table; puitu-faith; etc.

(e) Loan words: kiching-friend; etc.

Kókborok grammar

There is a clear cut difference in Kókborok between nouns and verbs. All true verbs are made with a verbal root followed by a number of suffixes, these suffixes are not placed at random but according to definite rules.

Counting and numbering

Counting in Kókborok is called lekhamung. The basic numbers are:

1. sa
2. nwi
3. tham
4. brwi
5. ba
6. dok
7. sni
8. char
9. chuku
10. chi
20. nwichi(khol)
100. ra
101. sara sa
200. nwira
1000. sai
1001. sa sai
2000. nwi sai
10,000. chisai
20,000. nwichi sai
100,000. rasai
200,000. nwi rasai
1,000,000. chirasai
2,000,000. nwichi rasai
10,000,000. rwjak
20,000,000. nwi rwjak
1,000,000,000. rarwjak
1,000,000,000,000. Sai rarwjak
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. rasaisai rarwjak


There are many Kókborok-speaking tribes in the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Mizoram and the neighbouring provinces of the country Bangladesh mainly in Chittagong Hill Tracts. There are three main dialects which are not mutually intelligible, though the western dialect of the royal family, Debbarma, is a prestige dialect understood by everyone. It is the standard for teaching and literature. It is taught as the medium of instruction up to class fifth and as subject up to graduate level. The other dialects are Jamatia, Kalai and Noatia.

Institutions and organisations

Some Tripuri cultural organisations have been working fruitfully for the development of the language since the last century. Foremost among them are the:


First effort for giving the language in printed book form and creation of literature of language Radhamohan Thakur wrote the grammar of Kókborok named "Kókborokma" published in 1900 AD. He wrote two other books: "Tripur Kothamala" and "Tripur Bhasabidhan". Tripur Kothamala was the Kókborok-Bengali-English translation book published in 1906. The "Tripur Bhasabidhan" was published in 1907. Daulot Ahmed was a contemporary of Radhamohan Thakur and was a pioneer of writing Kókborok Grammar jointly with Mohammad Omar. The Amar jantra, Comilla published his Kókborok grammar book "KOKBOKMA" in 1897. On 27 December 1945 the "Tripura Janasiksha Samiti" came into being, and it established many schools in different areas of Tripura. The first Kókborok magazine "Kwtal Kothoma" was edited and published in 1954 by Sudhanya Deb Barma, who was a founder of the Samiti. "Hachuk Khurio" (In the lap of Hills) by Sudhanya Deb Barma is the first modern Kókborok novel. It was published by the Kókborok Sahitya Sabha and Sanskriti Samsad in 1987.

One major translation of the 20th century was the "Smai Kwtal", the New Testament of the Bible in Kókborok language, published in 1976 by the Bible Society of India. The "Smai Kwtal" benchmarked all other works in the coming years and was the first popular literature to have seen the day-to-day use among the Tripuri community.


The 21st century began for Kókborok literature with the monumental work, the Anglo-Kókborok-Bengali Dictionary compiled by Binoy Deb Barma and published in 2002 A.D. by the Kókborok tei Hukumu Mission. This is the 2nd edition of his previous ground breaking dictionary published in 1996 and is a trilingual dictionary. Twiprani Laihbuma (The Rajmala - History of Tripura) translated by R.K. Debbarma and published in 2002 by KOHM.

The present trend of development of the Kókborok literary works show that Kókborok literature is moving forward slowly but steadily with its vivacity and distinctive originality to touch the rich literature of the rich languages.

Department of Kókborok, Tripura University

The Department of Kokborok in Tripura University is responsible for the teaching of Kókborok language and literature.

It runs a one year PG Diploma and a 6 months Certificate course in Kókborok.


Tripura 854,023

  1. Kókborok 761,964
  2. Others 607

-Census of India 2001 language report[3]


Kók-borok had a script known as Left Front government advocating usage of Bengali script and the Twipra Christians and ethnonationalists advocating for the Roman script.

At present both the scripts are used in the state in education as well as in literary and cultural circles.

Language school

'Kókborok Tei Hukumu' Mission is a Tripuri cultural organization which has been established to promote the language and culture of the Tripuri people.

The mission was started by Naphurai Jamatia. It has its office in Krishnanagar in Agartala. It publishes many books in Kókborok, most notable of which is the Anglo-Kókborok Dictionary by Binoy Debbarma.

See also


  1. ^ Kokborok (Tripuri/Tipra) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Riang at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Tippera (Khagrachari) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Usui at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Early Tripuri at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Tipperic".  
  3. ^
  • Pushpa Pai (Karapurkar). 1976. Kókborok Grammar. (CIIL Grammar series ; 3). Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages. OCLC 5750101
  • François Jacquesson. 2003. Kókborok, a short analysis Paris. OCLC 284223242
  • Binoy Debbarma. 2002. Anglo-Kókborok-Bengali Dictionary. 2nd edition. Agartala: Kókborok Tei Hukumu Mission (KOHM).
  • Article in KOHM Anniversary magazine
  • KOHM

External links

  • Kokborok Sahitya Sabha (Borok Kokrwbai Bosong) website
  • Kokborok Tei Hukumu Mission (KOHM) website
  • Govt of Tripura Govt of Tripura website
  • Kókborok script issues
  • A website about Twipra (Tripura in Kókborok).
  • [4] Deccan Herald Article concerning the script issue.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.