Phukan Chandra Basumatary

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LINGUISTIC PROPERTY IN CONNECTION WITH ETHNO-PLANTS USED IN THE BORO SOCIETY: A SURVEY FROM LINGUISTIC VIEW POINT

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Hosted by: LINGUISTIC PROPERTY IN CONNECTION WITH ETHNO-PLANTS USED IN THE BORO SOCIETY: A SURVEY FROM LINGUISTIC VIEW POINT Phukan Ch. Basumatary Gauhati University, Assam, India

Linguistic property in connection with Ethno-plants used in the Boro Society: A Survey from Linguistic View point Presented by PHUKAN CH. BASUMATARY:

Linguistic property in connection with Ethno-plants used in the Boro Society: A Survey from Linguistic View point Presented by PHUKAN CH. BASUMATARY 2

FIELD WORK AT VILLAGE MARKET:

FIELD WORK AT VILLAGE MARKET 3

AIMS OF DISCUSSION:

AIMS OF DISCUSSION The discussion does not relate purely to the ethno-botanical research; but aims at discussing native names of ethno-plants from linguistic and cultural view point in case of Boro language. Try to discuss about significance of documentation and collection of ethno-plants and its native names as used in the Boro society. How local names of the traditionally used ethno-plants support in preserving linguistic and cultural property is the principal aim of the discussion. 4

STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS:

STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS From a survey it is observed that ethno-plant species used in this society have close relationship in terms of linguistic and cultural properties. Use of ethno-plant species support in preservation of native vocabulary and validating culture in the society. Lost of ethno-plant species lost of lexis and lost of culture. Between Culture and Bio-diversity have close relationship. 5

LOCATION OF SURVEY :

LOCATION OF SURVEY Experimental survey has been done to collect native names of ethno-plant species as used in this society. So village and village market places are chosen as the location of survey. Wetland, jungle and the cultivated land are selected for collecting the plants as traditionally used by the Boro people. The primary location of research is confined within the state of Assam under the nation of India. Particularly field survey has been done in the areas where Boro people are found concentration densely. 6

METHODS OF SPECIMEN COLLECTION:

METHODS OF SPECIMEN COLLECTION To look into the insight of the research problem primary field survey has been done at the locations as mentioned above. Names of various plant-species as traditionally used by the Boros are collected from primary and secondary sources. Being a native people of this community the author has primary knowledge about uses of traditional ethno-plants. Traditional plant species are collected from village areas where Boro people are living within agriculture context. Most of the edible plant names are collected with the help of informants. Traditional ethno-plant species are collected and documented with the help of digital photography. 7

COLLECTED TRADITIONAL PLANTS AND ITS IDENTITY:

COLLECTED TRADITIONAL PLANTS AND ITS IDENTITY Near about 30 variety of plants and their names are collected and classified based on their uses as food. Traditional ethno-plants are basically edible as vegetable and some of them are used in medicinal purposes. There are few traditional plants which are closely associated with ritualistic ceremony as well as performances as cultural property in various context. 8

TRADITIONAL PLANT NAMES AND FEATURES:

TRADITIONAL PLANT NAMES AND FEATURES Traditional plant names that used among the Boros have special feature in case of linguistic and cultural context. Let’s look at the pictures and their names which relates to the linguistic and cultural feature. 9

FLOWER USED AS VEGETABLE:

FLOWER USED AS VEGETABLE A bunch of flower of the plant / k h arok h andai /; generally collected from jungle. Taste is bitter. Basically used as ethnic food among the Boros and other Tribal people From linguistic view point the name of the plant is a component of vocabulary. KHAROKHANDAI BIBAR 10

FRUIT USED AS VEGETABLE:

FRUIT USED AS VEGETABLE KHAILA, Fruit of a kind of creeper GWMRI , Fruit of a kind of creeper 11

EDIBLE PLANT NAMES AND FEATURES:

EDIBLE PLANT NAMES AND FEATURES JWGLAURI The plant is traditionally known as JWGLAURI used as vegetable. It has two different variety. One is cultivated. So this is called NONI JWGLAURI ( Jwglauri of Homestead) and the other species is collected from jungle; known as HAGRANI JWGLAURI ( Jwglauri of Jungle). Both the names are closely related to linguistic aspect of Boro vocabulary being a native plant name. 12

JWGLAURI OF JUNGLE:

JWGLAURI OF JUNGLE A variety of JWGLAURI; mostly similar to cultivated species. Generally collected from jungle. So this is called HAGRANI JWGLAURI ( Jwglauri of Jungle). 13

KHORAISITHA:

KHORAISITHA A kind of leafy vegetable having taste of bitter. This is a cultivated plant specially used among the Boros. 14

MWITHA -1:

MWITHA -1 The plant is used as leafy vegetable. It has four different variety of names given based on different taste. This particular variety is known as MWITHA GUBWI (Good Mwitha ); sour in taste. 15

MWITHA -2:

MWITHA -2 The plant variety is known as MWITHA GWKHA (bitter Mwitha ) having taste of bitter in slight. This is a cultivated plant. 16

MWITHA SIKHLA-3:

MWITHA SIKHLA-3 This is another variety of MWITHA; similar to creeper species. Taste is sour in slight. Collected from jungle. The name is peculiar and termed it MWITHA SIKHLA for its lovely appearance . SIKHLA means young girl. 17

DAUPHENDA:

DAUPHENDA A leafy vegetable grows in wetland. This variety is popularly used only among the Boros and other cognate Tribal in Assam. The term is derived from two different words; e.g : DAU (bird)-PHENDA (upper portion of the knee) 18

SIBUNG:

SIBUNG A leafy vegetable grows in wetland. Difficult to know how the term come into form. But this word is used only among the Boros. 19

DUSREM:

DUSREM A leafy vegetable similar to creeper; grows in jungle. Taste is bitter slightly. 20

WNGKHAMPHRWM:

WNGKHAMPHRWM Leafy vegetable having taste of vinegary; collected from jungle. The term is clearly consists of two different words; e.g : WNGKHAM (boiled rice) and PHRWM (brightly scattered). Difficult to know how the term relates to this particular pant. 21

KHERADAPHINI:

KHERADAPHINI Locally found leafy vegetable; grows in jungle or uncultivated land. Slightly bitter in taste. Used only among the Boros and other cognate tribal people of Assam. The term is popular among the Boros. 22

HANGSWAPHA:

HANGSWAPHA Traditionally used leafy vegetable; collected from uncultivated land. The term consists of two words; HANGSW (Duck) and APHA (Palm). Boro people say that the leave looks like palm of duck. 23

SINGRI:

SINGRI Collected from uncultivated land; taste is slightly vinegary. 24

LAPHASAIKHO:

LAPHASAIKHO A leafy vegetable; generally collected from jungle having taste of slight vinegary. The term relates to a bird that cries in pathetic feeling. People belief that during the season of crying of this particular bird the leaf of the plant becomes very tasty. 25

KHUNGKHA:

KHUNGKHA A vegetable having taste of bitter; generally grows in jungle. Specially used in preparation of ritual-food at the time of spring festival known as BWISAGU. The name of the plan indicates its taste. It consists of two words; KHUNG (?) and KHA (bitter). 26

SIBRU:

SIBRU Local vegetable collected from jungle; akin to arum species. 27

Root used as vegetable:

Root used as vegetable OUAMEUAI (Bamboo shoot) THASO ATHING (Arum root) 28

VEGETABLE USED AS SPICE:

VEGETABLE USED AS SPICE MAISUNDRI, ONTHAIBAJAB 29

SEMPHRI:

SEMPHRI Traditionally used local spice collected from jungle or uncultivated land. 30

PHATHWI AONI:

PHATHWI AONI A kind of climbing plant similar to creeper. Only leaf is taken with betel-nut; mostly used in traditional marriage ceremony in ancient days. This is not generally cultivated; grows in jungle. Used the term only among the Boros. 31

PHATHWI SINARI:

PHATHWI SINARI Traditionally used betel-leaf; mostly used in traditional marriage in ancient days in this society. The plant is mostly similar to creeper. Popularly used the term among the Boros. 32

MWKHNA:

MWKHNA This plant is used as herbal medicine. It is bitter in taste. And necessary as one of the basics in preparation of local rice beer. This is generally collected from jungle. Difficult to know the meaning of the term ; but the name is used only among the Boros and relates to the traditional culture. 33

SIROTHA:

SIROTHA Cultivated plant used as herbal medicine having taste of bitter. This is traditionally used if somebody suffer from stomach pain. 34

RITUAL-PLANTS:

RITUAL-PLANTS The plant is locally known as SIJOU- it symbolizes the supreme God “ Bathou ”. In religious faith the word is used to signify five-fold intrinsic meaning or principle which is codified by the God Bathou . So the word SIJOU is significant in terms of linguistic and cultural view point. 35

SCENE OF TRADITIONAL TEMPLE :

SCENE OF TRADITIONAL TEMPLE As traditional norms generally two kinds of plants are necessarily planted at the religious temple. These are known as SIJOU and JATRASI; both of them are regarded as pious as the supernatural power. As tradition SIJOU symbolizes the God ‘ Bathou ’ and the JATRASI plant symbolizes the Goddess of the wealth i.e called ‘ Mainao ’ in Boro. 36

Question on Linguistic Property:

Question on Linguistic Property Already I have proposed a hypothesis that the names regarding ethno-plants are basic property of language. And helps in preserving linguistic and inherent cultural features. 37

IS THE NAME OF ETHNO-PLANTS A LINGUISTIC AND CULTURAL PROPERTY ? :

IS THE NAME OF ETHNO-PLANTS A LINGUISTIC AND CULTURAL PROPERTY ? Argument follows: Name of the local plants inevitably constitute a component of native vocabulary. These may be analyzed in terms of linguistic and cultural view point. The name of plants is properly Boro word which is basics of vocabulary. These names of plants are not available in different languages other than the Boro language. For example ritual plant-names: / sijou , jatrasi , e η k h ɯ r , oua ret h e /- these three names are certainly basics of Boro vocabulary. On the other hand these are closely related to rituals as well as traditional religion. So cultural implication is one of the most significant aspects in this regard. 38

NAMES OF EDIBLE PLANTS :

NAMES OF EDIBLE PLANTS Some of the edible ethno plant-names used among this community are uncommon in comparison to other linguistic community. Particularly these are commonly used among the Boros. Names like- / m ɯ it h a , si η ri , k h oraisit h a , daup h enda , sibu η , lap h asaik h o , dousrem , l ɯ nt h i , sibru , olodor , ɯ η k h amp h r ɯ m,haηs ɯ ap h a , k h eradap h ini / matigaldab , k h aila , g ɯ mri , k h u η k h a , t h aso at h i η , t h aso bit h uri , t h aso bibar , oua meuai , j ɯ glauri , laijabri / etc. are acquired based on feature of plant, its uses and food habits of the Boro people. Each of the name of plants has a descriptive meaning. 39

EDIBLE PLANTS AND CURRY NAMES:

EDIBLE PLANTS AND CURRY NAMES Curry names, as traditionally prepared by the Boro people are generally termed based on recipe and component of edible plants used for preparation of curry. Curry is called / ɯ η k h ri / in this language. Common curry names prepared by particular plants and vegetables are – (i) / m ɯ it h a ɯ η k h ri /- curry of m ɯ it h a plant (ii) / lap h asaik h o ɯ η k h ri /- curry of lap h asaik h o plant 40

CONTD. CURRY NAMES:

CONTD. CURRY NAMES (iii) / dousrem ɯ η k h ri /- curry of dousrem plant (iv) / l ɯ nt h i ɯ η k h ri /-curry of / l ɯ nt h i / plant ( v) / j ɯ glauri ɯ η k h ri /-curry of j ɯ glauri plant Curry names are to be called as important part of lexis. All the names are closely related to the vegetable or edible plants. So vocabulary of ethno-plant names may become recurrent through its living. 41

LOST OF ETHNO-PLANTS LOST OF LINGUISTIC PROPERTY:

LOST OF ETHNO-PLANTS LOST OF LINGUISTIC PROPERTY Ethno-plants are traditionally being used for vegetable or medicinal purposes since remote past. Ethno-plants used among the Boros have linguistic and cultural implication. Ethno-plants are closely associated with way of living of the people. Due to impact of ecological effect and circumstances wetland or forest areas are gradually decreasing from natural landscape. In such condition wild plants may get extinct or disappeared from the natural context. As a result people of new generation may become unfamiliar with the names of plants or forget the names of plants that have been used among the ethnic community since remote past. 42

… LOST OF LINGUISTIC PROPERTY …:

… LOST OF LINGUISTIC PROPERTY … From an empirical study it is evidently found that use of ethno-plants support in validating linguistic property. Besides ethno-botanical items are also closely related to the culture of a community. Something lapse may happen in case of lexis due to lost of flora and fauna used among the ethnic community and this may lead to lost of culture. 43

REMARKS:

REMARKS It is significant to say that the aspect of culture and language of a particular linguistic community is closely related to the ecology and natural process to a large extent. Traditional Boro culture has purely been flourishing since remote past by coexisting within natural settings. Native plant-names are also acquired innately through the process of social behavior and all these acquired names are an inherent property of the linguistic community or a society which is shared commonly by a group of people. 44

… REMARKS …:

… REMARKS … plant-names constitute certainly a component of Boro vocabulary. From this analysis it may be argued that ethno-plant names as used in the Boro society is obviously property of the Boro language and culture and supports in validating and preserving linguistic property to the up and coming era. 45

Acknowledgement:

Acknowledgement A group of village people of different areas and students of PG level helped me in gathering information and specimen collection of local plant-names during the field survey. I do express an immense grateful to all the informants. 46

REFERENCE:

REFERENCE Brahma, Mohini Mohan.(1971). Boro- Kochari Solo (Boro- Kachari’s Folktale). Guwahati : Guwahati University. Deleyew,Zelealen .(2011). Wild Plant Nomenclature and Traditional Botanical Knowledge Among Three Ethnolinguistic Groups in Northwestern Ethiopia. OSSREA. Narzi , Bhaben .(1985). Boro- Kocharir Somaj Aru Sanskriti (Society and Culture of the Boro- Kachari ). Guwahati:Bina Library. -------------------- (1983). Boro- Kocharir Geet -Mat (Songs of the Boro- Kachari ). Guwahati:Asom Prakashan Parishad . 47

THANKS!:

THANKS! 48

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