Classical Meitei

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Classical Meitei
Classical Manipuri
Regionhistorically in Ancient Manipur (Ancient Kangleipak)
EthnicityMeitei ethnicity
Era15th century BC - till present; continued as a liturgical language of Sanamahism (Meitei religion) and Manipuri Vaishnavism, spoken with a modernized pronunciation
  • Tibeto-Burman
    • Classical Meitei
Meitei script[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Classical Meitei or Classical Manipuri is the standardized literary form of the Meitei language, used most notably in the Puya (Meitei texts), and is also the liturgical language of Sanamahism (Meitei religion) and Manipuri Vaishnavism. It represents the development of the rich literary sources of the present day Meitei literature.[2] It is more than 3500 years old.

It reaches the criteria for being a classical language[3] as it has attained the following four criteria:

  1. It has a recorded history of more than 3500 years, exceeding 1500 years of history, for general criteria.[3]
  2. It has a huge volume of ancient literature and is the heritage of the present generation.[3]
  3. It has an original literary tradition independent from the other speech communities.[3]
  4. It has its ancient literature being distinct from the modern form. And, the modern Meitei is an offshoot of the archaic Meitei.[3]

The presently available volume of ancient literature is actually lessened due to the dark historical event of Puya Mei Thaba (literally, "burning of the manuscripts") in the 18th century AD. At the same time, many of the ancient folklore and poetic works are still preserved in its oral traditional form linking with the Lai Haraoba festival.[3]

Sources[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Primrose, Arthur John (1888). A Manipuri Grammar, Vocabulary, and Phrase Book: To which are Added Some Manipuri Proverbs and Specimens of Manipuri Correspondence. Assam Secretariat Press. p. 1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5