Manipuri denotes two linguistic groups: Meitei and Bishnupriya Manipuri

The Manipuris, from a linguistic point of view, are divided into two groups, namely – the Meiteis and the Bishnupriyas.

The Meiteis entered Manipur from the east; their Language is of the Tibeto-Burman group. The Bishnupriyas entered Manipur from the west; their language is of the Indo-Aryan group. “Manipuris are divided into two main tribes – the – khalachais, who call themselves Bishnupriyas, are supposed to have been the first cultural race and the Meitheis or Meetheis, who call themselves real Manipuris are supposed to have been next immigrants.”- said Shri R. M. Nath in his Book The Background of Assamese culture. 

In Linguistic Survey of India, 1891 Sir G. A. Grierson recorded their Language as”Bishnupriya Manipuri”. Sir Grierson what he recorded in ‘Linguistic Survey of India’ Vol.. V, Part 1, is “A tribe known as Mayang speaks a Mongrel form of Assamese by the same name. They are also known as Bishnupriya Manipuri.” Dr. Suniti kumar Catterji also calls the Bishnupriya Manipuri (BPM) language simply “Bishnupriya” or “Mayang”.But DR KP sinha says, “Mayang” is a misnomer for this language. The Bishnupriya Manipuris never called themselves as “Mayang”.It is term used by the Meiteis in a degrading sense to denote Indian people outside Manipur. In Meitei, the “Mayang” means foreigner, westerner, just as the Bishnupriya Manipuris called the Meiteis “Khai”, which stands for Thai or Tribe meaning. It is, however, clear that both these two languages were formed in the soil of Manipur.

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