Source and Origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri

The Bishnupriya Manipuri Language comes under the group of Indo-Aryan languages.

The structure of the language is undoubtedly of Indo-Aryan origin, but it also retains some older sounds of medieval Meitei. The vocabulary is influenced by many Indo-Aryan and Tibetan-Burmese terms. There are many theories in regard to the source and origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri.

One theory holds that Bishnupriyas was the product of those Meitei speakers who fled from Manipur and took refuge in Assam, Tripura and Sylhet. But historical account shows the existence of the language in Manipur before 13th century. Moreover it is not possible for the speakers of Tibetan-Burmese language to adopt and Aryan tongue who took shelter in distant places and in distinct environments. Dr. K.P. Sinha was in the opinion that the language was originated through Magadhi Prakrita. Some researchers and scholars in the language disagree with him and point out their fingers towards Maharastri and Souraseni Prakritas. Some scholars try to establish its origin in the Nio-Prakrit language. However the Souraseni, Maharastri and Magadhi languages and the Tibeto-Burman languages have exerted their influence on the language at different stage of development of the language. Thus it has become a language that can absorb words from both the Sanskrit and Kuki-Chin Languages. Due to the destruction of the old records and literature of the language by the Meitei Kings and Burmese rulers, one cannot trace out the chronological development of the language. However from the 8th century inscription one can easily draw the conclusion that the language had taken its shape during that period.