Gangte is a melodic Sino-Tibetan language. As it shares many commonalities in terms of grammar and sounds with other languages found in the region, it serves as a great gateway to other tongues in the same language family, such as Burmese. For those interested in learning a tonal language, Gangte is also a wonderful language to start with as it only has three tones. It uses English script for communication, making its written form also quite accessible to foreign students.
Originally animists until last century, Gangtes are now predominantly Christian, but oral folktale traditions are very much still alive in this language community. Gangtes are very proud to be known as cloud swimmers according to their folklore. They are also renowned for their creativity among the various hill tribe communities of Manipur.
Gangte is listed by UNESCO as an endangered language. Though its numbers may be relatively small, it is still very much alive in the 37 villages that are officially Gangte-speaking. It is also still spoken fluently by the youngest generation. There is fear though that over time the language may succumb to more dominant, national languages.
Learning Gangte will give you a new way to see the world. It possesses a beautiful naming pattern system, has a unique counting system starting at 10,000, and expresses colors, kinship, and the animal world differently from the Western World.
✔ Introduce yourself, greet others and ask questions
✔ Talk about your family and friends and understand the family structures of the community of speakers
✔ Describe objects, people, and situations accurately
✔ Buy (and even bargain over!) typical products, clothing, and food at the local market
✔ Ask for directions to go to the most relevant spots
✔ Learn how to get around the town or village
✔ Maintain reasonably simple conversations with native speakers
✔ Learn the unique history of the community
✔ Learn about the local’s worldviews and beliefs
✔ Learn to appreciate local poetry and songs
✔ Learn the rich history behind traditional garments
✔ Learn how cultural heritage is expressed through arts and crafts
✔ Learn how to cook local dishes by reading recipes in the target language