A language of India

Alternate Names
Kathe, Kathi, Manipuri, Meiteilon, Meiteiron, Meithe, Meithei, Menipuri, Mitei, Mithe, Ponna

1,470,000 in India (2001 census). Population total all countries: 1,485,000.


Mainly Manipur; Nagaland, Peren, Dimapur, Kohima, Phek; Assam, Cachar and Dima Hasao; Mizoram, Aizwal and Kolasibi; other communities possible in nearby states.

Language Status

2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial language in Manipur State (1992, Constitution, 71st Amendment).


Loi (Chakpa), Meitei, Pangal (Manipuri Muslim, Panal, Panan). Intelligibility of Meitei in Bangladesh is difficult. Those in Bangladesh may understand India Meitei better than vice versa possibly due to more language change in Bangladesh over the years. India Meitei is more standard. Intelligibility between dialects in Bangladesh definitely sufficient to understand complex and abstract discourse. Lexical similarity: 80%–86% between dialects in Bangladesh, 65%–70% between Bangladesh and India varieties.


SOV; postpositions; articles before noun heads; CV, CVC, CVV, VC, VCV; nontonal.

Language Use

Also use Hindi [hin]. Used as L2 by Aimol [aim], Anal [anm], Chiru [cdf], Chothe Naga [nct], Gangte [gnb], Hmar [hmr], Inpui Naga [nkf], Kharam Naga [kfw], Koireng [nkd], Kom [kmm], Lamkang [lmk], Mao Naga [nbi], Maram Naga [nma], Monsang Naga [nmh], Moyon Naga [nmo], Purum [pub], Tarao Naga [tro], Thado Chin [tcz], Thangal Naga [nki].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 73% (2005 BI). Literacy rate in L2: 69% for Manipur (2001 census). Taught in primary schools. Poetry. Radio programs. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1984–2011.

Bengali script [Beng]. Braille script [Brai]. Meetei Mayek script [Mtei].

Other Comments

Mainly rural. 6 clans (Ningthonia, Luwang, Angom, Moirang, Khabanaganba, Chonglei). Hindu, Christian, Muslim, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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