By Seino van Breugel
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Extra resources for A Grammar of Atong
The Atong living in the Badri area, Badri Maidugytym, Badri Rongdyng Ha•wai, earn most of their money from the exploitation of their coal mines. These, however, are only operable during the dry season. During the rainy season money and work are scarce for most of the male part of the population. On the rice fields, though, work is abundant during the monsoon. While clearing and burning the jungle and the construction of rice field houses is a man’s job, the maintenance of the fields and the harvest is done mostly by the women.
The other languages of the Koch group, according to van Driem, are Ruga, Rabha and Pani Koch. The Koch language group is a subgroup of the BodoKoch languages which all belong to the Brahmaputran branch of Tibeto-Burman. On page 501, Brahmaputran consists of Konyak, Bodo-Koch, Dhimaslish and Kachinic, whereas on page 502, Brahmaputran consists of Bodo-Koch, Dhimaslish, Northern Naga and Kachinic. There is no explanation for these different constituencies of Brahmaputran. Robert Shafer (1974) has a totally different classification of the languages within what he calls the ‘Sino-Tibetan language family’ than the authors mentioned so far.
The same is true for private services held in peoples’ houses. When I asked an Atong friend whether it was possible to pray in Atong, he said no, they have to pray in Garo. When I asked if God did not understand Atong, my friend thought for a while and then said that of course God did understand Atong, since He understands all languages. He was visibly surprised by my question and then remarked that he did not fully understand why they had to pray in Garo. The main reason that Garo is the language of the Church is, I think, because the bible has not been translated into Atong, while there is a bible in Garo.
A Grammar of Atong by Seino van Breugel