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Parts of speech


Gender and Number

  • Articles 'ka' and 'u' function respectively as the feminine and masculine singular articles. They typically come before nouns.
    • khun --> ka khun: daughter
    • khun --> u khun: son
    • ka<art><sg><f> ↔ ka
    • u<art><sg><m> ↔ u
  • The gender of a noun cannot be shown by the article in the plural, as the plural article is 'ki', and it carries no gender. Instead, a marker-word is often attached to indicate gender, such as the most general 'kynthei' meaning female and 'shinrang' meaning male.
    • lang<n><pl><f> ↔ lang-kynthei:'she-goats', 'ewes'
    • lang<n><pl><m> ↔ lang-shinrang:'he-goats', 'rams'
  • There are more specific terms for some words. These specific terms are often epithets describing a feature of a male or female of such a word. For example:
    • massi-->massi-kyrtong:'bulls', 'male cows'
      • massi: 'cow'
      • kyrtong: 'fat', 'strong'

Cases and Associated Pronouns

Khasi has no inflectional case system, but rather it distinguishes the different cases with pronoun use.

  • Nominative
    • The noun without any prepositions
    • briw<n><nom> ↔ briw
    • Example sentence: U briw u la wan; 'The man came'
  • Accusative
    • Noun with and sometimes without 'ia'/'ya'/'ïa'
    • briw<n><acc> ↔ ia briw
    • Example sentence: U la shem ia u briw; 'He found the man'
  • Dative
    • Takes 'ha', 'sha', or 'ia'/'ya'/'ïa' (to or as)
    • nga<prn><p1><sg><dat> ↔ ha nga
    • Example sentence: U la ai ha nga ia ka kitab; 'He gave me the book'
  • Instrumental
    • Takes 'da' (by, with)
    • wait<n><ins> ↔ da wait
    • Example sentence: U la phot ia la ka kti da ka wait; 'He cut his hand with an ax'
  • Ablative
    • Takes 'na' (from, as)
    • ing<n><abl> ↔ na ing
    • Example sentence: U Hom u la mih na la ing; 'Hom came out of his house'
  • Genitive
    • Takes 'jong' (of)
    • kymi<n><gen> ↔ jong kymi
    • Example sentence: Ka ing jong ka kymi; 'His mother's house'
  • Locative
    • Takes 'ha' or 'sha' (in, at, to; as)
    • ing<n><loc> ↔ ha ing
    • Example sentence: Ka kymi ka don ha ing; 'His mother is at home'
  • Vocative
    • Takes 'Ah!' (Oh) or 'Ko!' (my, our)
    • Blei<n><voc> ↔ ah Blei
    • Example sentence: Ah Blei; 'Oh God'


  • In Khasi, diminutives show "endearment, smallness, inferiority, [and] contempt," according to H. Roberts.
  • To form the diminutive in the singular, 'i' is typically used as the article.
    • maw --> i maw: 'A pebble'
    • i<dim> ↔ i
  • In the plural, additional particles are attached, such as '-ria,' '-rit,' '-raid,' 'khun' (child). They may also be used in the singular.
    • maw<n><pl><dim> ↔ maw-ria: 'Pebbles'
    • ing<n><pl><dim> ↔ ing-rit: 'Little houses'


Abstract Nouns

  • Most abstract nouns are formed by adding the prefix 'jing' to a a verb or adjective or by applying the feminine singular article 'ka' to an adjective
    • leh<n> ↔ jingleh: 'action'
    • babha<n> ↔ ka babha: 'the good'
  • Sometimes the 'ka' + adjective formation drops the 'ba' prefix found in an adjective: suk-->ka suk: 'happiness'
  • Some words formed like abstract nouns might actually be common nouns that used to be abstract nouns: khang-->ka jing khang: 'a door', lit 'a shutting'

Agentive Marker

  • 'nong' attaches to verb to create a noun
    • tuh<n> ↔ nongtuh: 'thief'
    • behmrad<n> ↔ nongbehmrad: 'hunter'
    • kha-ii<n> ↔ nongkha-ii: 'trader'

Other Prefixes

  • According to Eugénie J. A. Henderson, "overt prefixes of less common occurrence include shi- ‘one'; mar- ‘facing, matching’; kat- ‘to such a degree’; kum- ‘like’; hang- ‘place where.’"


  • NOTE: Not part of 10 homework categories. Here for future reference, as it's a main part of speech.
  • kyrhuh<vblex> ↔ kyrhuh: roar
  • bam<vblex> ↔ bam: eat

Verbs have a particle 'la' which denotes past tense.

  • la<past> ↔ la: past tense marker. It may be written as lah

Verbs have a particle 'yn' which denotes future tense. It may be written as 'n

  • yn<fut> ↔ yn: future tense marker

Verbs have a particle 'ban' which marks the infinitive. It may be written as ba'n

  • ban<inf> ↔ ban: infinitive tense marker


  • NOTE: Not part of 10 homework categories. Here for future reference, as it's a main part of speech.


  • Adjectives agree with nouns.
  • The adjectives typically begin with prefix 'ba'
    • babha<adj> ↔ babha: good
    • barit<adj> ↔ barit: small
  • It may, however, not use 'ba.' In fact, there can be a difference in meaning associated with the 'ba-' prefix.
    • u briw-bastad; 'a learned man'
    • u briw-stad;'an astrologer'
    • u soh-baiong; 'a black fruit'
    • u soh-iong; 'a plum (black)'
  • As can be seen, the versions without the 'ba-' prefix are more general.

Comparatives and Superlatives


  • 'ba' (adj marker) + 'kham' (more) + root
    • baeh<adj><comp> ↔ ba kham eh: hard
  • Comparatives may also regularly be formed by using ia/ya/ïa, here meaning 'than.'
    • Ex: Ia kane, bha kato; lit. 'than this, good that,' 'that is better than this'


There are many ways to form the superlative. Commonly, they can be formed as:

  • Adjective + 'tam'
    • babha<adj><sup> ↔ babha tam: best
  • Comparative + 'tam'
    • ba kham bha<sup> ↔ ba kham bha tam: best
  • Adjective + 'kham' + 'tam'
    • babha<sup> ↔ babha kham tam: best
  • Prep phrase
    • Ex: na kine bha katai; lit. 'of these, good that,' 'that is better than these'
  • Superlative absolute (most extreme superlative)
    • Adjective + [shikkadei] + [eh] (choose one or both)
      • ba runar<sup> ↔ ba runar eh: most exceedingly cruel
      • ba runar<sup> ↔ ba runar shikkadei eh: most exceedingly cruel
    • Superlative + eh
      • ba runar tam<sup> ↔ ba runar tam eh: most cruel
      • ba runar kham-tam<sup> ↔ ba runar kham-tam-eh: most cruel
      • ba runar tam-shikkadei<sup> ↔ ba runar tam-shikkadei eh: most exceedingly cruel


  • jong<pr> ↔ jong: of
  • ha<pr> ↔ ha: in, to, at, on
  • ia<pr> ↔ ia: to
  • na<pr> ↔ na: from
  • da<pr> ↔ da: by
  • Prepositions may SOMETIMES (very rarely) be prefixes
    • ha-->haei: where
    • ha-->hajan: near

See noun section on cases for more detail about use, as well as pages 119-121 of H. Roberts' A Khassi Reader for more prepositions.


Personal Pronouns

  • The personal pronouns are formed by taking the nominative for the pronoun and adding a prepositional marker word. The following are the nominative forms for first, second, and third person, singular and plural.
    • nga, prn, p1, sg, nom: 'I'
    • ngi, prn, p1, pl, nom: 'we'
    • me, prn, p2, sg, m, nom: 'you'
    • pha, prn, p2, sg, f, nom: 'you'
    • phi, prn, p2, pl, nom: 'you (pl)'
    • u, prn, p3, sg, m, nom: 'he, it'
    • ka, prn, p3, sg, f, nom: 'she, it'
    • ki, prn, p3, pl, nom: 'they'

Prepositional Marker Words

  • (Ø, pr, nom)
  • ia, pr, acc
  • da, pr, ins
  • ia or ha, pr, dat
  • na, pr, abl
  • jong, pr, gen
  • ha, pr, loc
  • ah, pr, voc

As an example of formation:

  • ia nga, acc, sg, p1:'me'

All Masculine/Ungendered Personal Pronouns Declined (summary above)

  • 1st Person Pronouns
    • Singular Pronouns Declined
      • nga<prn><p1><sg><nom> ↔ nga: I
      • nga<prn><p1><sg><acc> ↔ ia nga: me
      • nga<prn><p1><sg><ins> ↔ da nga: by me
      • nga<prn><p1><sg><dat> ↔ ia nga: to me
      • nga<prn><p1><sg><dat> ↔ ha nga: to me (alternative)
      • nga<prn><p1><sg><abl> ↔ na nga: from me
      • nga<prn><p1><sg><gen> ↔ jong nga: of me; my, mine
      • nga<prn><p1><sg><loc> ↔ ha nga: at, with, or in me
      • nga<prn><p1><sg><loc> ↔ sha nga: at, with, or in me (alternative)
      • nga<prn><p1><sg><voc> ↔ ah nga: Oh me!
    • Plural Pronouns Declined
      • ngi<prn><p1><pl><nom> ↔ ngi: we
      • ngi<prn><p1><pl><nom> ↔ ma ngi: we (alternative)
      • ngi<prn><p1><pl><acc> ↔ ia ngi: us
      • ngi<prn><p1><pl><ins> ↔ da ngi: by us
      • ngi<prn><p1><pl><dat> ↔ ia ngi: to us (alternative)
      • ngi<prn><p1><pl><dat> ↔ ha ngi: to us
      • ngi<prn><p1><pl><abl> ↔ na ngi: from us
      • ngi<prn><p1><pl><gen> ↔ jong ngi: of us; our, ours
      • ngi<prn><p1><pl><loc> ↔ ha ngi: at, with, or in us
      • ngi<prn><p1><pl><loc> ↔ sha ngi: at, with, or in us (alternative)
      • ngi<prn><p1><pl><voc> ↔ ah ngi: Oh we!
  • Second Person Pronouns
    • Singular Pronouns Declined
      • me<prn><p2><sg><m><nom> ↔ me: you
      • me<prn><p2><sg><m><nom> ↔ ma me: you (alternative)
      • me<prn><p2><sg><m><acc> ↔ ia me: you
      • me<prn><p2><sg><m><ins> ↔ da me: by you
      • me<prn><p2><sg><m><dat> ↔ ia me: to you
      • me<prn><p2><sg><m><dat> ↔ ha me: to you
      • me<prn><p2><sg><m><abl> ↔ na me: from you
      • me<prn><p2><sg><m><gen> ↔ jong me: of you; your, yours
      • me<prn><p2><sg><m><loc> ↔ ha me: at, with, or in you
      • me<prn><p2><sg><m><loc> ↔ sha me: at, with, or in you (alternative)
      • me<prn><p2><sg><m><voc> ↔ ah me: Oh you!
    • Plural Pronouns Declined
      • phi<prn><p2><pl><nom> ↔ phi: you
      • phi<prn><p2><pl><nom> ↔ ma phi: you (alternative)
      • phi<prn><p2><pl><acc> ↔ ia phi: you
      • phi<prn><p2><pl><ins> ↔ da phi: by you
      • phi<prn><p2><pl><dat> ↔ ia phi: to you
      • phi<prn><p2><pl><dat> ↔ ha phi: to you (alternative)
      • phi<prn><p2><pl><abl> ↔ na phi: from you
      • phi<prn><p2><pl><gen> ↔ jong phi: of you; your, yours
      • phi<prn><p2><pl><loc> ↔ ha phi: at, with, or in you
      • phi<prn><p2><pl><loc> ↔ sha phi: at, with, or in you (alternative)
      • phi<prn><p2><pl><voc> ↔ ah phi: Oh you!
  • Third Person Pronouns
    • Singular Pronouns Declined
      • u<prn><p3><sg><m><nom> ↔ u: he, it
      • u<prn><p3><sg><m><acc> ↔ ia u: him, it
      • u<prn><p3><sg><m><ins> ↔ da u: by him, it
      • u<prn><p3><sg><m><dat> ↔ ia u: to him, it
      • u<prn><p3><sg><m><dat> ↔ ha u: to him, it
      • u<prn><p3><sg><m><abl> ↔ na u: from him, it
      • u<prn><p3><sg><m><gen> ↔ jong u: of him, it; his, its
      • u<prn><p3><sg><m><loc> ↔ ha u: at, with, or in him, it
      • u<prn><p3><sg><m><loc> ↔ sha u: at, with, or in him, it (alternative)
      • u<prn><p3><sg><m><voc> ↔ ah u: Oh him, Oh it!
    • Plural Pronouns Declined
      • ki<prn><p3><pl><nom> ↔ ki: they
      • ki<prn><p3><pl><nom> ↔ ma ki: they (alternative)
      • ki<prn><p3><pl><acc> ↔ ia ki: them
      • ki<prn><p3><pl><ins> ↔ da ki: by them
      • ki<prn><p3><pl><dat> ↔ ia ki: to them
      • ki<prn><p3><pl><dat> ↔ ha ki: to them (alternative)
      • ki<prn><p3><pl><abl> ↔ na ki: from them
      • ki<prn><p3><pl><gen> ↔ jong ki: of them, their, theirs
      • ki<prn><p3><pl><loc> ↔ ha ki: at, with, or in them
      • ki<prn><p3><pl><loc> ↔ sha ki: at, with, or in them (alternative)

Relative Pronouns

  • Singular Pronouns Declined
    • Masculine
      • uba<prn><rel><sg><m><nom> ↔ uba: who
      • uba<prn><rel><sg><m><acc> ↔ ia uba: whom
      • uba<prn><rel><sg><m><ins> ↔ da uba: by whom
      • uba<prn><rel><sg><m><gen> ↔ jong uba: whose
    • Feminine
      • kaba<prn><rel><sg><f><nom> ↔ kaba: who
      • kaba<prn><rel><sg><f><acc> ↔ ia kaba: whom
      • kaba<prn><rel><sg><f><ins> ↔ da kaba: by whom
      • kaba<prn><rel><sg><f><gen> ↔ jong kaba whose
    • Diminutive
      • iba<prn><rel><sg><nom> ↔ iba: who
      • iba<prn><rel><sg><acc> ↔ ia iba: whom
      • iba<prn><rel><sg><ins> ↔ da iba: by whom
      • iba<prn><rel><sg><gen> ↔ jong iba whose
  • Plural Pronouns Declined
    • kiba<prn><rel><pl><nom> ↔ kiba: who
    • kiba<prn><rel><pl><acc> ↔ ia kiba: whom
    • kiba<prn><rel><pl><ins> ↔ da kiba: by whom
    • kiba<prn><rel><pl><gen> ↔ jong kiba: whose
  • Notice how the relative pronouns were formed from the case-marking preposition + 'u/ka/i' (the articles) + ba

Demonstrative Pronouns

  • Demonstrative pronouns are formed by adding suffixes to the articles
  • Formation: article + {-ne, -ta, -to, -tai} (respectively, 'this, that (out of sight, in contemplation), that (in sight), that (very far, but visible))
    • u<sg><m><dem> ↔ une: this
    • ka<sg><f><dem> ↔ kane: this
    • ki<pl><dem> ↔ kine: this

    • u<sg><m><dem> ↔ uta: that
    • ka<sg><f><dem> ↔ kata: that
    • ki<pl><dem> ↔ kita: that

    • u<sg><m><dem> ↔ uto: that
    • ka<sg><f><dem> ↔ kato: that
    • ki<pl><dem> ↔ kito: that

    • u<sg><m><dem> ↔ utai: that
    • ka<sg><f><dem> ↔ katai: that
    • ki<pl><dem> ↔ kitai: that

Spellrelax (notes to self)

  • With the 'jing' prefix, sometimes g is dropped. Furthermore, sometimes 'jing' is written as a separate word.
  • /ia/ may be spelled 'ia'/'ya'/'ïa'
  • /ing/, or house, may be spelled 'ïing'.
  • It seems that in general, some might use 'i' for 'ï.'
  • Morphology may attach to words or come before/after it as separate words.


  • Roberts, H. A Grammar of the Khassi Language: For the Use of Schools, Native Students, Officers and English Residents. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co, 1891. Print.
  • Henderson, Eugénie J. A. “Vestiges of Morphology in Modern Standard Khasi.” Oceanic Linguistics Special Publications, no. 13, 1976, pp. 477–522.