Case Marker-in Bokar


This paper will discuss about the description of the case marking system in Bokar, Tani groups of Tibeto-Burman language which is situated in the remote area of Arunachal Pradesh North-East India. Like many Tibeto-Burman language Bokar also have an SOV verb order. Case is a one of the inflectional categories of noun, and it indicates the grammatical functions in a greater phrase or clause;’ after analyzing the data there are seven case marker in this language Accusative, Dative, Locative, Genitive, Ablative, Instrumental and Vocative.

Key wordsBokar, Case Markers, Suffixes.


This paper presents is to describe about the case markers in Bokar. The Bokar are the tribes or a language of the Tani group of Tibeto-Burman language family, which is spoken in the central Arunachal Pradesh state of North East India. Bokar people come from the Bokar village called Manegang (Monigao) and they speak the language Bokar. The Bokar are the part of larger sub-group of Adi, Adi comprise of many sub-group like Minyong, Millang, Padam, Pangi, Komkar, Pasi, Shimong, Ashing, Karko, Bori, Bokar and Pailibo-Ramo and all these groups lived in different parts of Arunachal Pradesh. Bokar-Pailibo-Ramo, bore and some Minyong people lived in west Siang Dist of Aalo and they are neighbored of each other. Bokar claim to be the descendents of Karbo clan, they trace their origin from a common forefather Abo Tani (Abo means Father) (Tani means Human) and follow the genealogy counting from Abo Tani as Nijum-Jumsi, Sikar, Karbo, Bokar or Busi, Siko. All Bokar groups have originated from Siko group. The total population of Bokar is approximate 5,500 in Arunachal Pradesh. Bokar is also settled in some part of China which is known as Lhoba.

Previous studies of the Bokar and their languages:

This is the first study of Bokar grammar so far attempted. In fact, very little serious linguistic or anthropological work of any scale has yet been conducted in Bokar area.

Here we review only those works with direct reference to Bokar.

  1. Bokar language guide by A. Megu (1990) has Book directly refer to Bokar. It’s a handbook grammar written for “everyday use” it has confirmed to be of extremely limited value to linguists in this book there is a poor quality of phonology and grammar, there are no proper transcription is made and difficult to get the real pronounces of the language nevertheless this book is the first ever published in Bokar language so far I am concerned.
  2. Banerjee. B. (1999) an anthropologist, published a book on the life of Bokar. The anthropological research on their ecological setting and social system. In his book he mentions a few portions of the word list. Overall his word list and sentence lists are of surprisingly poor quality, and contains almost as many mistranscriptions as there are words.
  3. Tian-Shin Jackson Sun, for reasons of inaccessibility, was unable to obtain reliable data of sufficient scale for any data of Bokar and so could not include Bokar data among core materials for his (1993) magnum opus a historical and comparative study of Tani (Mirish) Branch of Tibeto- Burman. His data mainly on Lobha group of china.
  4. There are many Anthropological and other field of books written by many scholars about Arunachal Pradesh where they mentioned very little about Bokar.


For this paper the researcher used two types of methods

  1. Primary- in this primary method data is collected from the native speaker of this language
  2. Secondary- library visit, literature reviews, journals and articles.

Case markers: A noun or pronoun is inflected by the case. The case for which they are inflected may conveniently be named as Nominative, Accusative, Instrumental, Dative, Genitive, Locative and Vocative. Case suffixes are shown below.

Table: case system in Bokar.

NominativeAccusativeInstrumentalDativeGenitiveLocativeAblativeVocativeϴhəmlok, niŋboga, kəlo, la, bə, təlokə, gəməluə

Nominative case: subject of transitive or intransitive verbs. The absence of marker in noun is taken as the mark of nominative case. Bokar does not use any specific marks for nominative case. The entire noun in the subject position of a sentence occurs without a case marker; such nouns are treated to be nominative case.

‘Tapen  is going to school’

Accusative case: noun or pronoun is said to be in the objective case. If they are the direct object of a verb or if they are the object of a preposition (direct object is the person or the thing upon whom or upon which the action of the verb is carried out.  In Boker accusative case is expressed by the suffixes ‘-hem

‘I killed the bird from arrow’

Instrumental case: The instrumental case is a grammatical case used to indicate that a noun is the instrument or means by or with which the subject achieves or accomplisher an action. The noun may be either physical object or an abstract concept (www.wikipedia) in Bokar instrumental case expressed by the suffixes ‘-lok or -ŋinga’

Example: ‘-ŋinga’

‘Tadu killed the monkey with arrow’

Example: ‘-lok’

‘I wrote a letter from pen’

Dative case: The dative case is generally used to indicate the noun or pronoun to which something is given in Bokar dative case is expressed by the suffixes ‘-bo’.

‘Tomorrow I will go to Shillong’

Genitive case: The genitive case is the grammatical case that indicates the ownership or possession of noun in Bokar genitive case expressed by the suffixes ‘-ga’ or ‘-ka’.

 Example: ‘-ga’

Tate ‘s father

 Example: ‘-kə’

‘My mother’

Locative case: The locative ‘-lo’ or ‘-la’ is the basic and most frequent marker for location in Bokar. It occurs as an etymological formative of distant locative demonstrative such as ‘-bolo’ ‘down’ and ‘-tolo’ ‘up’.

Example: ‘-lo’

‘ I live in Bokar village’

Example: –bolo ‘Down’

‘I came from Aalo’

Example: –tolo ‘Up

‘I came from manegaŋ’

Ablative: Ablative case is used generally to express motion away from something, in Bokar Ablative case expressed by suffixes ‘-lokə’

‘From this road minister will come’

Vocative: vocative case is used to indicate the person or thing being addressed. Vocative case expressed by suffixes –məlu.

‘Where are you going’


The Case marker of Bokar is clearly identified either morphologically or syntactically, the case marker is grammatical suffixes of the language. In this language there are seven case markers.


NOM   –                       Nominative

ACC    –                       Accusative

DAT    –                       Dative

GEN    –                       Genitive

LOC    –                       Locative

INST   –                       Instrumental

ABL    –                       Ablative

VOC   –                       Vocative

IPFV   –                       Imperfective

PFV     –                       Perfective

IND     –                       Individuator

FUT     –                       Future 

DECL –                       Declarative

PF        –                       Perfect

TOP     –                       Topic


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Bokar, Grammar, North-East Linguistics