Memoni language

Native to Pakistan, India
Region Karachi, Kathiawar
Ethnicity Memon
Native speakers

mainly adults (no date)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mby
Glottolog memo1238[2]

The Memon or Memoni language is the language of Memons historically associated with Kathiawar, in West India, a Memon subgroup. Many Memons have settled in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan since the independence in 1947


The true origin of the language is still debated among the historians of the regions. However, it is common to believe that Memoni language actually originated as a dialect of Sindhi language. Within the language itself, there are currently many different dialects, some having more influence of one language, and others having that of others. The language has not been organized greatly, hence, neither having its alphabetical system of reading and writing, nor having its literature and dictionary. This is one of the reasons the disorientation among the speakers themselves for deciding which words are better for what, as there is a wide variety of vocabulary available. Haji Mohammed Husein Abdel Kareem Nagani invented the alphabet of Memon language.[3]

The Memon community is generally divided into three major subgroups: Kathiawadi Memons, Sindhi Memons (who speak the Sindhi language) and Kutchi Memons (who speak Kutchi) The first category (Memons originating in Kathiawar) are simply called Memons, and they speak the Memon language, the subject of this article. These people are mostly Muslims (and mostly Sunni Hanafi), who migrated from Sindh to Kathiawar several centuries ago. Sindhi and Kutchi languages are spoken by both Muslims and non-Muslims, in contrast to the Memon language, which is exclusively spoken by Memons of Kathiawadi origin, who are almost entirely Muslim.

In stress, intonation, and everyday speech, Memoni is very similar to Sindhi, but it borrows extensively from Gujarati, Hindustani and lately English. Like most languages of the Indian subcontinent the sentence structure of Memoni generally follows subject–object–verb order.[4] In Pakistan, Memoni has adopted many Urdu words and phrases. Even between different villages of Kathiawar, variations arose. For example, in Ranavav, the word for sugar is khand, while in Jodiya, it is chinni.


The most nouns has a grammatical gender, either masculine or feminine and often have singular and plural forms. The Memons borrow vast majorities of the nouns from Hindustani (mixture of Urdu & Hindi) languages and lately extensive use of English vocabulary.


English Memoni Sindhi Kutchi Gujarati Hindi/Urdu
vegetables bakaala (m)s/p/Sabji bhaji saag bhaji ( bhakalo ) Shaak bhaji sabzi(f) sabzia
bed Palang (m) Palang (m)/ Khata (f) Khatlo/Palang Khatlo chaarpaee/ Palang (f)
mirror aariso (m) aarisa (p) / Aaino aarsi (f) / aaino (m) aariso aarisa (m) aaena (m) ?
door dervajo (m) dervajaa (p) darwazo darvajo darwazo dervaza (m) dervazey (p)
man maru (m) maruu (p) maanhu maru manas/purush admi (m) admion (p)
boy chhokro (m) chokraa (p) chhokro (m) chokraa (p) chhokro choro/chokra larka (m) larkay (p)
girl chhokree (f) chokriun (p) chhokree (f) chokriun (p) chhokree chokri (f) chokriun lerki (f) lerkian (p)
woman also wife byree (f) byreeun (p) mayee (f) mayuun (p) bairi bairi/patni/wavh aurat (f) auratayn (p)

Articles and determiner

There is no equivalent for the definite article ‘the’, and the indefinite article ‘a’ is further inflected as masculine or feminine with its object.


The subject pronouns second person(s) ‘You’ is expressed two different ways; one is the polite form ‘aaen’ (cognate with ‘avheen’ in standard Sindhi) used for respect generally for a stranger, elderly and well respected persons including parents and relatives and the second ‘tu’ (the same as in standard Sindhi) is informal and used among close friends and when addressing subordinates. The object, possessive and reflexive pronouns are often inflected for masculine and feminine and must agree with its object.

See Urdu Pronouns


English Memoni Sindhi Kutchi Gujrati
I aaun aaun aaun hun
We asaan asaan/paan asaan/paan hamay
You (polite) singular or


aaen tawhan/awheen aaen te.may
you (informal or intimate) tu tu/tun tu tu

In most Indic languages the third person such as, he, she, it and they and the demonstrative pronouns this, these, that, those same pronouns are used and they are divided into two categories; one for a near object or person and the other for a far object or person.

Example 2

English Memoni Sindhi Kutchi Gujrati
She, He, it, they, this, these (near) ee / hee hee hee aa
She, He, it, they, that, those (far) ou / hoo hou, hooa, hoo hoo pela

No significant differences are among the object, possessive and reflexive pronouns. In addition these pronouns are further inflected for masculine and feminine and must agree to the object (noun, pronouns, adjective and adverbs).


The verbs generally conjugated (in form, according to many factors, including its tense, aspect, mood and voice. It also agree with the person, gender, and/or number of some of its arguments (subject, object, etc.). The verb generally appears at the end of the sentence.


Like English, the position of the adjectives nearly always appears immediately before the noun and they are modified and often inflected for masculine and feminine and must be agree to the noun that follows. The proposition generally comes after a noun or a verb.


In the past there was some attempt to write the Memoni dialect using Gujrati and later in Urdu script with little success. Lately some attempt has been made to write Memoni using Roman script.

See also


  1. Memoni language at Ethnologue (14th ed., 2000).
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Memoni". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. Memoni Language Project

Reference: Origin of Memoni Language a Memoni Language Project by Siddique Katiya

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