The TOTO people, ethonym for tribal community from Totopara village, Alipurduar hill, West Bengal, India, speak a dialect called Tolo. Tolo is spoken by the TOTO people. It is a dialect of Central Hindi or Brahmi, and not of any part of Rajasthani. TOTO language, mostly spoken in the North Bengal district of West Bengal.
The word TOTO, used for this dialect in Bengali, is an ethnic identity in itself. The origin of the word TOTO in Bengali is unknown, but it belongs to a class of dialects called “Kerala dialect”. There are many varieties of Kerala dialect in West Bengal. Some of them are TOTO (also called TOLO), NATA, BORA and KANANANABASI.
The TOTO people speak two dialects – TOLO, which is the most widely spoken of the dialects, and BORA or NATA. This dialect was derived from BORA, the dialect spoken on the eastern slope of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and BORA is a dialect like TOLO. TOTO has a strong influence from the Portuguese, British and Burmese cultures. TOTO was originally a tribal community in Central India, which lived in villages of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This is why there are many TOTO people of Portuguese, British or Burmese background in the North Bengal district.
The TOTO people used to live in a village named Alipurduar. The word “alipurduar” means ‘on the mountain’. It was the original home of the tribe, who were nomadic in nature. The village was known as ‘Alipuria’, which means ‘mountain’ in Hindi. The TOTO people used to make their living by hunting, fishing and farming.
Today, the Alipuria village is still alive. The TOTO people live in a few houses here. They still live in villages and hunt and catch fish. on the slopes of the hills. They use the land for cultivating wheat and rice and millets, so that are dried in the sun. and dried again. They also use the land for growing vegetables and fruits.
The language of TOTO is not a written one. It is a dialect of Central Hindi. The grammar of this dialect is highly traditional and has a lot of repetitions. For instance, the word ‘ka’ is said in many ways and the word ‘a’ is said in many ways. Similarly, the noun and verb are often repeated, but the sentence structure is not very clear. Most of the words of the language are used as adjectives, but some nouns are used as pronouns.