Languages of Nagaland

Languages of Nagaland

About Nagaland

Nagaland is the twenty-fifth largest state of India with an area of 16579 Sq Km which placed in the north-east corner of India. According to the census of India 2011, approximately 19,80,602 people reside here. The state share an international border with its neighboring country Burma to the east and its neighboring states are Assam by the west and North, AP or Arunachal Pradesh by the by north and Manipur to South.

Languages of Nagaland

The people of Nagaland (popularly known as Nagas) basically divided into several regional or tribal community groups (sixteen Naga tribes); among them the Konyak, Angami, Ao, Lotha, and Sumi tribal are the largest communal groups. Above mentioned Naga tribes use lots of regional or local dialect (near about sixty) as their spoken languages but these languages have no scriptural tradition and so English is use as a medium of education and officially dealings. Nagamese and Hindi are other important language of the state and maximum of state resident know little or more Nagamese dialect.

All major Naga tribes have their own languages. The languages are divided into three groups named Western, Central and Eastern sub group. The Western sub group includes Angami, Sema, Renjna and Chakhesang languages. The Central sub group includes Ao language, Lotha and Phom languages. Chang and Konyak languages are included in Eastern sub group. Certain tribal groups also use Naga-Assamese or Nagamese language, a mixture of Assamese and Naga languages, which does not follow any strict rules of grammar and is easy to pick up.

Angami (known as Angami Naga in linguistics fraternity) is a language spoken by around 132,225 people (2001 Census) primarily in the enchanting Naga Hills of Kohima district of Nagaland state of India. Angami belongs to the Angami-pochuri sub-branch of Tibeto-Burman family of languages. Though Angami has several varieties, principal varieties are Kohima, Khonoma and Chokri (though it has acquired an independent status over time). Kohima variety is the standard language (popularly known as common language among Angamis) which is used in published religious and academic texts. This common language is known as Tenyidie in Angami.

Historical literatures of Angami Language

Earliest writings on Angami language dates back to the days of British in India. Captain J. Butter published his ‘Rough notes on the Angami Nagas and their Language’ in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Vol.44 Part 1) in 1875. Later R.B. McCabe wrote his ‘Outline Grammar of the Angami Naga Language’ in the year 1887 basing his analysis on Khonoma, Mozema and Jotsoma varieties. Some other works includes the likes of Rivenburg (1905), Grierson (1903), Supplee (1930), Haralu (1933) and several significant works by American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society in the early 20th century.

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