Ethnic and Linguistic Composition of the people of Nagaland.

Ethnic and Linguistic Composition of the people of Nagaland.

Ethnic and Linguistic Composition of the people of Nagaland.


Ethnic composition of Nagaland


Anthropologically, the Nagas belong to palaeo- Mongoloid group. it is claimed that there are about 60 and more Naga tribes numbering about 4 millions. they have been residing in different parts of south and southeast Asia. they are distributed into different political units of the region. as for Nagaland, major Naga tribes found in the state of Nagaland, India are as follows :


  • Anal/Emela-Mao
  • Angami
  • Ao
  • Chakhesang
  • Chang
  • Khiamniungan
  • Konyak
  • Lotha
  • Phom
  • Pochuri
  • Ringma
  • Sangtam
  • Sema/Sumi
  • Tikhir
  • Yimchunger and
  •  Zeliang

Ethnic and Linguistic Composition of the people of Nagaland.


In addition to above, other indigenous tribes like Kacharis and Kuki have also been residing here for many hundred years. the Garos, Gurkhas and Lamas are other tribes found in some numbers in the state. these days, like other Indian state, composite groups of people are found in any parts of the state. 

Among non-locals the most predominant groups in terms of their numbers and economic share are the Bengalis (both Hindus and Muslims), Marwaries, Hindusthanis from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and also south Indians are present in good numbers. Dimapur city of Nagaland state serves as a perfect example of the composite culture with all its ethnic plurality. that is why it is rightly called ''the melting pot of Nagaland.

Linguistic composition of the people of Nagaland.


Nagaland, being a multi tribals region/state there are several kinds of languages, each tribe has their own tribal tongue as well as sub-tongues in many tribes, like konyak and phom tribes of Nagaland have many tongues within the tribes, each village has their own tongues apart from their common tribal languages.

taking up a linguistic composition of various Naga tribes inhabiting the state of Nagaland, it is a very cumbersome proposition. such a complex subject demands a systematic treatment of philological aspect of the numerous Naga tribes. it is quite interesting that though the number of various Naga tribes inhabiting this land as close neighbour to each other is easily countable, yet it is very much difficult to count the numerous tongues and sub-tongues spoken by different tribes in their respective homes and villages. 
Ethnic and Linguistic Composition of the people of Nagaland.

languages spoken among Tribes


it is practical our experience that within each tribes people speak different dialects. for example, among the Angami Naga tribe there are 2 major sub- tongues namely, Thikroma and Thevoma, of course, kehena, mima, malia, Mozume, tengima (endemic to Kohima people) etc. 
some minor tribes such as Yimchunger and Tikhirs belonging to different villages and geographical locations speak their specific tongues which only the respective village folks can understand.
for extra-regional communication within the same tribe, they have to resort to another neutral tongue.

this is the general pictures among the hill men across the state. here the linguistic plurality has reached its zenith even within an insignificant population of roughly 32,00,000 heads. the situation is much more complex in case of the Konyaks and Phoms. it has been reported that the former tribe has more than 40 tongues used by folks in different parts of mon district. therefore, in inter-village communications they prefer to use a neutral tongue or lingua franca called the Wakching dialect. it serves as the medium of communication throughout the limits of Mon disrtict.

As for central sub-groups of Nagas, Dr. G.A Grierson has pointed out that Aos, Tangsa, Thokumis (the Sema name Sangtams), Lothas and others speak different tongues but they all follow a broad pattern. their vocabulary and usages are grossly similar. however, it would be quite wrong to conclude that all the Naga tribes inhabiting the central part of Nagaland can interact in a common tongues or understand sub-tongues of each other. all tribes such as Phoms, Ao, Lothas, Konyaks, Sangtams, Zeliangrong and Sumis speak their own tongues and also have their regional variations. However, it is quite amusing that through Semas are divided into 2 distinct geo-ethnic groups namely, the Eastern and Western Sumis yet both the groups speak a common tongue.

Ethnic and Linguistic Composition of the people of Nagaland.


the Lothas residing in areas north of Doyang river speak a distinct tongue from the one who live in village on the south of the Doyang speak Liye.
both are fairly different different from each other. apart from these, there are Lotha tongues named Tsontsu, Kyong, Kyo, Kyou etc. 
among Aos people speak 4 different tongues namely, chungli, Mongsen, Changki and Nokpu, the last mentioned one having the fewest number of speakers confined within only one village called Aonokpu. however, chungli is the most popular dialect in Ao hills because of patronage it has received from Christian missionaries. all the christian texts and commentaries were translated and written in this Ao dialect. similarly, among the Sangtams also there are many regional variations. some spoken tongues of Sangtams include Kizare, pirr, phelongre,potshimi,purr etc.

Thus, Naga tribes of Nagaland have many different tongues and dialects which they communicate in their daily life, for inter-tribal communication they also have 'Nagamese' its a lingua franca or it is a pidgin form of Assamese, otherwise every naga people speak very good English. also English is the official language of Nagaland.

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