Languages in Nagaland

Although maximum people of the state speak Nagamese, several other languages in Nagaland also coexist in the state. The Nagaland languages fall in the Tibetan -Burmese group of languages. They are classified into three divisions:
  • Eastern Sub Group - the Konyak and Chang languages fall within this division
  • Central Sub Group - languages such as Lotha, Ao, Phom etc. belong to this division
  • Western Sub Group - Sema, Angami, Rengma and Chakhesang are some of the major languages of this division
One of the interesting aspect of the Naga languages is the use of Sanskrit words. The tribes form the maximum chunk of Nagaland population and these tribal people speak Nagamese, which is a mixture of the basic Naga languages and Assamese. It is popular for its simplicity and there are no written scripts for the Nagamese language. English is the official language of the state and it is quite popular among the educated mass of Nagaland. The national language - Hindi is also not uncommon among the mass and most of the people understand and speak Hindi.

The Ao Naga is one of the Nagaland languages that have written scripts. The British missionaries introduced the scripts to popularize the practice of the language. The Tenyidie is another language in Nagaland that has a written script.


Nagamese is the most popular among the spoken languages in Nagaland. Widely spoken by the tribal people of the state, the Nagamese language of Nagaland is a mixture of different Naga and the Assamese languages. It has also been enriched with some contributions from Bengali and Hindi languages. It is the Lingua-Franca of the Naga population.

Nagaland's Nagamese has gained its popularity due to simplicity of the language. Since the language does not have any written scripts, it does not follow any grammatical complications. Nagamese has no use of gender classifications, which makes it more easy. Nagamese is popular as the language of communication. Although there are many languages in the Nagaland, the Nagamese act as the interlink between these languages and helps in better communication.


One of the important languages in Nagaland, Ao is spoken by a large number of people in the state. The Ao or Ao-Naga language falls in the Tibetan - Burmese group of languages. Some regional dialects like the Mongsen, Chungli, Chanki etc. are prominent among the Ao-Naga language family. Among all the dialects, Chungli is the most widely spoken one and efforts are on to make it the standard Ao-Naga language. The inhabitants of the Mokokchung District mainly converse in this language. It is also quite popular in Southern part of the state of Assam. Ao-Naga has written script that maintains its own codes of grammar. Three types of tones constitute the Ao language of Nagaland - the falling tone, the rising tone and the level tone. Wide use of the Copula is a notable characteristic of the language.


Tenyidie is one of the common languages in Nagaland. The Tenyidie language of Nagaland is also known as the Angami. Mostly spoken by the natives of the Angami tribes, Tenyidie have a number of dialects like:
  • Dzuna
  • Kohima
  • Kehena
  • Chakroma
  • Khonoma
  • Nali
  • Mima
  • Tengima
  • Mozome
The Tenyidie is considered as the standard dialect among the Angami dialects. It has emerged as the most popular language among the Angami tribes. It falls in the Sino Tibetan language family.

Last Updated on : 22/06/2013



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