Hill Miri dialect

Not to be confused with Plains Miri language.
Hill Miri
Region Assam
Ethnicity Hill Miri people
Native speakers
(undated figure of 10,100)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Individual code:
mrg  (included under Plains Miri)
Glottolog None

Hill Miri or Sarak is a Tani language of India. It is spoken in Arunachal Pradesh by an estimated 9,000 people of the Hill Miri tribe.[2] It appears to be a dialect of the Nishi language.[3]

Portrait of a girl of the Hill Miri people


Hill Miri is a member of the Tani branch of the Sino-Tibetan languages and is considered a dialect of the Nishi language. It is spoken by 9,000 people in the northern regions of India by the Hill Miri people[4] It is threatened because the younger generation is slowly breaking away from their people's tradition and language.[5] The term "Hill Miri" is an exonym, as the Hill Miri people identify themselves simply as Nyishi.[6] Many audiobooks of gospel narratives in the Hill Miri language have been collected.

History of scholarship

George Abraham Grierson, in his survey of India regarding its linguistics, researched the Nyishi language and published a record over a century ago.



The following table includes an inventory of Hill Miri consonants.[7]

Labial Alveolar Post-
Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ[8] ŋ
Stop voiceless p t c[9] k
voiced b d ɟ[10] ɡ
Fricative s ʃ h
Approximant w l j
Trill? ɲ

Vowels are front /i, e/, central /ɨ, ʉ, ə, a/,[11] and back /u, o/. Vowels occur long and short.


The basic Hill Miri grammar and basic word order are like those of related Sino-Tibetan languages, similar to that of Nishi.


Hill Miri
1 aken
2 eñi
3 oum
4 epi
5 ango/angngo
6 ake
7 kenne
8 pine
9 kora
10 íri



Singular Plural
1st person ngo ngu-lu
2nd person no nu-lu
3rd person bu, bú bu-lu, bú-lu


  1. Mising at Ethnologue (15th ed., 2005)
  2. Moseley, Christopher (2007). Encyclopedia of the world's endangered languages. Routledge. p. 298. ISBN 978-0-7007-1197-0. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  3. Post, Mark W. (2013). Defoliating the Tani Stammbaum: An exercise in areal linguistics. Paper presented at the 13th Himalayan Languages Symposium. Canberra, Australian National University, Aug 9.
  4. http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/lang/10414
  5. Hill Miri Audio
  6. Nabam Tadar Rikam, "Emerging religious Identities of Arunachal Pradesh", Mittal Publications, 2005
  7. Ju Namkung, "Phonological inventories of Tibeto-burman languages", Center for Southeast Asia Studies, University of California, 1996
  8. Value unclear, perhaps [nʲ]?
  9. Value unclear, perhaps [t͡ʃ]?
  10. Value unclear, perhaps [d͡ʒ]?
  11. Transcribed ɯ, y, ɤ, a in Namkung

Further reading

External links

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