Jingpho language

Not to be confused with Jili language.
Pronunciation tɕiŋ˧˩pʰɔʔ˧˩
Native to Burma, China, India
Region Kachin State, Yingjiang County
Ethnicity Jingpo
Native speakers
ca. 940,000 (1999–2001)[1]
Latin alphabet&Burmese alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-2 kac
ISO 639-3 Variously:
kac  Jingpho
sgp  Singpho
tcl  Taman
Glottolog jing1260[2]

Jingpho (Jinghpaw, Chingp'o) or Kachin (Burmese: ကချင်ဘာသာ [kətɕɪ̀ɴ bàðà]) is a Sino-Tibetan language of the Sal branch mainly spoken in Kachin State, Burma and Yunnan, China. The term "Kachin language" can refer either to the Jingpho language or to a group of languages spoken by various ethnic groups in the same region as Jingpo: Lisu, Lashi, Rawang, Zaiwa, Lhao Vo, Achang and Jingpho. These languages are from distinct branches of the highest level of the Sino-Tibetan family. The Jingpho alphabet is based on the Latin script. Now,the Jinghpo language is also written in Burmese script widely.

The ethnic Jingpho (or Kachin) are the primary speakers of Jingpho language, numbering approximately 900,000 speakers.[3] The Turung of Assam in India speak a Jingpho dialect with many Assamese loanwords, called Singpho.

Jingpho syllable finals can consist of vowels, nasals, or oral stops.


There are at least 16 Jingphoish (Kachinic) varieties (Kurabe 2014:59). The demographic and location information listed below is drawn from Kurabe (2014). Standard Jingpho and Nkhum are the best described varieties, whereas the Jingphoish varieties of India have been recently documented by Stephen Morey. Jingphoish varieties in northern Kachin State remain underdescribed.

The Ethnologue lists Dulong (Dalaung, Duleng), Dzili (Jili), Hkaku (Hka-Hku), and Kauri (Gauri, Guari, Hkauri). According to the Ethnologue, Dzili might be a separate language, whereas Hkaku and Kauri are only slightly different.

Other underdescribed Jingphoish varieties include Mungji and Zawbung.[4]


Small pockets of Jingpho speakers are also scattered across Gengma County 耿马县, including the following villages (Dai Qingxia 2010).[6] Dai (2010) also includes 1,000-word vocabulary lists of the Yingjiang 盈江, Xinzhai 新寨, and Caoba 草坝 dialects.



Singpho (Northwestern Jingphoish) varieties of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, India include the following.

Internal classification

Kurabe (2014) classifies 7 Jingphoish dialects as follows.

The Southern branch is characterized the loss of Proto-Jingpho final stop *-k in some lexical items. The Northern branch is characterized by the following mergers of Proto-Jingpho phonemes (Kurabe 2014:60).


Jingpho has verbal morphology that marks the subject and the direct object. Here is one example (the tonemes are not marked). The verb is 'to be' (rai).

person and number present past
1sg rai n ngai/ရဲဏ(ေအန္)ငဲ rai sa ngai/ရဲသငဲ
2sg rai n dai/ရဲဏ(ေအန္)ဒဲ rai sin dai/ရဲသိန္ဒဲ
3sg rai ai/ရဲအဲ rai sai/ရဲသဲ
1pl rai ga ai /ရဲဂအဲ rai sa ga dai/ရဲသဂဒဲ
2pl rai ma dai /ရဲမဒဲ rai ma sin dai/ရဲမသိန္ဒဲ
3pl rai ma ai/ရဲမအဲ rai ma sai/ရဲမသဲ


Kachin writing is one of the easiest writing systems of the Tibeto-Burman languages. It's a Latin-based alphabet which contains 23 letters, diacritical marks are not used. It was originally created by American missionaries-Baptists in the late 19th century. Among the founders of the first role was Ola Hanson, who arrived in Burma in 1890, learned the language and wrote the first Kachin-English dictionary. In 1965, the alphabet was reformed.But now,Burmese script is also used to write Jinghpo language:[16]


IPA Burmanized AlphabetOld
IPA Burmanized AlphabetOld
IPA Burmanized Alphabet Old
IPA Burmanized Alphabet
b b [p] py py [pj-] ပ် r r [ʒ] k k [k-]က
p p [p-] hpy hpy [phj] ဖ် l l [l] hk hk [kj]
hp hp [ph] my my [mj]မ် y y [j] ng gr [kʒ]ျဂ
m m [m] d d [t] z z [ts] gy kr [kʒ-]ၾက
w w [w] t t [t-] ts ts [ts-] ky hkr [khʒ]ျခ
- f [f]ဖွ ht ht [th] - zh [tsh] khy gy [kj]ခ်
- br [pʒ] ျဗ n n [n] j j [tʃ]ဂ် - ky [kj-]က်
- pr [pʒ-]ျပ ny ny j] chy chy [tʃ-] ဆ် - hky [khj]ကွ်
- hpr [p]ျဖ s s [s] - ch [tʃh] - ng [ŋ]
by by [pj]ဗ် sh sh [ʃ] ရွ g g [k] - h [x]


IPABurmanized alphabet Old
IPA Burmanized alphabet Old
IPABurmanized alphabet Old
IPABurmanized alphabet
i i [i] -ိ wi ui [ui]-ို en en [en]ေ- န္ awm om [om]ေ- ာမ္
e e [e]ေ- ip ip [ip]- ိပ္ eng eng [eŋ]ေ- င္ awn on [on]ေ- ာန္
a a [a]အ/- it it [it]-ိ တ္ ap ap [ap]အပ္/- ပ္ awng ong [oŋ]ေ- ာင္
aw o [o] ေ- ာ ik ik [ik]- ိက္ at at [at]အတ္/- တ္ up up [up]- ုပ္
u u [u] -ု im im [im]- ိမ္ ak ak [ak]အက္/- က္ ut ut [ut]-ု တ္
- iu [iɑu] -ူ in in [in]- ိန္ am am [am]အမ္/- မ္ uk uk [uk]- ုက္
- iau [iu]- ဳ႕ ing ing [iŋ]-ိ င္ an an [an]အန္/- န္ um um [um]-ု မ္
ai ai [ai] -ဲ ep ep [ep]ေ- ပ္ ang ang [aŋ] အင္/- င္ un un [un]- ုန္
au au [au]ေ- ာ္ et et [et]ေ- တ္ awp op [op]ေ- ာပ္ ung ung [uŋ]- ုင္
oi oi [oi]-ြိ ek ek [ek] ေ- က္ awt ot [ot]ေ- ာတ္
- ua [uɑ]-ြ em em [em]ေ- မ္ awk ok [ok]ေ- ာက္


Jingpho (Jinghpaw) language has five tones. For example:

Tones are not usually marked in writing.


  1. Jingpho at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Singpho at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Taman at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Jingpho". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. "Ethnologue report for ISO 639 code: kac". www.ethnologue.com. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  4. http://researchmap.jp/kur1/?lang=english
  5. 1 2 Liu Lu. 1984. Jingpozu yuyan jianzhi, pp.121-122. Beijing: Nationalities Press.
  6. 1 2 Dai Qingxia [戴庆厦]. 2010. The Status Quo and Evolution of Language Use of The Jingpo Nationality in Gengma [耿马县景颇族语言使用现状及其演变]. Beijing: Commercial Press [商务印书馆]. ISBN 9787100071529
  7. 1 2 3 Yunnan Gazetteer Commission [云南省地方志编纂委员会] (ed). 1998. Yunnan Provincial Gazetteer, Vol. 59: Minority Languages Orthographies Gazetteer [云南省志. 卷五十九, 少数民族语言文字志], p.391. Kunming: Yunnan People's Press [云南人民出版社].
  8. http://www.ynszxc.gov.cn/villagePage/vIndex.aspx?departmentid=150088
  9. http://www.ynszxc.gov.cn/villagePage/vIndex.aspx?departmentid=150091
  10. http://www.ynszxc.gov.cn/villagePage/vIndex.aspx?departmentid=117803
  11. http://www.ynszxc.gov.cn/villagePage/vIndex.aspx?departmentid=80594
  12. http://www.ynszxc.gov.cn/villagePage/vIndex.aspx?departmentid=78065
  13. http://www.ynszxc.gov.cn/villagePage/vIndex.aspx?departmentid=61347
  14. http://www.ynszxc.gov.cn/villagePage/vIndex.aspx?departmentid=61335
  15. Yue, Ma La. (2006) Jingpo Dulianhua gaikuang [An overview of Duleng Jingpo]. Minzu Yuwen 2006(4): 68–81.
  16. Minglang Zhou. Multilingualism in China: the politics of writing reforms for minority languages. Berlin, 2003. ISBN 3-11-017896-6


Jingpho language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator
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