Kuki-Chin–Naga languages

"Naga language" redirects here. For Naga Bikol, see Bikol languages.
(geographic / cultural)
Southeast Asia
Linguistic classification:


  • Kuki-Chin–Naga
Glottolog: kuki1245[1]

The Kuki-Chin–Naga languages are a geographic clustering of languages of the Sino-Tibetan family in James Matisoff's classification used by Ethnologue, which groups it under the non-monophyletic "Tibeto-Burman".[2] Their genealogical relationship both to each other and to the rest of Sino-Tibetan is unresolved, but Matisoff lumps them together as a convenience pending further research.

The languages are spoken by the ethnically related Naga people of Nagaland, the Chin (Kuki) people of Burma, and the Kuki people. The larger among these languages have communities of several tens of thousands of native speakers, and a few have more than 100,000, such as Mizo (674,756 in India as of 2001[3]), Thadou (150,000) or Mongsen Ao (140,000).

None of these ethnicities corresponds to a linguistic unit. "Kuki" and "Chin" are essentially synonyms, whereas the Naga speak languages of several families. The established families are:

Meithei, the official language of Manipur, is also often included. The Konyak languages of Nagaland, also spoken by ethnic Naga, are not grouped within Kuki-Chin–Naga, but rather within Brahmaputran (Sal). Ethnologue adds Koki, Long Phuri, Makuri, and Para, all unclassified, and all distant from other Naga languages they've been compared to, though Koki is perhaps closest to (or one of) the Tangkhul languages, and the other three may belong together.


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Kuki-Chin–Naga". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. SIL Ethnologue
  3. Distribution of the 100 non-scheduled languages


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