Zou language

Zo, Zomi
Native to Burma, India

In Burma: Chin State, Tiddim, Chin Hills;

In India: Manipur, Chandel, Singngat subdivision and Sungnu area; Churachandpur districts; Assam.
Ethnicity Zou
Native speakers
82,000 (2001–2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 zom
Glottolog zouu1235[3]

Zou (literally "of the hills"), or Zo, Zomi, Yo, Yaw, or Jo,[4] is a Northern Kukish language[2] originating in northwestern Burma and spoken also in Manipur in northeastern India, where the name is spelled Zou.

The name Zou is sometimes used as a cover term for the languages of all Kukish and Chin peoples. (See Zo people.)

Linguistic relations

As can be seen from the name Zo ("of the hills") and Mizoram ("people hill country"), Zo among the Northern Kukish languages is closely related to the Central Kukish languages such as the Lushai or Mizo language (endonym in Lushai is Mizo ṭawng), the main language of Mizoram.

Relation to Paite language

Zou as spoken in India is similar to the Paite language of the Paite, though Zou does not have the guttural stop W.[5][6]

Geographical extent

At its largest extent, the geographic area covered by the language group is a territory of approximately 60,000 square miles (160,000 km2) in size, in Burma, India and Bangladesh.[7] However political boundaries and political debates have distorted the extent of the area in some sources.[8]

In Burma

It is used in Chin State, Tiddim, and the Chin Hills. Use of Burmese has increased in the Zo speaking Chin State since the 1950s.[9] Ethnologue reports that Zou is spoken in the following townships of Myanmar.

In India

In Bangladesh

In Bangladesh it is used by the Bom people.[11][12]


  1. Zou at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. 1 2 Haokip, Pauthang (2011). Socio-linguistic Situation in North-east India. Concept Publishing Company. p. 55. ISBN 8180697606.
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Zou". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. http://www.wordpress.com/files/nikonghong[] /the_Chin_Hill_vol_1
  5. Bareh, Hamlet (2001). "Zou". Encyclopaedia of North-East India: Manipu. Mittal. pp. 260ff. ISBN 978-81-7099-790-0. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  6. Their language is called Zou which is similar to the language spoken by the Paite. Unlike the Zou, the Paite possess the terminal glottal stop 'h'. For example, a word for 'good' is hoih in Paite while it changes into hoi in the Zou language. Sannemla (Zou folksongs) are also popular among the Paite, although they are rendered in their individual dialect bearing the characteristic phonetic differences. Singh, Kumar Suresh; Horam, M. & Rizvi, S. H. M. (1998). People of India: Manipur. Anthropological Survey of India by Seagull Books. p. 253. ISBN 978-81-7154-769-2.
  7. Encyclopaedia of South-Asian tribes - Volume 8 - Page 3436 Satinder Kumar - 2000 "According to the 1981 census, 12,515 persons speak the Zou language"
  8. But against the background of all such conflict the Zomi National Congress went a step further in its argument for a Zomi identity by claiming Thado language as Zomi language. In the Kuki-Chin group of tribes, numerical strength has played ... Gopalakrishnan, Ramamoorthy (1996). Socio-political framework in North-East India. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House. p. 150. OCLC 34850808.
  9. Evaluating the Impact of Family Devotions Upon Selected Families from the Zomi Christian Community of Tulsa (oclc 645086982) - Page 7, Nang Khen Khup, Thesis, Oral Roberts University - 2007 The Zomi language is descended from the Tibeto-Burman language domain. Though each tribal group speaks its own dialect, Burmese is widely used in Zoland (Chinland) due to Burmanization of military regime for over five decades
  10. Shyamkishor, Ayangbam. "In Search of Common Identity: A Study of Chin-Kuki-Mizo Community in India" (PDF). International Journal of South Asian Studies: A Biannual Journal of South Asian Studies. 3 (1): 131140. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 March 2012.
  11. Loncheu, Nathan (2013). Dena, Lal, ed. Bawmzos: A Study Of The Chin-Kuki-Zo Tribes Of Chittagong. New Delhi: Akansha Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-8370-346-8.
  12. Reichle, Verena (1981). Bawm language and lore: Tibeto-Burman area. Europäische Hochschulschriften series 21, Linguistik: volume 14. Bern, Switzerland: P. Lang. ISBN 978-3-261-04935-3.

Further reading

Zou language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator
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