Kuki-Chin–Naga languages

(geographic / cultural)
Southeast Asia
Linguistic classificationSino-Tibetan
  • Kuki-Chin–Naga

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".[1] 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[2]), Thadou (150,000) or Lotha language (180,000).

one of these ethnicities corresponds to a linguistic unit. "Kuki" and "Chin" are essentially synonyms, whereas the Naga speak languages belonging to several Sino-Tibetan branches.


The established branches are:

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 have been compared to. Koki is perhaps closest to (or one of) the Tangkhulic languages, and the other three may belong together.

Classification within Sino-Tibetan

Scott DeLancey (2015)[3] considers Kuki-Chin–Naga to be part of a wider Central Tibeto-Burman group.


  1. ^ SIL Ethnologue
  2. ^ Distribution of the 100 non-scheduled languages
  3. ^ DeLancey, Scott. 2015. "Morphological Evidence for a Central Branch of Trans-Himalayan (Sino-Tibetan)." Cahiers de linguistique - Asie oriental 44(2):122-149. December 2015. doi:10.1163/19606028-00442p02


External links

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