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Miji languages

Miji
Dhammai
Sajolang
Native toIndia
RegionArunachal Pradesh, India and Shannan Prefecture, China
EthnicityMiji people
Native speakers
28,000 (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3sjl
Glottologsaja1240
ELPSajalong

Miji (autonym: Dmay[2]), also Dhammai or Sajolang, is a cluster of possibly Sino-Tibetan languages in Arunachal Pradesh, northeastern India. "Dialects" include at least two distinct languages, which are not particularly close, with only half of the vocabulary in common between the languages of East Kameng District and West Kameng District. Long assumed to be Sino-Tibetan languages, they may be a small independent language family.[3]

Varieties

There are 3 varieties of Miji.[4]

  • Western Miji: spoken in and around Nafra and Thrizino circles, West Kameng District. Western Miji speakers refer to themselves as the Sajalang (sadʑalaŋ) or Dhəmmai (ðəmmai) (Bodt & Lieberherr 2015:70).[5]
  • Eastern Miji: spoken in Lada Circle,[2] East Kameng District. Eastern Miji speakers refer to themselves as the Nəmrai (nəmrai) (Bodt & Lieberherr 2015:70).[5]

Bangru, sometimes called Northern Miji, is more divergent.[4] It is treated in a separate article.

Distribution

According to Ethnologue, Miji is spoken in the following areas of Arunachal Pradesh.

  • West Kameng District, Nafra circle, Bichom and Pakesa river valley – 25 villages including Debbing, Dichik, Rurang, Nachinghom, Upper Dzang, Naku, Khellong, Dibrick, Nizong, Najang, Zangnaching, Chalang, Nafra, and Lower Dzang
  • East Kameng District: Bameng and Lada circles – Wakke, Nabolong, Kojo, Rojo, Sekong, Panker, Zarkam, Drackchi, Besai, Naschgzang, Sachung, Gerangzing, Kampaa, Salang, Pego, and Dongko villages

I.M. Simon (1979:iii)[6] lists the following Miji villages from the Census of 1971.

  • 1. Chalang [Cinlang]
  • 2. Díbín [Díbín]
  • 3. Ditchik [Dícik]
  • 4. Dzang [Dzang]
  • 5. Jangnachin [Zanachin]
  • 6. Khazolang
  • 7. Khelong
  • 8. Laphozu
  • 9. Mathow
  • 10. Nakhu
  • 11. Nachibun
  • 12. Nizung
  • 13. Rurang

Smaller hamlets include Dishin [Dícin], Devrik [Dívih], Diyung [Diyong], Nazang [Natsang], Nanthalang, and Otung [Uthung]. Some Mijis have also live in Aka villages such as Dijungania, Buragaon, Tulu, Sarkingonia, and Yayung.

Phonology

Consonants

In all Miji languages the "p" "f" "t" and "k" sounds are always aspirated.[2]

Consonant phonemes
  Bilabial Labio-
dental
Dental Alveolar Post-
alveolar

(Palato-
alveolar
)
Retroflex Palatal Palata-
lized
velar
Labia-
lized
velar
Glottal
Plosive b         d                 ɡ ʔ  
Affricate             ts       tc              
Fricative     v θ ð s z ʃ ʒ       ʐ x       ɣʷ
Lateral fricative             ɬ ɮ                        
Nasal   m           n       ɳ   ɲ            
Trill               r                        
Tap or flap                       ɽ                
Approximant       ʋ                   j       w    
Lateral approximant               l       ɭ                

Vowels

Monophthong phonemes
  Front Central Central
rhotacized
Back
Close i     u
Close-mid e ə/ɨ[ə]   o
Open-mid ɛ     ʌɔ
Open     a  

Tones

The Miji languages have a relatively simple tonal system with only two tone: high and low. There is a third rising tone but it is so scarcely used that in some of the languages it is disregarded completely.[2]

References

  1. ^ Miji at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ a b c d Blench, Roger. 2015. The Mijiic languages: distribution, dialects, wordlist and classification. m.s.
  3. ^ Blench, Roger; Post, Mark (2011), (De)classifying Arunachal languages: Reconstructing the evidence (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-26 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b Blench, Roger; Post, Mark (2011), (De)classifying Arunachal languages: Reconstructing the evidence (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-26 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b Bodt, Timotheus Adrianus; Lieberherr, Ismael (2015). "First notes on the phonology and classification of the Bangru language of India". Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area. 38 (1): 66–123. doi:10.1075/ltba.38.1.03bod.
  6. ^ Simon, I. M. 1979. Miji Language Guide. Shillong: Directorate of Research, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.

Further reading


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