Sunday, March 26, 2023



All the major Naga tribes have their own language. In actual practice, the language, even within one tribal area, varies from village to village. There are about thirty languages. The multiplicity of Naga languages is mainly because of the living condition in the past, when villages were isolated and there was little of friendly inter-communication between them.

Naga languages in the Tibeto-Burman  family is divided into three groups; the western  sub-group, the central sub-group and the eastern sub-group. The western sub-group comprises Angami, Sema, Rengma and Chakhesang  languages; the central sub-group include Ao, Lotha and Phom languages; while the eastern sub-groups is made up of among others, Chang and Konyak  languages. 

It is interesting to find that some Naga tribes have borrowed Sanskrit words in their Assamese form.

The tribal groups, who do not understand one another's  language, converse in Naga-Assamese or Nagamese. It is a hybrid mixture of Assamese  and Naga languages  but serve as the lingua franca of the Naga people. It does not follow  any strict rules of grammar and is easy to pick up. Nagamese has no script. The  missionaries rendered  signal service to the Naga languages. They wrote the first grammar books and compiled vocabularies. The missionaries used the Roman script.

Hindi is well understood in Nagaland - even in the interior  areas. The state Assembly, in a resolution adopted on18 September 1967, recommended that English be used for all official purposes  within the state of Nagaland  indefinitely, and that English be included as one of the languages in the VIII schedule of the constitution. But, only a fraction of the population in the state speak or write English  with some degree of accuracy.