Miji languages

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

Miji, also given the dialect names Sajolang and Dhammai, is a dialect cluster traditionally counted as one of the Sino-Tibetan languages that is spoken in Arunachal Pradesh, northeastern India. The varieties 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, Miji and the recently discovered Bangru language may instead form a small independent language family.[2]


There are two divergent varieties of Miji:[2]

  • 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).[3]
  • Eastern Miji: spoken in Lada Circle,[4] East Kameng District. Eastern Miji speakers refer to themselves as the Nəmrai (nəmrai) (Bodt & Lieberherr 2015:70).[3]

Bangru (treated in a separate article), sometimes called "Northern Miji", is more divergent.


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, Ditchik, 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)[5] 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.



In all Miji varieties the "p" "t" and "k" sounds are always aspirated.[4][6]

Consonant phonemes
Labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɳ ɲ ŋ
Plosive voiceless ʈʰ ʔ
voiced b d ɖ ɡ
Affricate voiceless ts
voiced dz
Fricative voiceless f θ s ʃ ʂ x h
voiced v ð z ʒ ʐ ʑ ɦ
voiceless ɬ
voiced ɮ
Rhotic r ɽ
Approximant ʋ l, ɫ ɭ j w


Monophthong phonemes
  Front Central Back
Close i ə ~ ɨ u
Close-mid e o
Open-mid ɛ   ʌɔ
Open   a ~ ɑ


The Miji languages have a relatively simple tonal system with only two tones: 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.[4]


  1. Miji at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Blench, Roger; Post, Mark (2011), (De)classifying Arunachal languages: Reconstructing the evidence (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-26
  3. 3.0 3.1 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.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Blench, Roger. 2015. The Mijiic languages: distribution, dialects, wordlist and classification. m.s.
  5. Simon, I. M. 1979. Miji Language Guide. Shillong: Directorate of Research, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.
  6. Weedall, Christopher S. (2021). A grammar of West Kameng Sajolang (Miji) (Upper Dzang and Khellong villages). Australian National University.