Sopvoma language

From Bharatpedia, an open encyclopedia

| Sopvoma, Emela, Mao' La |
Native toIndia
RegionNagaland, Manipur
EthnicityMao Naga, Poumai Naga
Native speakers
240,205 (2011 census)[1]
  • Paomata
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
nbi – Mao
pmx – Poumai

Sopvoma or Mao is an Angami–Pochuri language spoken primarily in Senapati district, northwestern Manipur and in Nagaland, India. It is similar to Angami. According to Ethnologue (2009), the Paomata dialect may be the same as Poumei (Poumai) Naga, which has received a separate ISO code.

See Mao Naga Language for further details.

Mao is somewhat similar to the Sino-Tibetian[2] languages in terms of grammar and style of use.

A story referring to the Angami peoples and the Mao peoples (Not to be confused with China's ex-chairman) shows how the two amicably split into the north and south (i.e Nagaland, Manipur), also showing why the two languages are similar.

The script has been lost for years, following a story where a mouse/mice ate the script written on animal-skin causing the script to be lost and ultimately leading to illiteracy in the area, therefore the Latin script has been used.

Examples of daily use[edit]

English Mao, Sopvoma Pronunciation Special rules
I Ai aii -
He Pfo fu -
Good Morning Chithu kayii Chithu Kayii This was influenced by English,

this greeting is in fact rarely used.

Hello Ni yia buze ma Ni yia buze maa There is no particuar word for

'Hello', we only ask 'How are you'.

Food Kheto Kheto -
Water Odzii O-dzii 'd' is nearly silent -



Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t k
aspirated (t̪ʰ)
voiced b (ɡ)
Affricate voiceless p͡f t͡s t͡ʃ
aspirated (p͡fʰ) t͡ʃʰ
voiced b͡v d͡z d͡ʒ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ h
voiced v z ʒ
Nasal m n ŋ
Trill voiced r
voiceless ʰr̥
Lateral l
Approximant (w) j
  • /t͡ʃʰ/ and /w/ only rarely occur, and with /t͡ʃʰ/ only occurring in word-initial position.
  • The pre-aspirated voiceless /ʰr̥/, may have a word-initial allophone of [ʂ], [ʂ] rarely occurs phonemically.
  • [ɡ] only occurs marginally from loanwords.
  • /t̪, p͡f/ in word-initial position may be heard as [t̪ʰ, p͡fʰ] in free variation, rarely as phonemic.
  • /h/ may have an allophone of [x] word-initially, word medially in free variation. [x] rarely occurs as a phoneme.
  • /m/ before a central vowel /ɨ/ can have an allophone of a labiodental [ɱ].
  • /n/ before high vowel sounds can have an allophone of a palatalized [nʲ].


Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Mid e (ə) o
Open a
  • [ə] only occurs inter-morphemically.
  • /ɨ/ can be heard as rounded [ʉ] in free variation.
  • In word-initial position, /i, u/ can be lowered to [ɪ, ʊ].
  • /e, o/ can be lowered to [ɛ, ɔ] in word-final position.[3]


  1. "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  2. "Sino-Tibetan languages", Wikipedia, 2 November 2021, retrieved 2 November 2021
  3. Giridhar, P. P. (1994). Mao Naga Grammar. Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages.

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