Tangkhul language

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Native toIndia
RegionManipur, Nagaland
EthnicityTangkhul Naga
Native speakers
670,000 including Khangoi (2019)[1]
  • Ukhrul
  • Kupome (Luhupa)
  • Phadang
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3nmf

Tangkhul (Tangkhul Naga) is a Sino-Tibetan language of the Tangkhulic branch. It is spoken in 168 villages of Ukhrul district, Manipur, India, with speakers scattered in Nagaland and Tripura as well.

Within Ukhrul district, Manipur, Tangkhul is spoken in the villages of Hundung, Shiroi, Langdang, Lamlang Gate, Litan, Yangangpokpi, and other locations (Arokianathan 1995).

Tangkhul is not close to other Naga languages. It is a dialect continuum, in which speakers from neighboring villages may be able to understand each other, but a dialect farther north or south will be less easily understood, if at all. The lingua franca is the Hunphun (Ukhrul) dialect. Languages in the northern villages of chingjaroi, razai , jessami and soraphung have languages under the Angami-pochuri group of languages.

The language dialect spoken by the people of Hunphun (the traditional name of Ukhrul) became the most common dialect among the Tangkhuls because the British set up their administration in Ukhrul. The American Baptist missionary Rev. William Pettigrew translated the Bible into the Hunphun dialect.



Bilabial Labio-
Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t k ʔ
Fricative voiceless f s h
voiced z
Nasal m n ŋ
Rhotic r
Lateral l
Approximant w ʋ j
  • Stop sounds /p t tʃ k/ may have voiced allophones [b d dʒ ɡ] in free variation.
  • /m/ may be heard as [ɱ] when preceding /f/ or /ʋ/.
  • /r/ can be heard as [r] or [ɾ] in free variation.


Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Mid e ə o
Open a
  • /i e a u/ can have allophone sounds of [ɪ ɛ ɐ ɯ] in free variation.[2]


  1. Tangkhul at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Ahum, Victor (1997). Tangkhul-Naga grammar: a study of word formation. New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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