The Naga languages, spoken in Northeast India and adjacent regions of Myanmar, are less a linguistic group than a cultural classification, although all of them fall under the large subset of Tibeto-Burman which combines Kuki-Chin languages with Naga. The exception to this is the Konyak languages, mostly spoken in Arunachal Pradesh and adjacent regions, which are classified together with Bodo-Garo and Jingpho. How secure these classifications are is hard to tell. The basis for much of the modern classification is the unpublished thesis of Marrison, dating from 1967. The Naga groups in Arunachal Pradesh are usually classified under the general heading of ‘Tangsa’. A number of small monographs have been published on Tangsa lects, which do not entirely map against the Ethnologue classification.


Major Naga groups


Typical lects


Tutsa, Moklum, Jugli


Ao, Lotha


Angami, Rengma, Sema







Bhattacharjee, Prafulla Kr. 1980. Tribal movement and process of conflict resolution in Nagaland. FMSC: 239-64.

Brown, Nathan. 1851. Specimens of the Naga language of Assam. Journal of the American Oriental Society (New Haven, CT) 2: 157-65. [Vocab.: Angwanku (Tableng), Banpara, Chungli, Khari, Mulung, Muthun, Namsangia, Nowgong, Tengima, Tengsa]

Butler, John. 1873. A rough comparative vocabulary of some of the dialects spoken in the 'Naga Hills' district. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Calcutta) 42. 1: App., I-XXIX. [Vocab.: Dimasa, Empeo, Lotha, Mikir, Rengma, Tengima, Thado]

Butler, John. 1875. A rough comparative vocabulary of two more of the dialects spoken in the Naga Hills. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Calcutta) 44. 1: 216-27. [Jaipuria (Nocte), Namsangia]

Damant, G. H. 1880. Notes on the locality and population of the tribes dwelling between the Brahmaputra and Ningthi rivers. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (London) 12: 228-58. [Vovab, TB: Anal, Andro, Angami, Dimasa (Hill Kachari), Meitrai Rabha, Rengma, Sema, Tableng, Thado, 254-8 - BSTL; TK: Ahom, Aiton, Khamti, Shan, 228-58 - SJS]

Elwin, Verrier. 1969. The Nagas in the nineteenth century. London: OxfordUniversity Press.

French, Walter Thomas. 1983. Northern Naga: a Tibeto-Burman mesolanguage, 2 vols. Ph. D. diss., The City University of New York, 763p. (DAI 44/05A-5106). [Comparison of Yogli, Moshang, Nocte, Wancho, Wakching, Phom, and Chang]

Hodson, Thomas Callan. 1911. The Naga tribes of Manipur. London. [Folktales of Naga, Khoirao, Sopvoma 192-8 - BSTL]

Jacobs, Julian. 1990. The Nagas. New York, N. Y.: Thames and Hudson.

Jacquesson, F. 1996. Langues tibéto-birmanes du Nord-est de l’Inde : investigations typologiques en Assam et au Nagaland. Journal asiatique, 284, 1:159-212.

Kauffmann, H. E. 1939. Kurze Ethnographie der nördlichen Sangtam Naga (Lophomi), Assam. Anthropos 34: 207-45.

Kauffmann, H. E. 1944. Uber das Schreiben der Naga-Sprachen und uber die Verkehrssprache der Naga-Berge. Ethnologischer Anzeiger 4. 8: 470-4.

Kauffmann, H. E. 1953. Songs of the Naga Hills (Micro-Bibliotheca Anthropos 4), Posieux (Fribourg). Switzerland. [Texts of Chang, Hlota (Lotha), Meithei, Rengma, Sema, Thado, Sangtam (Thukumi), Wakching]

Kauffmann, H. E. 1960. Das Fadenkreuz, sein Zweck und seine Bedeutung (I). Ethnologica n.s. 2: 39-69. [Weaving terms in Chungli, Mongsen, Chang, Lotha, Angami, Tangkhul, Mru, and Khumi - BSTL]

Kauffmann, H. E., and Marius Schneider. 1960. Lieder aus den Naga- Bergen. Liege. [Texts of Angwangku, Chakrima, Lotha, Meithei, Rengma, Sangtam, Sema, and Thado, 1-67 - BSTL]

Kumar, Braj Bihari 1996. An Introduction to the Naga Tribes. (MLBD Series in Linguistics vol. 10). Meerut: Pragati Prakashan Ltd

Luikham, R. 1983. Naga folk tales. New Delhi.

Manansala, Paul. 1994. The Naga Race. Kolkata: Firma KLM Pvt. Ltd. [viii, 100 p. 22 cm.]

Marrison, Geoffrey Edward. 1967. The Classification of the Naga Languages of North-East India. PhD dissertation, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. [I 292pp. /II 460pp]

Nag, Moni. 1964. Nagas. Ethnic groups of mainland Southeast Asia, ed. by Frank M. LeBar, Gerald C. Hickey, and John K. Musgrave, 44-49. New Haven, HRAF Press.

Sreedhar, M. V. 1974. Naga Pidgin: a sociolinguistic study of inter-lingual communication pattern in Nagaland (Central Institute of Indian Languages occasional monographs series; 8). Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages. [xi, 239 p., [1] leaf of plates: map ; 26 cm.]

Sreedhar, M. V. 1976. Standardization of Naga Pidgin. Anthropological Linguistics 18. 8: 371-9.

Sreedhar, M. V. 1985. Standardized grammar of Naga Pidgin (Central Institute of Indian Languages grammar series ; 14 [i. e. 12], Occasional monograph series ; 26). Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages. [x, 194 p. ; 25 cm.]

Shafer, Robert. 1950. The Naga branches of Kukish. RO 16: 467-530. [Comparative; TB: Champung, Changki, Chungli, Dayang, Empeo, Kabui, Kettena, Kezama, Khari, Khunggoi, Kukish, Kupomi, Longla, Luhupa, Lushei, Maram, Mongsen, Naga, Phadang, Rengma, Rong, Sopvoma, Tengima, Ukhrul, Yacham, Yachumi, Zumoni]

Shafer, Robert. 1953. Classification of the northernmost Naga languages. J. Bihar Res. Soc. 39.3: 225-64. [Comp. ; TB: Abeng, Angwangku, Atong, Awe, Banpara, Bodo, Chang, Chingmegnu, Chutiya, Dacca, Dimasa, Garo, Jalpaiguri, Konch, Mech, Moshang, Mulung, Mutonia, Namsangia, Ruga, Shangge, Tintikiya, Tipura]