Native toIndia
EthnicityAngami Naga
Native speakers
150,000 (2011 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3njm
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Angami (also: Gnamei, Ngami, Tsoghami, Tsugumi, Monr, Tsanglo, Tenyidie) is a Naga language spoken in the Naga Hills in the northeastern part of India, in Kohima district, Nagaland. In 2011, there is an estimate of 153,000 first language (L1) Angami speakers.[1] Under the UNESCO's Language Vitality and Endangerment framework, Angami is at the level of "vulnerable", meaning that it is still spoken by most children, but "may be restricted to certain domains".[2]



This table represents the consonantal structure of the Khonoma dialect.[3]

Labial Alveolar Post-
Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
plain labialized
Nasal voiceless m̥ʰ n̥ʰ ɲ̊ʰ
voiced m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ ɡʷ
aspirated kʷʰ
Affricate t͡s t͡ʃ
Fricative voiceless s ʃ h
voiced v z ʒ
Approximant voiceless l̥ʰ ɻ̊ ʍ
voiced l ɻ j w

Other dialects also contrast /tʃʰ dʒ/. [f] only occurs as an allophone of /p/. The velar fricative is in free variation with [h]. The post-alveolar approximants are truly retroflex (sub-apical) [ɻ̊ ɻ] before mid and low vowels, but laminal [ɹ̠̊ ɹ̠] before high vowels (/i u/).[3]

Angami voiceless nasals are unusual in that, unlike the voiceless nasals of Burmese, they have a positive rather than negative voice onset time—that is, they are aspirated rather than partially voiced. The same is true of the laterals. In both cases, the aspiration has the formants characteristic of Angami h, which is somewhat velar in pronunciation. The other voiceless approximants may not be aspirated, as the h-like formants occur during the entire hold of the consonant.[3]


The following are the vowels of the Khonoma dialect.[3]

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e ə o
Open a

The labial and labialized consonants have labiodental affricate allophones before /ə/ (but not in /Cɻə/ consonant clusters). In addition, about half the time, the rhotic becomes syllabic (a rhotic vowel) in this environment:

Phon. allophone
before /ə/
p pfə ~ fə ?[a]
(b) (bvə)[b]
m̥ʰ ɱ̊ʰə
m ɱə
kʷʰ kʰfə
ɡʷ ɡvə
ɻ ɻ̩ ~ ɚ

Angami syllables may be of the form V, CV, or CɻV. Attested clusters are /pʰɻ/, /pɻ/, /kʰɻ/, /kɻ/.[3]

Phonological reconstruction

Meyase (2023) recognizes southern, northern, and western dialects of Angami, including the following.[4]

Preliminary Proto-Tenyi lexical reconstructions by Meyase (2023), with supporting data from four Tenyidie dialects, are as follows.[4]

Gloss Proto-Tenyi Jokha (Southern 1) Kiwe (Southern 2) Kewhi (Northern) Khwüno (Western)
do *tsʰi tʰə́ cʰə́ tsʰə́ ʃə́
hurt *tsʰi tʰə̄ cʰə̄ tsʰə̄ ʃə̄
flesh *tsʰi tʰə̀ cʰə̀ tsʰə̀ ʃə̀
old *gwe gwé
bison *gwi gwí
wash hand *m-to metò metò metì metì
transform *m-vi meví meví meví meví
make good *p-vi meví meví peví peví
all *p-te metē metē petē petē
green *p-ɟo meɟò meɟò peɟò peʒiè
wait *kʰwe qʰwé kʰwé fé-pfʰé kʰwé
shawl *kʰwe qʰwè kʰwè fè-pfʰè kʰwè
bee *m-kʰwi oqʰwí akʰwí mefī mekʰwí
monkey *t-kwi oqwī akwī tepfī tekwī
tidy up *k-kwe qeqwè kekwè kepfè kekwè
to fly *pro prō prō pruō
strong *ko kuō
to walk *to tiò

Northern sound change innovations include:[4]

Southern sound change innovations include:[4]

Grammar and lexicon

A wealth of Angami grammars, lexicons are available in Tenyidie and in English. However, these collections often conflict in their analysis of the phonemic or syntactic nature of the language. This is due to the difference at the time of the documentation, and the choice of informants from varying dialect. Especially in the earlier language documentations (1870s–1960s), mostly by Christian missionary; their informants' meta-data were not specified and any dialect of Angami were assumed to be the "standard" of Angami within the Nagaland region. The Angami-English Phrasebook [5] and Angami-English-Hindi dictionary [6] available online.

Text collection

The complete Tenyidie bible was published in 1970. However, only the translated chapter of Genesis [7] from the bible was posted on the internet under The Rosetta Project. Also, Christian devotional materials such as The Bible...Basically® in Tenyidie [8] are also available online.

Another source of text is largely from the ethnic folktales (e.g. Angami Naga folklore by Sekhose, 1970) and especially from song lyrics written in Tenyidie. Other than Christian songs written by the Angami church community (e.g. Shieshülie songbook by Baptist Revival Church[9]), the rising rock music culture started to stir in the Nagaland as the music events and societies like the Hornbill National Rock Contest [10]

The next largest source of Tenyidie is the educational materials used in the Kohima schools and university. Although much of these texts are in printed forms, a query on the web does retrieve some Indian exams papers [11][12] that contain test questions on Tenyidie.

See also


  1. ^ a b Angami at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Moseley, Christopher (ed.). 2010. Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, 3rd edn. Paris, UNESCO Publishing. Online version:
  3. ^ a b c d e Blankenship, B. "Phonetic structures of Khonoma Angami" (PDF).
  4. ^ a b c d Meyase, Savio (2023). Historical Sound Changes within the Tenyidie (Angami) Language. 56th International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, 10-12 October 2023. Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok.
  5. ^ Rivenburg, S.W. (1905). Angami-English Phrasebook.
  6. ^ Giridha, P.P and Handoo, L. (1987). Angami-English-Hindi dictionary. "A n u k r i t i . N e T". Archived from the original on 12 November 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  7. ^ The Bible Society of India. (1970). The Holy Bible: Angami Naga – Genesis Translation. The Long Now Foundation.
  8. ^ Griffin, R. (n.d.). The Bible…Basically® in Tenyidie. "Tenyidie". Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  9. ^ Baptist Revival Church (2011). Shieshülie - Tenyidie songbook. Retrieved from Archived 29 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Hornbill Festival - Hornbill festival of Nagaland". Hornbill Festival. Retrieved 14 April 2018.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "Secondary School Syllabus" (PDF). Nagaland Board of School Education. pp. 48–52. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Higher Secondary School Syllabus for Classes 11 & 12" (PDF). Nagaland Board of School Education. p. 36. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.



  1. ^ Blankenship states that [f] is an allophone of /p/. However, in the text only [pf] is found. It is not clear if these are in free variation, or if one is perhaps an allophone of /pʰ/.
  2. ^ In Kohima, but not Khonoma dialect.