Central Naga
EthnicityAo Naga
Nagaland, India
Linguistic classificationSino-Tibetan
ISO 639-3njo

The Ao language is a Naga language spoken by the Ao Naga in Nagaland of northeast India.

Ao language cluster

Ethnologue lists the following varieties of Ao.

Chongli and Mongsen are nearly mutually unintelligible.

Mills (1926) lists the Ao Naga tribes of Nagaland as speaking three languages: Chungli, Mongsen, and Changki. Chungli Ao and Mongsen Ao are spoken in majority of the Ao villages, whereas Changki speakers form the minor speakers.

Mongsen Ao is spoken primarily in the western part of Ao territory.

Changki Ao is spoken only in 3 villages - Changki, Japu and Longjemdang - which is poorly documented though reportedly related to Mongsen Ao. Some Changki speakers can fluently converse in both Mongsen and Chungli, but a Mongsen Ao cannot speak Changki or understand it, whereas a Chungli can hardly understand or speak Changki. Chungli Ao and Mongsen Ao are not mutually intelligible.[1]

The speech of each Ao village has its own distinctive characteristics. Many villages contain both Chungli and Mongsen speakers.


[1] [2]


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


Labial Alveolar Retroflex Dorsal Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Stop plain p b t d k g ʔ
Affricate t͡s t͡ɕ d͡ʑ
Fricative s z ɭ˔ ɕ
Tap ɾ
Approximant w l j


This language has 3 tones, mid tone ˧ rising tone ˩˥ and falling tone ˥˩.


  1. ^ Escamilla, R. M. (2012). An Updated Typology of Causative Constructions: Form-Function Mappings in Hupa (California Athabaskan), Chungli Ao (Tibeto-Burman), and Beyond. Unpublished PhD dissertation, U.C. Berkeley.

See also