Native toIndia
RegionNicobar Islands
Native speakers
37,000 (2005)[1]
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3caq
ELPCar Nicobarese
Approximate location where Car is spoken
Approximate location where Car is spoken
Approximate location where Car is spoken
Approximate location where Car is spoken
Coordinates: 9°11′N 92°46′E / 9.19°N 92.77°E / 9.19; 92.77

Car () is the most widely spoken of the Nicobarese languages spoken in the Nicobar Islands of India.

Although related distantly to Vietnamese and Khmer, it is typologically much more akin to nearby Austronesian languages such as Nias and Acehnese, with which it forms a linguistic area.[2]

Car is a VOS language and somewhat agglutinative.[3] There is a quite complicated verbal suffix system with some infixes, as well as distinct genitive and "interrogative" cases for nouns and pronouns.[4]



Labial Alveolar/
Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive p t c k ʔ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Fricative f v s h
Tap ɾ ɽ
Approximant l j


Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Close-mid e ɤ o
Open-mid ɛ ə ɔ
Open (æ) a


Paul Sidwell (2017)[6] pulished in ICAAL 2017 conference on Nicobarese languages.

Word Car proto-Nicobarese
hot taɲ *taɲ
four fɛːn *foan
child kuːn *kuːn
lip (minuh) *manuːɲ
dog ʔam *ʔam
night hatəːm *hatəːm
male koːɲ *koːɲ
ear naŋ *naŋ
one heŋ *hiaŋ
belly (ʔac) *ʔac
sun (tavuːj) -
sweet (pacaːka) -


  1. ^ Car at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Cysouw, Michael; Quantitative explorations of the world-wide distribution of rare characteristics, or: the exceptionality of north-western European languages Archived 2009-05-14 at the Wayback Machine; pp. 11-12
  3. ^ WALS: Nicobarese
  4. ^ Whitehead, Rev. G.; Dictionary of the Car (Nicobarese) language; published 1925 by American Baptist Mission Press; pp. xxvi-xxxii
  5. ^ Sidwell, Paul (2015). Car Nicobarese. The Handbook of Austroasiatic Languages: Leiden: Brill. pp. 1231–1240.
  6. ^ Sidwell, Paul. 2017. "Proto-Nicobarese Phonology, Morphology, Syntax: work in progress". International Conference on Austroasiatic Linguistics 7, Kiel, Sept 29-Oct 1, 2017.