Chungli Ao
Native toIndia
EthnicityAo Naga
Native speakers
130,004 (2011 census)[1][2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

Chungli Ao is the prestige dialect of Ao and it is a Sino-Tibetan language of northeast India. It is the most widely spoken of the Ao languages which also comprise Mongsen Ao and Changki. It is taught up to the tenth grade in schools of the Mokokchung district. It is also spoken by the Ao Nagas of Nagaland, a hill state in northeast India. Being the official language of religion, the dialect has a Bible translation and is used in church services as well as to make public announcements.[3] A local Chungli newspaper is also published online.[4] The number of speakers who reported Chungli Ao as their mother tongue are approximately 130,000 according to the 2011 census report of India. A phonological reconstruction of Proto-Central-Naga has been compiled by Daniel Bruhn[5]


During the American Baptist Mission to Naga Hills, Dr E.W. Clark first came in contact with the Molungkimong village that paved the way for a common Ao language. Chungli Ao is spoken in Molungkimong and Molungyimsen and other villages throughout Ao territory by roughly 50% of the Ao-speaking population. The speech of Molungkimong is the prestige dialect due to Baptist missionaries' influence. Most Ao can speak Chungli even if they are from Mongsen-speaking regions. Chungli is taught in schools. Various trans-Dikhu neighbouring dialects of Chungli Ao are spoken east of the Dikhu River in Yacham, Tengsa, and Longla. These are poorly documented; Yacham and Tengsa may be separate languages (van Driem 2001).


Number system[6]
× Numeral Cardinal number Ordinal number
1 1 ka tamaba
2 2 ana tanabuba
3 3 asem asembuba
4 4 pezü
5 5 pungu
6 6 terok
7 7 tenet
8 8 ti
9 9 teku
10 10 ter
11 11 terka
12 12 ter ana
13 13 ter asem
14 14 ter pezü
15 15 ter pongu
16 16 ter terok
17 17 ter tenet
18 18 ter ti
19 19 ter teku
20 20 metsü


Chungli Ao is a tonal language. There are three distinct tonal levels: low, mid and high. There is evidence to prove that low and mid as well as low and high are contrastive. Chungli also has two contour tones, which are high-low and low-mid, though they are quite rare.


Front Central Back
High i ɨ u
Mid e ə
Low a


Bilabial Dental/
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k ʔ
Affricate ts
Fricative voiceless s ʃ h
voiced z
Approximant lateral l
central w ɹ j


1) Chungli Ao is an agglutinative language where the verbs lack person and number marking. For example:


me- NEG             -maʔ ‘completely’   -tsɨʔ BEN             -tsɨ IRR
te- PROH            -et ‘persistently’  -tep RECIP            -əɹ PRES 
                     etc.                etc.                  etc. 

This applies for both finite and non-finite forms of the verb.

2) The following table shows the case marking present in Chungli Ao.[3]

Case marking
× Agentive case Instrumental case Allative case Ablative case Locative case
i i i nuŋi nuŋ


  1. ^ "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  2. ^ Coupe, A. R. (1 January 2007). A Grammar of Mongsen Ao. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110198522.
  3. ^ a b Coupe, Alexander (1 October 2011). "On core case marking patterns in two Tibeto-Burman languages of Nagaland". Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area. 34: 21–47.
  4. ^ "English | Tir Yimyim". Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  5. ^ [1] A Phonological Reconstruction of Proto-Central Naga
  6. ^ "Numbers in Chungli Ao". Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  7. ^ a b Bruhn, Daniel (2009). "The Tonal Classification of Chungli Ao Verbs". UC Berkeley PhonLab Annual Report. 5 (5).