Native toArunachal Pradesh, India
Native speakers
29,000 (2011 census)[1]
  • Tani
    • Western Tani
      • Subansiri
        • Galo
  • ?Karka
  • ?Gensi
  • Taipodia
  • Zɨrdo
  • Lare
  • Pugo
Language codes
ISO 639-3adl

The Galo language is a Sino-Tibetan language of the Tani group, spoken by the Galo people. Its precise position within Tani is not yet certain, primarily because of its central location in the Tani area and the strong effects of intra-Tani contacts on the development of Tani languages. It is an endangered language according to the general definitions, but prospects for its survival are better than many similarly-placed languages in the world.


The major Galo dialects are Pugo, spoken around the district capital Aalo; Lare, spoken to the south of Aalo; and a dialect that can be called Kargu kardi, pertaining to the dialect spoken in the northwest near the Tagin area. There may be additional Galo dialects further north, which remains largely unresearched. There are numerous subdialects that often correspond to regional or clan groupings. Neighbouring languages include Assamese, Nepali, Bodo, Mising, Minyong, Hills Miri, Tagin, Nishi, Bori, Pailibo, Ramo and Bokar.

Post (2007:46) lists a provisional classification of Galo dialects.

Post (2013)[2] reclassified Karko as a variety of Bori.


Like most central and eastern Tani languages, Galo is largely synthetic and agglutinating. Two primary lexical tones are present – High and Low – which may reflect two Proto-Tani syllable tones; in modern Galo, the surface TBU (Tone-Bearing Unit) is the usually polysyllabic phonological word. A robust finite/non-finite asymmetry underlies Galo grammar, and clause chaining and nominalization are both rampant. No synchronic verb-serialization appears to exist, although what seems to have been proto-verb-serialization has developed into a very large and productive system of derivational suffixes to bound verbal roots.

Major (non-derived) lexical classes are noun, adjective and verb. Other grammatical features include postpositions, relator nouns, classifiers, an extremely large system of aspectual suffixes, and a rich set of constituent-final particles coding functions related to epistemological status (such as evidentiality), discourse/pragmatic status, modality, and other related functions. Case-marking is basically accusative; ergativity has not been found.


Galo language is taught as third language in schools of areas dominated by Galo community.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Galo at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Mark W. Post. 2013. 'The defoliation of the Tani Stammbaum: A positive-minded exercise in contact linguistics.' Paper presented at the 19th Himalayan Languages Symposium, Australian National University, Sep. 9-10.
  3. ^ "Arunachal to Preserve 'Dying' Local Dialects - North East Today". Archived from the original on 2018-08-25. Retrieved 2017-03-13.

Further reading