Native toNagaland, India
Native speakers
61,983 (2011 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3kix
ELPKhiamniungan Naga

Khiamniungan is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken by the Khiamniungan people in east-central Noklak District of Nagaland in northeastern India and in northwestern Burma. Most of the Khiamniungans in India are acquainted with Patsho Khiamniungan which is also one of the main languages within their geographical region.


Alternate names for Khiamniungan include Aoshedd, Khiamnga, Kalyokengnyu, Khiamngan, Khiamniungan, Nokaw, Tukhemmi, and Welam (Ethnologue).

Distribution and status

There are approximately 50,000 speakers of Khiamniungan. There are an estimated 29 Khiamniungan villages in India and 132 in Burma.[2] "Khiamniungan" is the autonym for the language, which means "the source of water" or "water people", whereas Kalyokengnyu is an exonym meaning "dwelling in stone", given to the group by European anthropologists after the slate roof houses the people lived in.[3] The low number of speakers of Khiamniugan makes it vulnerable, but it is taught in schools and supported by the government through cultural programs.[4]


Khamniungic fits into the following language branches, as proposed by van Dam (2023).[5]

Writing system

Like most languages spoken in Nagaland, Khiamniungan is written in a Latin alphabet, due to the early Christian missionary presence in the region.[6]

History of scholarship

Most of the information of Khiamniungan comes from its inclusion in studies of the Naga or Konyak languages by the Central Institute for Indian Languages in Mysore. There is also a Khiamniungan vocabulary published in 1974 by Nagaland Bhasha-Parishad.[7]

See also

Khiamniungan people


  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. ^ Pillai, S.K. (2001). The Water People: a Khiamniungan landscape. India International Centre Quarterly, Vol. 27/28, Vol. 27, no. 4/Vol. 28, no. 1: The Human Landscape, 95–108. Retrieved from JSTOR.
  3. ^ Matisoff, J. (1996). Languages and dialects of Tibeto-Burman (2nd ed., p. 76). Berkeley: STEDT.
  4. ^ Khiamniungan language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  5. ^ van Dam, Kellen Parker; Thaam, Keen (2023). A First Description of Wolam Ngio, a Khiamniungic Language of Nagaland and Myanmar. 56th International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, 10-12 October 2023. Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok.
  6. ^ Minahan, J. (2012). Nagas. In Ethnic Groups of South Asia and the Pacific: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO.
  7. ^ Kumāra, B. Bihārī. (1975). Hindi khiyamanna Angreji sabda-suci = Hindi Khiamngan English Vocabulary. Kohima: Nagaland Bhasha Parishad