Native toIndia
RegionMeghalaya, Assam
Native speakers
11,586 (2011 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3lyg

Lyngngam is an Austroasiatic language of Northeast India closely related to Khasi. Once listed as a dialect of Khasi, Lyngam has in recent literature been classified as a distinct language. Lyngam speakers have food and dress similar to the neighboring Garo people.


Consonant inventory

The following table lists the consonants attested in Lyngam.[2]

  Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/ /n/ /ɲ/ /ŋ/  
Stop voiceless /p/ /t/ /c/ /k/ /ʔ/
aspirated /pʰ/ /tʰ/ /cʰ/ /kʰ/  
voiced /b/ /d/ /ɟ/ /ɡ/  
Voiceless fricative   /s/     /h/
Liquid   /l, r/      
Glide /w/   /j/    

The main difference with the Khasi language is that Lyngngam does not possess the voiced aspirated series. Furthermore, Lyngngam does not have the phoneme /ç/. Words which have /ç/ in Khasi typically have /c/ or /s/ in Lyngngam,[3] as in the following pairs of cognates:

Lyngngam Khasi meaning
cʔeŋ çʔeŋ bone
cɨppʰeu çipʰeu 10
sɲjək çɲiuʔ hair
snaːr çnjaʔ chisel

Vowel inventory

The following table lists the vowel inventory of the language.[2] The only vowels showing a length distinction are /i/ and /a/, in contradistinction to Khasi, where length is distinctive for all vowels.

High /i, iː/ /ɨ/ /u/
Mid /e/ /ə/ /o/
Low /a, aː/

Words with diphthongs in Khasi have monophthongs in Lyngam,[3] as in the following pairs of cognates:

Lyngam Khasi meaning
bni bnaːi month
ksu ksəu dog
mot miet night


  1. ^ "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  2. ^ a b Nagaraja 1996, sect. 1
  3. ^ a b Nagaraja 1996, sect. 2