Mongsen Ao
Native toIndia
EthnicityAo Naga
Native speakers
104,003 (2011 census)[1][2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
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A Mongsen Ao speaker speaking Mongsen and English.

Mongsen Ao is a member of the Ao languages, a branch of the Sino-Tibetan languages, predominantly spoken in central Mokokchung district of Nagaland, northeast India. Its speakers see the language as one of two varieties of a greater "Ao language," along with the prestige variety Chungli Ao.[2]

A chapter in the anthropological monograph of Mills (1926) provides a grammatical sketch of the variety of Mongsen Ao spoken in Longjang village. Coupe (2003) is one of the few acoustic studies published on a Kuki-Chin-Naga language (only three exist). Coupe (2007) is a reference grammar of the language, based on a revision of his PhD dissertation (Coupe 2004).


The Ao alphabet is based on the Latin script and was developed in the 1880s by the Christian missionary Edward W. Clark for Chungli Ao. The system is not based on phonemic principles and does not represent tone. A Christian Bible was published using the orthography in 1964. Coupe (2003) suggests a more consistent alphabet for Mongsen Ao.

A, B, Ch, E, I, J, K, L, M, N, Ng, O, P, R, S, T, U, Y, Z


This section describes the sound system of Mongsen Ao as spoken in Mangmetong village and is based on Coupe (2007).


Mongsen Ao has 6 vowels:

Front Central Back
modal creaky
Close i ʉ u
Mid ə
Open a


Mongsen Ao has 27 consonants:

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ̊ŋ
Plosive p t k
Affricate t͡sʰt͡s t͡ʃʰt͡ʃ
Fricative sz h
Approximant ɹ̥ɹ j ʍw
Lateral l


Ao is a tonal language with 3 contrasting lexical tones:

All are register tones.

Syllable and phonotactics

The generalized syllable structure of Ao is abbreviated as the following:







All syllables occur with one of the three tones. In a VG sequence, tone only occurs the vowel head.

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2008)


Ao is an SOV language with postpositions. Adjectives, numerals and demonstratives follow the nouns they modify, whilst relative clauses may be either externally or internally headed. Adverbial subordinators are suffixes attached to the verb and the end of the subordinate clause.

See also


  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. ^ a b Coupe, A. R. (1 January 2007). A Grammar of Mongsen Ao. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110198522.