Burma, Bangladesh
Linguistic classificationSino-Tibetan

Mruic or Mru–Hkongso is a small group of Sino-Tibetan languages consisting of two languages, Mru and Anu-Hkongso. Their relationship within Sino-Tibetan is unclear. However, it shares similarities with Bodo-Garo languages

Peterson & Wright (2009)[1] proposed the name Mru–Hkongso. DeLancey (2021) also uses the name Mru–Hkongso.[2]


Matisoff (2015)[3][4] classifies Mru as part of the Northeast Indian areal group, a linkage[5] that includes Bodo-Garo, Tani, Deng (Digaro), "Kuki-Chin–Naga", Meithei, Mikir.

On the other hand, Bradley (1997) classifies Mru as part of Lolo-Burmese, based on Löffler's (1966) observations that Mru shares many phonological and lexical resemblances with Lolo-Burmese.[6][7]

The Mru-Hkongso group was first proposed by Peterson & Wright (2009),[1] who do not consider it to be a subgroup of Lolo-Burmese.

Peterson (2017:205)[8] notes that Mru and Hkongso do not have any features characteristic of Kuki-Chin languages that have been identified by VanBik (2009),[9] including lack of the sound change Proto-Tibeto-Burman *s > , lack of Kuki-Chin-type verb stem alternation, and lack of the singular first person pronoun (1.SG) *kaj which is present in most Kuki-Chin languages.

Peterson (2009)[10] considers Mru-Hkongso to be a separate Tibeto-Burman branch, and notes the following similarities between Mru-Hkongso and Bodo–Garo languages.

Peterson (2009)[10] considers the similarities with Bodo–Garo to be due to the possible early split of Mruic from a Tibeto-Burman branch that included Bodo–Garo (see also Central Tibeto-Burman languages and Sal languages).


Both Mru and Hkongso display SVO (subject-verb-object) order instead of the SOV word order typical of most Tibeto-Burman languages.[10][11][12] Bai, Sinitic, and Karenic are the only other Sino-Tibetan language branches with primarily verb-medial (SVO) word order.


  1. ^ a b Peterson, David A. and Jonathan Wright. 2009. Mru-Hkongso: a new Tibeto-Burman grouping. Paper presented at The 42nd International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics (ICSTLL 42), Chiang Mai.
  2. ^ DeLancey, Scott (2021). "Classifying Trans-Himalayan (Sino-Tibetan) languages". The Languages and Linguistics of Mainland Southeast Asia. De Gruyter. pp. 207–224. doi:10.1515/9783110558142-012.
  3. ^ Matisoff, James A. 2015. The Sino-Tibetan Etymological Dictionary and Thesaurus. Berkeley: University of California. (PDF)
  4. ^ Matisoff, James A. (2003). Handbook of Proto-Tibeto-Burman: System and Philosophy of Sino-Tibetan Reconstruction. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-520-09843-5.
  5. ^ DeLancey, Scott (2015). "Morphological Evidence for a Central Branch of Trans-Himalayan (Sino-Tibetan)". Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale. 44 (2): 122–149. doi:10.1163/19606028-00442p02.
  6. ^ Löffler, Lorenz G. (1966). "The contribution of Mru to Sino-Tibetan linguistics". Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. 116 (1): 118–159. JSTOR 43369896.
  7. ^ Bradley, David (1997). "Tibeto-Burman languages and classification" (PDF). Tibeto-Burman languages of the Himalayas, Papers in South East Asian linguistics. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 1–71.
  8. ^ Peterson, David. 2017. "On Kuki-Chin subgrouping." In Picus Sizhi Ding and Jamin Pelkey, eds. Sociohistorical linguistics in Southeast Asia: New horizons for Tibeto-Burman studies in honor of David Bradley, 189-209. Leiden: Brill.
  9. ^ VanBik, Kenneth. 2009. Proto-Kuki-Chin: A Reconstructed Ancestor of the Kuki-Chin Languages. STEDT Monograph 8. ISBN 0-944613-47-0.
  10. ^ a b c Peterson, David A. 2009. "Where does Mru fit into Tibeto-Burman?" Paper presented at The 42nd International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics (ICSTLL 42), November 2009, Payap University, Chiangmai, Thailand.
  11. ^ Ebersole, Harold. 1996. The Mru Language: A preliminary grammatical sketch. Ms.
  12. ^ Jonathan Michael Wright. 2009. Hkongso Grammar Sketch. MA thesis, Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics.

Further reading