Native toIndia
EthnicityTai Phake people
Native speakers
2,000 (2007)[1]
Burmese script
(Phake variation,
called Lik-Tai)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3phk

The Phake language or Tai Phake language (တႝၸႃကေ, tai phākae) is a Tai language spoken in the Buri Dihing Valley of Assam, India. It is closely related to the other Southwestern Tai languages in Assam: Aiton, Khamti, Khamyang, and Turung.


Buragohain (1998) lists the following Tai Phake villages.

Tai Phake Villages (Morey 2005:22)
Tai name Translation of Tai name Assamese/English name District
ma꞉n3 pha꞉4 ke꞉5 taü3 Lower Phake village Namphakey Dibrugarh
ma꞉n3 pha꞉k4 ta꞉5 Other side of the river village Tipam Phake Dibrugarh
ma꞉n3 pha꞉4 ke꞉5 nɔ6 Upper Phake village Borphake Tinsukia
niŋ1 kam4 Ning kam Nagas Nigam Phake Tinsukia
ma꞉n3 pha꞉4 naiŋ2 Red sky village Faneng Tinsukia
məŋ2 la꞉ŋ2 Country of the Lang Nagas Mounglang Tinsukia
məŋ2 mɔ1 Mine village Man Mau Tinsukia
ma꞉n3 loŋ6 Big village Man Long Tinsukia
nauŋ1 lai6 Nong Lai Nagas Nonglai -

The [maːn˧] corresponds to the modern Thai ban (บ้าน) and Shan wan (ဝၢၼ်ႈ), which mean 'village'. (Note: For an explanation of the notation system for Tai tones, see Proto-Tai language#Tones.)


Initial consonants

Tai Phake has the following initial consonants[2]

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
voiceless voiced voiceless voiced voiceless voiced voiceless voiced voiceless
Plosive Tenuis p t c k ʔ
Nasal m n ŋ
Fricative s h
Lateral l
Semi-vowel w j

Final consonants

Tai Phake has the following final consonants:

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
voiceless voiced voiceless voiced voiced voiceless voiced voiceless
Plosive Tenuis p t k ʔ
Nasal m n ŋ
Semi-vowel w j

-[w] occurs after front vowels and [a]-, -[j] occurs after back vowels and [a]-.[2]


Tai Phake has the following vowel inventory:[3]

Front Back
unr. unr. rnd.
short short long short
Close i ɯ u
Mid e ɤ o
Open ɛ a ɔ

Writing system

See also: Burmese script and Burmese alphabet

The Tai Phake have their own writing system called 'Lik-Tai', which they share with the Khamti people and Tai Aiton people.[2] It closely resembles the Northern Shan script of Myanmar, which is a variant of the Burmese script, with some of the letters taking divergent shapes.[4]




  1. ^ Phake at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d Diller, Anthony (1992). "Tai languages in Assam: Daughters or Ghosts" (PDF). Papers on Tai languages, linguistics and literatures: 5–43.
  3. ^ Morey, Stephen (2008). "The Tai Languages of Assam". The Tai-Kadai Languages. Routledge. pp. 207–253. ISBN 9780203641873.
  4. ^ Inglis, Douglas (2017). "Myanmar-based Khamti Shan Orthography". Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society.
  5. ^ Hosken, Martin. "Representing Myanmar in Unicode: Details and Examples Version 4" (PDF). Unicode. Retrieved 12 March 2024.
  6. ^ "Tai Phake language, alphabet, and pronunciation". Omniglot. Retrieved 12 March 2024.


  • Buragohain, Yehom. 1998. "Some notes on the Tai Phakes of Assam, in Shalardchai Ramitanondh Virada Somswasdi and Ranoo Wichasin." In Tai, pp. 126–143. Chiang Mai, Thailand: Chiang Mai University.
  • Morey, Stephen. 2005. The Tai languages of Assam: a grammar and texts. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.