Jingpho language

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Not to be confused with Jili language.
Pronunciation tɕiŋ˧˩pʰɔʔ˧˩
Native to Burma, China, India
Region Kachin State, Yingjiang County
Ethnicity Jingpo
Native speakers
ca. 950,000  (2001)[1]
Dzili (Jili)
Language codes
ISO 639-2 kac
ISO 639-3 Variously:
kac – Jingpho
sgp – Singpho
tcl – Taman
Glottolog kach1280
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Jingpho (Jinghpaw, Chingp'o), or Kachin (Burmese: ကချင်ဘာသာ [kətɕɪ̀ɴ bàðà]), is a member of the Tibeto-Burman languages mainly spoken in Kachin State, Burma and Yunnan, China. The term Kachin language can refer either to the Jingpho language or to a group of languages spoken by various ethnic groups in the same region as Jingpo: Lisu, Lashi, Rawang, Zaiwa, Lhao Vo, Achang and Jingpho. These languages are from distinct branches of the highest level of the Tibeto-Burman family.

The ethnic Jingpho (or Kachin) are the primary speakers of Jingpho language, numbering approximately 900,000 speakers.[2] The Turung of Assam in India speak a Jingpho dialect, called Singpho, mixed with Assamese words.

The Jingpho alphabet is based on the Latin script. Jingpho has verbal morphology that marks the subject and the direct object. Here is one example (the tonemes are not marked). The verb is 'to be' (rai).

person and number present past
1sg rai n ngai rai sa ngai
2sg rai n dai rai sin dai
3sg rai ai rai sai
1pl rai ga ai rai sa ga dai
2pl rai ma dai rai ma sin dai
3pl rai ma ai rai ma sai

Jingpho syllable finals can consist of vowels, nasals, or oral stops.


Jingpho (Jinghpaw) language has five tones. For example:

  • Wa (high short tone) compensate Á
  • Wa (middle tone) teeth Ä
  • Wa (high tone) father Ã
  • Wa (low tone) come back Ā
  • Wa (low short tone) pig Ą

Tones are not usually marked in writing.


  1. ^ Jingpho at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Singpho at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Taman at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ "Ethnologue report for ISO 639 code: kac". www.ethnologue.com. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 


  • 景颇语-汉语词典 Jingpoyu - Hanyu cidian / Jingpho–Chinese dictionary, 戴庆夏 Dai Qingxia et al.
  • 景颇语语法 Jingpoyu yufa / Jingpho Grammar, 戴庆夏 Dai Qingxia et al.
  • Structures élémentaires de la parenté, de Claude Lévi-Strauss, devotes a chapter to the study of parenthood in the Jingpho ethnicity.