Konyak language

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Native to Nagaland, India
Ethnicity Konyak
Native speakers
250,000  (2001 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 nbe
Glottolog kony1248[2]
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Konyak is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by the Konyak people of Nagaland, north-eastern India.


There are three lexically contrastive contour tones in Konyak – rising (marked in writing by an acute accent – á), falling (marked by a grave accent – à) and level (unmarked).[3]


Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Mid e ə o
Open a

The vowels /a/, /o/ and /u/ are lengthened before approximants. /ə/ doesn't occur finally.


Bilabial Dental/
Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive p
c k
Nasal m ɲ ŋ
Fricative s h
Lateral l
Approximant w j

The stops /p/ and /k/ conntrast with the aspirated /pʰ/ and /kʰ/. /p/ and /c/ become voiced intervocalically across morpheme boundaries. The dental /t/ is realised as an alveolar if preceded by a vowel with rising tone. The approximants /w/ and /j/ are pronounced laxer and shorter after vowels; /w/ becomes tenser initially before high vowels. If morpheme-initial or intervocalic, /j/ is pronounced with audible friction.[4] /pʰ/, /kʰ/, /c/, /ɲ/, /s/, /h/ and /l/ don't occur morpheme-finally, while /ʔ/ doesn't appear morpheme-initially. Except for morpheme-initial /kp/ and /kʰl/, consonant clusters occur only medially.[5]


  1. ^ Konyak at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Konyak Naga". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Nagaraja 2010, p. 8
  4. ^ Nagaraja 2010, pp. 21–2
  5. ^ Nagaraja 2010, p. 23


  • Nagaraja, K.S. (2010), Konyak Grammar, Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages, ISBN 81-7342-195-1 

Further reading[edit]

  • Ine Jongne Jame (1957), Primer for Adults in Konyak Language, Guwahati 
  • Kumar, Brij Bihari (1972), Hindi-Konyak Dictionary, Kohima: Nagaland Bhasha Parishad 
  • Kumar, Brij Bihari (1972), Konyak Vyakaran ki Ruprekha, Kohima: Nagaland Bhasha Parishad 
  • Nagaraja, K.S. (1996), Kinship terms in Konyak Naga 
  • Nagaraja, K.S., Konyak–Hindi–English Dictionary, Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages 
  • Nagaraja, K.S., Relativization in Konyak, Indian Linguistics 45: 41–8