|Ethnicity||Kuki, Mizo, Naga, Karbi, Mro|
|India, Burma, Bangladesh|
The Kukish languages, also known as Kuki-Chin (Kuki/Chin), Chin/Kuki/Mizo, or Kuki Naga, are a branch of 50 or so Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in northeastern India, western Burma and eastern Bangladesh. Most speakers of these languages are known as Kukī in Assamese and as Chin in Burmese; some also identify as Lushei. The Mizo people are ethnically distinct.
Kukish is sometimes placed under Kuki-Chin–Naga, a geographical rather than linguistic grouping.
Most Kukish languages are spoken in and around Chin State, Burma, with some languages spoken in Sagaing Division, Magway Region, and Rakhine State as well. Many Northern Kukish languages are also spoken in Mizoram State and southern Manipur State, India, especially in Chandel, Senapati, Tamenglong, Churachandpur, and Bishnupur districts.
There is general agreement that the Karbi languages are related to, or part of, Kukish, but they are aberrant. However, Thurgood (2003) and van Driem (2011) leave Karbi unclassified within Sino-Tibetan. The Mru language, once classified as Kukish, is now thought to be closer to Lolo–Burmese.
The internal classification of the Kukish languages proper has changed little in a century:
- Karbi (Mikir): Karbi, Amri
- Central: Mizo (Lushai), Bawm (Banjogi), Hmar, Hakha (Lai Pawi); maybe Ngawn, Tawr, Pangkhua
- Maraic: Mara (Lakher), Zyphe, Senthang, Zotung, Lautu
- Northern: Falam (Hallam, incl. Laizo, Zahao, Chorei), Anaal (Naga), Suantak-Vaiphei, Hrangkhol, Zo (Zou, Zome), Biate (Bete), Paite, Tedim (Tiddim), Thado, Chiru, Gangte, Kom (Kolhreng), Purum (Naga), Simte, Vaiphei; maybe Aimol–Saihriem, Siyin (Sizaang), Lamkang, Chothe (Naga), Kharam (Naga), Moyon (Naga), Ralte
- Southern: Shö (Asho/Khyang, Bualkhaw, Chinbon, Shendu), Khumi (Khumi proper and Khumi Awa), Thaiphum, Daai (Nitu), Mro, Mün, Matu, Welaung (Rawngtu), Kaang, Laitu, Rungtu, Songlai, Sumtu
Bradley (1997) includes Meithei. Ethnologue 16 had included several additional languages in Northern (or in the case of Darlong, Central) Kukish, but the 17th edition leaves them unclassified within Sino-Tibetan. They are:
VanBik's (2009:23) classification of the Kuki-Chin languages is as follows.
Sub-branches of Kuki-Chin are defined by the following sound changes (phonological innovations) from Proto-Kuki-Chin (henceforth abbreviated as PKC) (VanBik 2009).
- PKC *r- > Peripheral *g-
- PKC *-r > Proto-Northern Chin *-k
- PKC * θ- > Proto-Northern Chin *ts-
- PKC *kl- > Proto-Northern Chin *tl-
- PKC *-r > Proto-Southern-Plains Chin *-y, Maraic -Ø
- PKC *k(ʰ)r-, *p(ʰ)r- > Proto-Central Chin *t(ʰ)r-
- PKC *k(ʰ)l-, *p(ʰ)l- > Proto-Central Chin *t(ʰ)l-
- PKC *y- (< PTB *y-) > Proto-Central Chin *z-
- PKC *-p, *-t, *-k > Maraic *-ʔ
- PKC *-ʔ > Maraic -Ø
- PKC *-r, *-l > Maraic -Ø
- PKC *kr- > Maraic *ts-
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Kuki-Chin". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Karbic". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Kukish". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Thurgood, Graham (2003) "A subgrouping of the Sino-Tibetan languages: The interaction between language contact, change, and inheritance." In G. Thurgood and R. LaPolla, eds., The Sino-Tibetan languages, pp. 13–14. London: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-7007-1129-1.
- —— (2011a), "Tibeto-Burman subgroups and historical grammar", Himalayan Linguistics Journal, 10 (1): 31–39, archived from the original on 12 January 2012.
- Bradley, David (1997), "Tibeto-Burman languages and classification", in Tibeto-Burman languages of the Himalayas, Papers in South East Asian linguistics 14, Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, pp 1–71, ISBN 978-0-85883-456-9.
- David Mortenson and Jennifer Keogh. 2011. "Sorbung, an Undocumented Language of Manipur: its Phonology and Place in Tibeto-Burman", in JEALS 4, vol 1.
- George van Driem (2001) Languages of the Himalayas: An Ethnolinguistic Handbook of the Greater Himalayan Region. Brill, ISBN 978-90-04-12062-4.
- Button, Christopher. 2011. Proto Northern Chin. STEDT Monograph 10. ISBN 0-944613-49-7. http://stedt.berkeley.edu/pubs_and_prods/STEDT_Monograph10_Proto-Northern-Chin.pdf
- Hill, Nathan W. 2014. 'Proto-Kuki-Chin initials according to Toru Ohno and Kenneth VanBik.' Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, 7 . pp. 11–30.
- Khoi Lam Thang. 2001. A Phonological Reconstruction of Proto Chin. M.A. dissertation. Chiang Mai: Payap University.
- Mann, Noel, and Wendy Smith. 2008. Chin bibliography. Chiang Mai: Payap University.
- S. Dal Sian Pau. 2014. The comparative study of Proto-Zomi (Kuki-Chin) languages. Lamka, Manipur, India: Zomi Language & Literature Society (ZOLLS) [Comparative word list of Paite, Simte, Thangkhal, Zou, Kom, Tedim, and Vaiphei]
- VanBik, Kenneth. 2009. Proto-Kuki-Chin: A Reconstructed Ancestor of the Kuki-Chin Languages. STEDT Monograph 8. ISBN 0-944613-47-0.
- Smith, Wendy and Noel Mann. 2009. Chin bibliography with selected annotations. Chiang Mai: Payap University.