Falam language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lai ṭong
Native toBurma, India
RegionWest Burma, North East India
Native speakers
(107,000 cited 1983–2001)[1]
  • Zanniat
  • Laizo
  • Zahau
  • Tlaisun
  • Khualsim
  • Lente
  • Tapong
  • Sim
  • Torr
  • Chorei
  • Ngawn
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
cfm – Falam Chin
cbl – Bualkhaw Chin
cnw – Ngawn Chin
ELPFalam Chin

Falam Chin (also known as Lai) is a Kuki-Chin language in Falam Township, Chin State, Myanmar, and also in Mizoram, India.[not verified in body]

Falam Chin is closely related to most Central Chin languages, especially Hakha Chin.[3] The Falam people are primarily Christian and have translated the Bible into Falam Chin.


Ethnologue lists the following dialects of Falam.

  • Tlaisun (Shunkla, Sunkhla, Taishon, Tashom, Tashon)
  • Laizo (Laiso, Laizao, Laizo-Shimhrin)
  • Zahao (Lyen-Lyem, JaHau Yahow, Zahau, Zahau-Shimhrin, Za-How)
  • Sim,

Falam was a village name founded by the Tlaisun (also known as Tashon in English) tribe and Tashon was the original language spoken in Falam. Falam became increased in population from the surrounding tribes from Sunthla (also recorded as Sunkhla), Sim and Zahau (also recorded as Zahao) that created a new language based on these three tribes which are very different from Tlaisun language and this language was later popularly known as Laizo language. Laizo language was recorded as the first language used in the official radio broadcasting dialect of Chin in Myanmar (Burma). In order to be inclusive in Laizo language this language was later changed to Falam language although its official name recorded in the government is Laizo.

Rupini and Koloi are also reported to be quite different.[1] The Chorei and Zanniat dialects (collectively known as Baro Halam) may be considered separate languages.[4] Tapong has lower intelligibility with other Falam Chin dialects, having 75% lexical similarity with Zanniat.[4] Dialects once misleadingly called Southern Luhupa are actually Northern Kuki-Chin, and evidently Falam.[5]

Ethnologue reports the following speaker populations of Falam dialects as of 1983: 9,000 Taisun, 16,000 Zanniat, 7,000 Khualsim, 4,000 Lente, 14,400 Zahau, 18,600 Laizo.


The Falam language has five spoken vowels, but in writing, six are used. Of the five spoken, three of them, /u/, /a/, and /ɔ/ are spoke from the back of the mouth, /i/ is spoken from the top of the mouth, and /e/ is spoken from the middle. /ɔ/ can be pronounced as aw or o.[6]

Writing system[edit]

Falam Chin is written using the Latin script, with the exception of the letters Q, Y, J and X. The consonants (t with dot), ng (Guttural sound), and aw vowel (IPA [ɔː] or [ɑː]) are frequently used in both Chin literature and speaking.

This is a sample of written Falam Chin:


  1. ^ a b Falam Chin at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Bualkhaw Chin at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Ngawn Chin at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Endangered Languages Project data for Chorei.
  3. ^ King, Deborah (2010). VOICE AND VALENCE-ALTERING OPERATIONS IN FALAM CHIN: A ROLE AND REFERENCE GRAMMAR APPROACH. Arlington, Texas: The University of Texas at Arlington.
  4. ^ a b "Myanmar". Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-10-10.
  5. ^ Linguasphere code 73-DDD-bp
  6. ^ Chin Writers' Handbook. Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA: Bibles International. 2011.

Further reading[edit]