Paite language

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Native toIndia
RegionAssam, Manipur
Native speakers
55,542 (2011 census)[1]
Roman alphabet/Latin alphabet, Pau Chin Hau script
Language codes
ISO 639-3pck

Paite is an Indo-Tibetan Language spoken by the Paite people. There are different Paite dialects. The language exhibits mutual intelligibility with the other languages of the region including Thadou, Hmar, Vaiphei, Simte, Kom, Gangte and other languages.[3] The name Paite literally means the people who went.'

Paite alphabet (Paite laimal)[edit]

The alphabet is propounded by Shri T Vialphung in 1903 which is extract from the Roman alphabets and has 18 consonants and 6 vowels. Out of 18 consonant phonemes in Paite, 11 of them are glottal stops, 4 fricatives, 2 nasal and 1 lateral.

This version of the Paite alphabet is called 'Paite Laimal'. This alphabet is used since 1903 to till today.

Letter a aw b ch d e f g ng h i j k
Letter l m n o p r s t u v z
Consonants b [b] ch [t͡ʃ] d [d] f [f] g [g] ng [ŋ] h [h, -ʰ] j [d͡ʒ] k [k] l [l] m [m] n [n] p [p] r [r] s [s] t [t] v [v] z [z]
Vowels a [a] aw [ɔ] e [e] i [i] o [o] u [u]


High-front-oriented ei ai ui oi
High-back-oriented au iu eu ou
Low-central-oriented ia ua

'iai'(yai) and 'uau'(wao) are the Triphthongs of Paite language.

Five prominent tones in Paite are:

  • rising (Tungkal) (á),
  • rising-falling (Tungkal-niamkiak) (â),
  • falling (Niamkiak) (à),
  • falling-rising (Niamkiak-tungkal) (ã),
  • and flat/levelled (Pheipai) (ā).

The number of tones varies with variations in region and dialect.


Paite English Meitei
Bial Zero Phun
Khat One Ama
Nih Two Ani
Thum Three Ahum
Li Four Mari
Nga Five Manga
Guk Six Taruk
Sagih Seven Taret
Giat Eight Nipal
Kua Nine Mapal
Sawm Ten Tara
Sawmlehkhat Eleven TaraMathoi
Sawmlehkua Nineteen TaraMapal
Sawmhni Twenty Khun
Sawmthum Thirty KhumThra
Sawmkua Ninety MariPhuTara
Za Hundred ChaAma
Zanga Five hundred ChaManga
Saang(khat) One thousand Lishing
Siing(khat) Ten thousand
Nuai(khat) Hundred thousand/One lakh
Maktaduai Million
Vaibelsia Ten million
Vaibelsetak Hundred million
Tuklehdingawn Billion
Tuklehdingawn sawm Ten billion
Tuklehdingawn za Hundred billion

Sample text[edit]

The following is a sample text in Paite of the Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Paite pau English
Mi tengteng zalen a piang ihi ua, zah-omna leh dikna tanvou ah kibangvek ihi. Sia leh pha theihna pilna nei a siam I hih ziak un I mihinpihte tungah unauna lungsim feltak I put ngai ahi. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience. Therefore, they should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

There are two major dialects of Paite in Manipur, Lamjang and Dapjal.[4]


Paite grammar is fairly complex because of a number of word modification and a bit complex noun structure.

Word order[edit]

Paite's declarative word structure is Object-subject-verb.


Vasa Ka mu
I see a bird
Sing a puá
He carries wood

If the word order and grammar isn't followed, sentences and phrases lose their meaning.

Example: "Lai a gelh", which means "He writes", cannot be written as "Gelh a Lai". It does not make any sense.

Geographical distribution[edit]

Paite is spoken mainly in the following locations (Ethnologue).


  1. ^ "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Paite Chin". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Singh, Chungkham Yashawanta (1995). "The linguistic situation in Manipur" (PDF). Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area. 18 (1): 129–134. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  4. ^ Singh, Naorem Saratchandra Singh (2006). A Grammar of Paite. Mittal Publications. p. xviii. ISBN 978-8183240680. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  • Singh, Naorem Saratchandra. 2006. A grammar of Paite. New Delhi: Mittal Publications.

Further reading[edit]

  • Muivah, Esther T. 1993. English-Paite dictionary. Lamka, Manipur: Paite Tribe Council.
  • Tualkhothang, Naulak. 2003. English-Paite dictionary. Lamka, Manipur: The Tualkhothang Naulak Memorial Trust.
  • Tawmbing, Chinzam. 2014. English-Paite dictionary. Lamka, Manipur: Hornbill Publication.
  • Paite Tribe Council. 2013. Paite customary law & practices / Paite pupa ngeina dan leh a kizatnate. Lamka, Manipur: Paite Tribe Council.
  • Thuamkhopau, T. 2009. Paite paunaak leh pau upate. Manipur: Tribal Research Institute.