Senthang language is one of Chin languages spoken by Senthang people.
Brief history of Senthang name. The following is the most common oral story, according to Pu Thein Za Lian (2005) and Pu F. Lai Len article (2018). Once upon a time, a man named Pu Tin Thang from Sakta village went on a raid and reached Ro village which is in Mindat province of Southern Chin State. Once they learned the raider was Tin Thang, they referred to everyone from Tin Thang's area as people from Tin Thang village. But they had mistakenly pronounced the name Tin Thang as Senthang.
The estimated population of the Senthang people is 32,000 (Craft & Craft 2010). The majority of the Senthang people reside in the mountainous Chin State, the north-west part of Myanmar, and in Magwe and Sagaing Divisions (see Figure 1). Some people live in cities in Myanmar such as Hakha, Kalaymyo, Mandalay, and Yangon. Many of the younger generation go abroad to work (such as in Malaysia, Singapore or India), or to migrate to more-developed countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Denmark, etc in order to have a better life.
Senthang is linguistically one of the Chin languages which are sub-grouped under the Kuki-Chin branch of Tibeto-Burman Languages. Senthang has been grouped under two different families of the Chin language groups: Central Chin or Mariac. Some linguists put Senthang under Central Chin along with Falam, Hakha, Mizo and some others (Bradley 1997, Mann 2006; Craft 2010:9). Figure 3 is an example of Senthang being grouped under Central Chin. The latest Ethonologue, however, shows Senthang in the Maraic, Kuki-Chin, Tibeto-Burman, Sino-Tibetan family (Ethnologue 2015), together with Mara, Lautu, Zyphe, and Zotung.
Senthang language is spoken in the following locations (Ethnologue).
- Hakha township, Chin State (more than 30 villages)
- Thantlang township, Chin State (2 villages)
- Gangaw township, Magway Region (15 villages)
- Kalemyo township, Sagaing Region (2 villages)
VanBik (2009:55) lists the following Senthang villages: Buanlung, Bungtuah, Bungzung, Chawncum, Cintlang, Dongva, Dumva, Hausen, Keizuan, Khuapi, Langpho, Leium, Lichia, Lunghau, Lungrang, Lungtar, Phaipha, Phaizawng, Sakta, Sumsi, Surkhua, Zathal.
Ethnologue lists the following dialects of Senthang.
- Surkhua, Lungrang, Phaizawng
- Sakta, Bungtuah
- Bungzung, Khuapi, Lei-Um, Phaipha, Dongva, Buanlung
- Ngun, Tin Par. 2016. Agreement and Verb Stem Alternation in Senthang Chin. Masters thesis, Payap University.