Thadou language

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Native to India, Burma
Ethnicity Thadou people
Native speakers
(270,000 cited 1983 and 2001 censuses)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tcz
Glottolog thad1238[2]
These are local Thado/Chin people.

Thadou (Thado, Thaadou, Thado-Ubiphei, Thado-Pao) is a common Kukish language spoken widely in the northeastern part of India (specifically in Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and Mizoram) and Burma, as well as the Bangladesh borders. It is spoken by people (known as The Thadou tribe) in Myanmar, mostly in the Chin State and Sagiang Division. The Thadou language is known by many names, including Thado, Thado-Ubiphei, Thado-Pao, Kuki, Kuki-Thado, Thaadou Kuki, Chin, and Thādo-pao. There are a few dialects of this language: Changsen, Jangshen, Kaokeep, Khongzai, Kipgen, Saimar, Langiung, Sairang, Thangngen, Haokip, Shithlou, Singson (Shingsol). These dialects are taught in Manipur schools, however, those outside the school, such as elders, are less familiar with them. The Saimar dialect[3] was reported in the Indian press in 2012 to be spoken by only four people in one village in the state of Tripura.[4] The variety spoken in Manipur has partial mutual intelligibility with the other Kukish varieties of the area including Paite, Hmar, Vaiphei, Simte, Kom and Gangte languages.[5] Although this language is spoken in various areas, it is not utilized as much today. As of a 2001 census, the estimated total number of Thadou speakers is 269,200. Thadou is rapidly becoming endangered.

Thadou Culture[edit]

The Thadou language comes from the Tibeto-Burman Family of the Sino-Tibetan Phylum. The Thadou people believe that they are meant to be rulers of the Earth. Because of this way of thinking, the Kuki rebellion took place. The Thadou people were settled in dense jungle sites. The Thadou villages mostly cultivated agriculture and domesticated animals. A unique aspect of the Thadou culture is that men and women shared these cultivation and domestication responsibilities.

Knowing a language connects one to the culture and traditions of the speakers of the language. This was especially the case with the Thadou language. Four important words in this language: chongmu, sahapsat, jol-lha', and kijam mang. These terms represent four different forms of marriage. Chongmu represents the form of marriage where there is a negotiation price of the bride between the parents of the groom as well as the parents of the bride, along with feasting and wrestling. The sahapsat is a form of marriage where just the negotiation between the parents of the bride and groom take place. The jol-Iha' and kijam mang both are similar forms of marriage, equivalent to eloping. Divorce is allowed and happens often within this culture. Children have a lot of independence in this culture and are encouraged to learn through experience due to the loose parental guidance they receive.

Language cloud of where the Thadou language is placed on 4 (the educational level).

Thadou people consider Pathen the god who has created everything and is thus, the ruler of the universe. They pray to him in times of need and trouble. This culture is very into religious ceremonies. Many of their ceremonies are specific to individual groups or genders. The Thadou also believe in spirits moving on to Mithikho, which is the village of the dead.

Geographical distribution[edit]

Thadou is spoken in the following locations (Ethnologue).


Ethnologue lists the following dialects of Thadou. There is high mutual intelligibility among dialects.

  • Changsan
  • Jangshen
  • Kaokeep
  • Khongsai
  • Kipgen
  • Langiung
  • Sairang
  • Thangngen
  • Haokip
  • Sitlhou
  • Singson (Shingsol)

Comparison between Thadou Dialects[edit]

The Saimar dialect is only spoken by 4 people in one village, which is located in Tripura. The other dialects, Changsan, Jangshen, Kaokeep, Khongsai, Kipgen, Sairang, Thangngen, Langiung, Siltlhou, and Singson have a high mutual intelligibility, which means that speakers, although from different backgrounds and areas, can speak to each other without much effort and with ease.

Comparison between Thadou vs. English[edit]

Thadou English
Endangered Not endangered
269,200 speakers 1.5 billion speakers
Spoken locally (villages, tribes) Spoken as a universal language
Approx. 11 different dialects 100+ dialects
Few literature and writing pieces;

no real translation from Thadou

to another language.

Many literary pieces along with translations from

language to language.

Didn't spread around to other villages Widespread across the world


  1. ^ Thadou at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Thado Chin". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Albrecht Klose, 2001. Languages of the world
  4. ^ "Just 4 people keep a language alive". The Hindu. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Singh, Chungkham Yashawanta (1995). "The linguistic situation in Manipur" (PDF). Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area. 18 (1): 129–134. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 

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