Thadou language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thado, Thaadou, Thado-Pao
Native toIndia and Myanmar
RegionManipur, Nagaland, Assam and Mizoram
EthnicityThadou people and Kuki people
Native speakers
850,000 (2011–2020)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3tcz
ELPThado Chin

Thadou or Thado Chin is a Sino-Tibetan language of the Northern Kuki-Chin-Mizo sub-branch. It is spoken by the Thadou people in Northeast India (specifically in Manipur, Assam and Nagaland).[2] The speakers of this language use Meitei language as their second language (L2) according to the Ethnologue.[3]

The language is known by many names, including Thado, Thado-Pao, Thado-Ubiphei, Thādo, Thaadou Kuki, or just Kuki or Chin.

Thadou language is the second most spoken language in Manipur and was given the recognition of second language and main language in the Manipur hills during the British period.

There are several dialects of this language: Hangshing, Khongsai, Kipgen, Saimar, Langiung, Sairang, Thangngeo, Haokip, Sitlhou, Singson (Shingsol).[1] The Saimar dialect 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 Mizo-Kuki-Chin languages varieties of the area including Paite, Hmar, Vaiphei, Simte, Kom and Gangte languages.[5]

Geographical distribution[edit]

Thadou is spoken in the following locations (Ethnologue).


Ethnologue lists the following dialects of Thadou, the names of which mostly correspond to clan names. There is high mutual intelligibility among dialects.

  • Lupho
  • Lupheng
  • Misao
  • Hangsing
  • Chongloi
  • Khongsai
  • Kipgen
  • Langiung
  • Sairang
  • Thangngeo
  • Haokip
  • Sitlhou
  • Touthang
  • Haolai
  • Singson (Shingsol)
  • Hanghal
  • Lhouvum
  • Mate
  • Lhungdim
  • Baite

The Saimar dialect is only spoken by 4 people in one village, which is located in Tripura.[6]



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d ɡ
Affricate ts
Nasal m n ŋ
Fricative voiceless s x h
voiced v z
lateral ɬ
Approximant w l j
  • /p t k/ are heard unreleased as [p̚ t̚ k̚] in word-final position.
  • /ts/ is heard as more apical [ts̺] when occurring before front and central vowels.
  • /x/ can have a cognate of an aspirated velar plosive [] in the dialect spoken in Burma.
  • /ɬ/ can have an allophone of [] in word-medial position.[7]


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e ə o
Open a


  1. ^ a b Thadou-Kuki at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) closed access
  2. ^ Mahapatra, Bijaya P.; Padmanabha, P. (December 1989). The Written Languages of the World: A Survey of the Degree and Modes of Use : Book 2, Non-Constitutional Languages. Pr De L'Universite Laval. p. 1311. ISBN 978-2-7637-7196-0.
  3. ^ "Meitei | Ethnologue". Ethnologue. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  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.
  6. ^ "Just 4 people keep a language alive". The Hindu. 18 July 2012.
  7. ^ Haokip, Marykim (2014). Grammar of Thadou-Kuki: A Descriptive Study. New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Further reading[edit]