The Kuki-Chin languages (also called Kukish or South-Central Tibeto-Burman languages) are a branch of 50 or so Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in northeastern India, western Burma and eastern Bangladesh. Most speakers of these languages are known as Kukī in Assamese and as Chin in Burmese; some also identify as Lushei. Mizo is the most widely spoken of the Kuki-Chin languages.
|Ethnicity||Kuki, Mizo, Zomi, Chin|
|India, Burma, Bangladesh|
Kuki-Chin is sometimes placed under Kuki-Chin–Naga, a geographical rather than linguistic grouping.
Most Kuki-Chin languages are spoken in and around Chin State, Burma, with some languages spoken in Sagaing Division, Magway Region and Rakhine State as well. In Northeast India, many Northern Kuki-Chin languages are also spoken in Mizoram State and southern Manipur State, India, especially in Churachandpur District. Northwestern Kuki-Chin languages are spoken mostly in Chandel District, Manipur.
Kuki-Chin is alternatively called South-Central Trans-Himalayan (or South Central Tibeto-Burman) by Konnerth (2018).
The Kuki-Chin branches listed below are from VanBik (2009), with the Northwestern branch added from Scott DeLancey, et al. (2015), and the Khomic branch (which has been split off from the Southern branch) from Peterson (2017).
- Central: Mizo (Lushai), Bawm (Sunthla and Panghawi), Tawr, Hmar, Hakha (Lai Pawi,Mi-E,Zokhua), Darlong, Pangkhua
- Maraic: Mara (Tlosai,Hawthai,Zyhno,Sizo,Heima,Lialai), Zyphe, Senthang, Zotung, Lautu
- Northern: Falam (Hallam, incl. Laizo, Zahao,Simpi, Chorei), Suantak-Vaiphei, Hrangkhol, Zo (Zou), Biate (Bete), Paite, Tedim (Tiddim), Thado (Kuki), Gangte, Simte, Vaiphei, Siyin (Sizaang), Ralte, Ngawn
- Southern: Shö (Asho/Khyang, Bualkhaw, Chinbon), Thaiphum, Daai (Nitu), Mün, Matu, Welaung (Rawngtu), Kaang, Laitu, Rungtu, Songlai, Sumtu
- Khomic: Khumi (Khumi proper and Khumi Awa), Mro, Rengmitca, etc.
- Northwestern: Monsang (Naga), Moyon (Naga), Lamkang (Naga), Aimol, Anal (Naga), Tarao (Naga), Koireng (Kolhreng), Chiru, Kom, Chothe (Naga), Sorbung, Purum (Naga), Kharam (Naga),, Saihriem, Ranglong, etc.
Anu-Hkongso speakers self-identify as ethnic Chin people, although their language is closely related to Mru rather than to Kuki-Chin languages. The Mruic languages constitute a separate Tibeto-Burman branch, and are not part of Kuki-Chin.
Kenneth VanBik's (2009:23) classified the Kuki-Chin languages based on shared sound changes (phonological innovations) from Proto-Kuki-Chin as follows.
- Central: *k(ʰ)r-, *p(ʰ)r- > *t(ʰ)r-; *k(ʰ)l-, *p(ʰ)l- > *t(ʰ)l-; *y- > *z-
- Maraic: *kr- > *ts-; *-ʔ, *-r, *-l > -Ø; *-p, *-t, *-k > *-ʔ
- Peripheral: *r- > *g-
David A. Peterson's (2017:206) internal classification of the Kuki-Chin languages is as follows.
- Northwestern: Purum (Naga), Koireng, Monsang (Naga), etc.
Peterson's Northeastern branch corresponds to VanBik's Northern branch, while Peterson's Northwestern corresponds to the Old Kuki branch of earlier classifications.
- Button, Christopher. 2011. Proto Northern Chin. STEDT Monograph 10. ISBN 0-944613-49-7. http://stedt.berkeley.edu/pubs_and_prods/STEDT_Monograph10_Proto-Northern-Chin.pdf
- Hill, Nathan W. (2014). "Proto-Kuki-Chin initials according to Toru Ohno and Kenneth VanBik". Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society. 7: 11–30.
- Lam Thang, Khoi (2001). A Phonological Reconstruction of Proto Chin (PDF) (MA thesis). Chiang Mai: Payap University.
- Mann, Noel, and Wendy Smith. 2008. Chin bibliography. Chiang Mai: Payap University.
- S. Dal Sian Pau. 2014. The comparative study of Proto-Zomi (Kuki-Chin) languages. Lamka, Manipur, India: Zomi Language & Literature Society (ZOLLS). [Comparative word list of Paite, Simte, Thangkhal, Zou, Kom, Tedim, and Vaiphei]
- Smith, Wendy and Noel Mann. 2009. Chin bibliography with selected annotations. Chiang Mai: Payap University.
- VanBik, Kenneth (2009). Proto-Kuki-Chin: A Reconstructed Ancestor of the Kuki-Chin Languages. STEDT Monograph. 8. ISBN 0-944613-47-0.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kuki-Chin". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Karbic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Konnerth, Linda. 2018. The historical phonology of Monsang (Northwestern South-Central/“Kuki-Chin”): A case of reduction in phonological complexity. Himalayan Linguistics, Vol. 17(1): 19-49.
- Thurgood, Graham (2003) "A subgrouping of the Sino-Tibetan languages: The interaction between language contact, change, and inheritance." In G. Thurgood and R. LaPolla, eds., The Sino-Tibetan languages, pp. 13–14. London: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-7007-1129-1.
- van Driem, George L. (2011a), "Tibeto-Burman subgroups and historical grammar", Himalayan Linguistics Journal, 10 (1): 31–39, archived from the original on 12 January 2012.
- DeLancey, Scott; Krishna Boro; Linda Konnerth1; Amos Teo. 2015. Tibeto-Burman Languages of the Indo-Myanmar borderland. 31st South Asian Languages Analysis Roundtable, 14 May 2015.
- Peterson, David. 2017. "On Kuki-Chin subgrouping." In Picus Sizhi Ding and Jamin Pelkey, eds. Sociohistorical linguistics in Southeast Asia: New horizons for Tibeto-Burman studies in honor of David Bradley, 189-209. Leiden: Brill.
- David Mortenson and Jennifer Keogh. 2011. "Sorbung, an Undocumented Language of Manipur: its Phonology and Place in Tibeto-Burman", in JEALS 4, vol 1.