Ethnologue lists the following dialects of Sema.
- Dayang (Western Sumi)
The transcriptions in this section use the International Phonetic Alphabet.
The vowels of Sema are as follows:
- /i/ has been variously described as:
- Near-close front unrounded [i̞];
- Close front unrounded [i].
- /ɨ/ has been variously described as:
- Near-close central unrounded [ɨ̞];
- Close central unrounded [ɨ].
- In word-medial position, /ɨ/ can be realized as mid central unrounded [ə].
- /u/ is close back rounded [u].
- The mid vowels /e, o/ can be realized as either close-mid [e, o] or open-mid [ɛ, ɔ].
- Teo (2012) describes the close-mid allophone of /o/ as slightly advanced [o̟].
- /a/ has been variously described as:
- Near-open central unrounded [ɐ];
- Open central unrounded [ä].
- After uvular stops, /a/ can be realized as open back unrounded [ɑ].
The consonants of Sema are as follows (allophones that are represented in the orthographic system are given in parentheses):
- Sreedhar, Mangadan Veetil (1976), Sema phonetic reader, Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages
- Sreedhar, Mangadan Veetil (1980), A Sema Grammar, Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages
- Teo, Amos B. (2012), "Sumi (Sema)", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 42 (03): 365–373, doi:10.1017/S0025100312000254
- Teo, Amos B. (2014), A phonological and phonetic description of Sumi, a Tibeto-Burman language of Nagaland, Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics, ISBN 978-1-922185-10-5