Shö language

Shö is a Kuki-Chin language dialect cluster of Burma and Bangladesh. There are perhaps three distinct dialects, Asho (Khyang), Chinbon, and Shendu.

Native toBurma, Bangladesh
EthnicityAsho Chin
Native speakers
(50,000 cited 1983–2011)[1]
plus an unknown number of Shendu
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
cnb – Chinbon Chin
csh – Asho Chin
shl – Shendu
Glottologchin1478  Chinbon Chin
asho1236  Asho Chin
shen1247  Shendu

Mayin and Longpaw are not mutually intelligible, but have been subsumed under the ISO code for Chinbon because Mayin-Longpaw speakers generally understand Chinbon.[2] Minkya is similarly included because most Minkya speakers understand Mayin.[3]

Geographical distributionEdit

Chinbon (Uppu) is spoken in the following townships of Myanmar.[4]

Asho is spoken in Ayeyarwady Region, Bago Region, and Magway Region, and Rakhine State, Myanmar.

VanBik (2009:38)[5] lists the following Asho dialects.

Shendu is spoken in Mizoram, India.


The Asho dialect (K’Chò) has 26 to 30 consonants and ten to eleven vowels depending on the dialect.[6]

Labial Dental/
Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive plain p pʰ b t̪ t̪ʰ d k kʰ ɡ ʔ
implosive ɓ ɗ
Nasal m m̥ n n̥ ɲ ɲ̊ ŋ ŋ̊
Fricative s sʰ z ʃ h ɦ
Lateral l ɬ
Approximant w j
  • Voiced plosives /b d ɡ z/ are only heard in the Plains dialect.
  • In the Plains dialect, dental plosives /t̪ t̪ʰ/ are pronounced as alveolar [t tʰ], along with /d/ being only alveolar.
  • Velar plosives /k kʰ/ may be palatalized as affricates [tʃ tʃʰ] before front vowels.
  • In some dialects a voiceless [j̊] is heard in place of /ʃ/.
  • /j/ may also be heard as a fricative [ʒ] in free variation among dialects.
Front Center Back
Close i / ˠi ʉ u
Near-close ɪ ʏ ʊ
Close-mid e (ə̆) ɤ o
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a

Diphthongs: ei, ai, au

  • Sounds /ʏ ʉ/ only occur in the Hill dialect. In the Plains dialect, /ʊ u/ is heard in place of /ʏ ʉ/.
  • An shortened [ə̆] is heard in unstressed syllables.
  • /ɤ/ can sometimes be heard as more central [ɘ].
  • A prevelarized /ˠi/ occurs in the Plains dialect.


Similar to other Kukish languages, many Asho verbs have two distinct stems. This stem alternation is a Proto-Kukish feature, which has been retained to different degrees in different Kukish languages.[7]


  1. ^ Chinbon Chin at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Asho Chin at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Shendu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Change Request Documentation For: 2014-063". SIL International. Archived from the original on 2015-05-12.
  3. ^ "Change Request Documentation For: 2014-062". SIL International. Archived from the original on 2015-05-12.
  4. ^ Ethnologue
  5. ^ VanBik, Kenneth (2009). Proto-Kuki-Chin: A Reconstructed Ancestor of the Kuki-Chin Languages. UC Berkeley. ISBN 0-944613-47-0.
  6. ^ Tignor, Daniel (2018). A Phonology of Hill (kone-Tu) Asho (MA thesis). University of North Dakota.
  7. ^ Kee Shein Mang (2006). A Syntactic and Pragmatic Description of Verb Stem Alternation in K’chò, a Chin Language (PDF) (MA thesis). Payap University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-26.