Name of the Language                                                                              


Ao is one of the Naga group of languages of the Tibeto-Burman language family. The name Ao denotes the language as well as the community. The Ao Naga language has several regional dialects out of which the Chungli, Mongsen and the Chanki are the most prominent. The Chungli dialect is accepted as the standard Ao language. Though folk songs and a few religious songs are written in the Mongsen dialect, presently efforts are being made to reproduce them in the standard Chungli dialect.

Geographical Location

They are mainly concentrated in the Mokokchung district of Nagaland and form the dominant linguistic group in the district.Sharing the boundary with the Lotha Nagas and the Sema Nagas in the south , the Ao speaking area has the state of Assam in the north-west and the Dikhu river in the north-east as geographical boundaries.

Number of Speakers

Ao being one of the largest. According to the 1991 census report the population of the Ao’s is 169,837.

Phonemic Inventory


Grammatical Categories


The Ao language has three types of tones namely:

1) Rising tone which is marked with [ @ ] .

2) Falling tone which is marked with [ $ ], and

3) Level tone which is left unmarked.

Ao is a subject + object + predicate language. The predicate may be a verb or a noun or an adjective. When it is a noun, or an adjective, copula is used to link the predicate with the subject. The subject in a sentence is obligatory and it does not have concord with the predicate. The subject, the object and the nominal predicate are expressed by the noun phrase and the verbal predicate is expressed by the verb phrase.

Copula: linking verb… a verb such as ‘be’ or ‘seem’ that links the subject of a sentence with an adjective or noun phrase (complement) relating to it. In other words it is a link between subject and the predicate a form of the verb ‘to be’ linking the subject and the predicate in certain propositions such as "Some dogs are poodles"



Central Institute of Indian languages, Mysore.