Languages of the NE -> Liangmai


 The Liangmais are one of the smallest tribes in Nagaland who inhabit six villages in the Southwest portion of the Kohima District bordering Manipur. In fact, the Liangmais living in Manipur are much more than those living in Nagaland. In 1991, the population was 27,478. It is felt that the present  population in Nagaland may be a little over 7000 . For some reason, in the earlier census figures on Liangmai  language were not given separately and were shown under ‘Kacha Naga’ and as a tribe their figures  were merged with ‘ Zeliang’ ( Zeme + liangmai ). The word Zemei means descendants of the first person, and liangmai means descendants of the second person or the person who came late. The decision to merge the two tribes together is supported by the people themselves for even their folklore talks about their relationships. It is made out that the Zemes, Liangmais and the Rongmeis are all descendents from the same family – the brothers having migrated in slightly different directions to ensure maximization of prosperity and to minimize the conflict. Mekuilong is the name of the village where their common forefathers had lived.

The Census returns often put the Liangmais under the tribe “ Kachcha Naga”, a term much resented by the people themselves because of its resemblance with the Hindi word “Kachcha” meaning ‘not ripe’. Actually it is derived from the Angami word Kets

meaning  “forest”.  The Liangmais have their own traditional culture and social structure. The clans are an important feature of their social structure and these are exogamous. Kaurinta , Rinta , Niumai , Dailiamta , Chewang Ketingdui and Pamai are the clans who are all of the same status and none is superior to the other in the stratification .

According to Marrison, Liangmai is a rich tonal language but the tones are not marked in the writing. It also has initial clusters with three types of nasals and also has a glottal stop as well. It may be mentioned here that Roman script is used for writing the language. The letters – F , J , Q , V and X are  not used for the native words .  

Source: Language Education in Nagaland: Sociolinguistic Dimensions.