Lyngngam language

Native to India
Region Meghalaya, Assam
Native speakers
11,586 (2011 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 lyg
Glottolog lyng1241[2]

Lyngam is an Austroasiatic language of Northeast India closely related to Khasi. Once listed as a dialect of Khasi, Lyngam has in recent literature been classified as a distinct language. Lyngam speakers have food and dress similar to the neighboring Garo people, since they are former Garo speakers who have adopted the Khasi language.


Consonant inventory

The following table lists the consonants attested in Lyngam.[3]

  Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/ /n/ /ɲ/ /ŋ/  
Stop voiceless /p/ /t/ /c/ /k/ /ʔ/
aspirated /pʰ/ /tʰ/ /cʰ/ /kʰ/  
voiced /b/ /d/ /ɟ/ /ɡ/  
Voiceless fricative   /s/     /h/
Liquid   /l, r/      
Glide /w/   /j/    

The main difference with the Khasi language is that Lyngngam does not possess the voiced aspirated series. Furthermore, Lyngngam does not have the phoneme /ç/. Words which have /ç/ in Khasi typically have /c/ or /s/ in Lyngngam,[4] as in the following pairs of cognates:

Lyngngam Khasi meaning
cʔeŋ çʔeŋ bone
cɨppʰeu çipʰeu 10
sɲjək çɲiuʔ hair
snaːr çnjaʔ chisel

Vowel inventory

The following table lists the vowel inventory of the language.[3] The only vowels showing a length distinction are /i/ and /a/, in contradistinction to Khasi, where length is distinctive for all vowels.

High /i, iː/ /ɨ/ /u/
Mid /e/ /ə/ /o/
Low /a, aː/

Words with diphthongs in Khasi have monophthongs in Lyngam,[4] as in the following pairs of cognates:

Lyngam Khasi meaning
bni bnaːi month
ksu ksəu dog
mot miet night


  1. "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Lyngam". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. 1 2 Nagaraja 1996, sect. 1
  4. 1 2 Nagaraja 1996, sect. 2
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