Hakha Chin language

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Hakha Chin
Laiholh
Native to Burma, India, Bangladesh[1]
Ethnicity Chin
Native speakers
(130,000 cited 1991–2001)[2]
Sino-Tibetan
Latin script (Hakha alphabet),Burmese script
Language codes
ISO 639-3 cnh
Glottolog haka1240[3]

Hakha Chin (Baungshe, Pawi), or Lai, is a language spoken in Southeast Asia by 446,264 people.[1] The total figure includes 2,000 Zokhua and 60,100 Lai speakers.[1] The speakers are largely concentrated in Chin State in western Burma and Mizoram in eastern India, with a small number of speakers in southeastern Bangladesh.

The Hakha-Chin language acts as a lingua franca in most parts of Chin State and is a native language in Hakha, Thantlang, and parts of Matupi. Derived from the same Lai dialect and sharing 85% of their phonology, Hakha speakers can easily communicate with Falam speakers. As the capital of Chin State, Hakha provides government employment and business opportunities to people living elsewhere in Chin State. These people live here temporarily or permanently, and their families eventually learn how to speak Hakha.

Phonology

Syllable structure

Words in the Hakha Chin language are predominantly monosyllabic with some sesquisyllables featuring a "reduced syllable"[4]. Full syllables are either open or closed with a rising, falling, or low tone.

Consonants

The Hakha Chin language differentiates between voiced, voiceless, and voiceless aspirated obstruents. Additionally, two sets of sonorants are realised.[5]

  Labial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasals voiced m n ŋ  
voiceless ŋ̊  
Plosives tenuis p t ʈ k ʔ
aspirated t ʈʰ  
voiced b (ɡ)  
Central affricates tenuis t͡s
aspirated t͡sʰ  
Lateral affricates tenuis
aspirated tɬʰ
Fricatives voiceless f   h
voiced v  
Approximants voiced l j
voiceless
Trills voiced r
voiceless

Consonants allowed in syllable codas are /p, t, k, m, n, ŋ, l, r, j, w/.

The unattested parent language, Proto-Chin, featured a voiced velar plosive ɡ. The phoneme itself was lost in all of its daughter languages, due to a spirantisation to ɣ, which a labialisation followed afterwards.[5] Only certain loanwords, not native words, have the voiced velar plosive.

In the Hakha alphabet, ⟨h⟩ transcribes the glottal fricative in initial position, but a glottal stop in coda position.[6] Voiceless approximants are distinguished in writing from their voiced counterparts with a prefixed ⟨h⟩.

Vowels

The Hakha language features five vowels which may be long or short. Allophones occur for closed syllables.[5]

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

The Hakha language also features diphthongs.[5]

Front Near-Front Central Near-Back Back
Close ia iu ui ua
Mid ei eu oi
Open ai au

Grammar

Hakha-Chin is a subject-object-verb (SOV) language, and negation follows the verb.

Literacy and literature

Literacy rates are lower for older generations and higher in younger generations.[1] The Hakha-Chin language uses the Latin script and reportedly the Pau Cin Hau script, unlike most languages of India and Bangladesh which use Devanagari or other Southeast Asian alphabets. Between 1978 and 1999, the Bible was translated into the language.[1]

Distribution

The Hakha-Chin language is also known as Haka, Baung-shè, and Lai in Burma, India, and Bangladesh[1]. The Hakha-Chin people are largely members of the Lai tribe. In India, they are a Scheduled Tribe, which means the government recognizes them as a distinct people. As they mostly live in hilly or even mountainous remote areas, most Hakha-Chin speakers rely on swidden agriculture[1]. Hakha-Chin speakers are predominantly Christian.[1]

Burma

As of 1991, there were 100,000 Hakha-Chin speakers in Burma.[1] Dialects vary from village to village.

Bangladesh

As of 2000, there were 1,264 Hakha-Chin speakers in Bangladesh.[1] In Bangladesh, the Senthang dialect Shonshe is spoken and it may be a language in its own right.[1]

India

As of 1996, there were 345,000 Hakha-Chin speakers in India, mostly in the Lawngtlai, Chhimtuipui, and Aizawl districts of Mizoram as well as the southernmost tip of Assam[1]. In India, the language is also known as Lai Pawi and Lai Hawlh and is taught in some primary schools. Most of its younger speakers in India are literate[1].

Bibliography

  • Peterson, David A. (2003). "Hakha Lai" In Graham Thurgood and Randy J. LaPolla, eds. The Sino-Tibetan Languages, 409–426. London: Routledge

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Hakha-China, Ethnologue, 1983, 1991, 1996, 2000, access date 9 August 2008
  2. ^ Hakha Chin at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Haka Chin". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ http://www.ling.sinica.edu.tw/files/publication/j2004_4_05_8112.pdf
  5. ^ a b c d http://ic.payap.ac.th/wp-content/uploads/linguistics_PDF/Khois-Proto-Reconstruction-of-Chin-revised.pdf
  6. ^ http://hobugt.dk/ordbog/artikler/pronunciation.htm

External links

  • Online English to Chin (Hakha) Dictionary with Audio Pronunciations
  • English to Haka Chin Online Dictionary
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