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Angami Phonetic Reader (An Old and Rare Book)

Angami Phonetic Reader (An Old and Rare Book)
Item Code: NAW246
Author: N. Ravindran
Publisher: Central Institute Of Indian Languages, Mysore
Language: Angami and English
Edition: 1974
Pages: 80
Other Details: 8.50 X 5.50 inch

The Central Institute of Indian Languages was set up on the 17th July, 1969 with a view to assisting and co-ordinating the development of Indian languages. The Institute was charged with the responsibility of serving as a nucleus to bring together all the research and literary out-put from the various linguistic streams to a common head and narrowing the gap between basic research and developmental research in the fields of languages and linguistics in India. The Institute and its four regional language centres are thus engaged in research and teaching which lead to the publication of a wide-ranging variety of materials. Preparation of materials designed for teaching/learning at different levels and suited to specific needs is one of the major areas of interest of the Institute. Basic research relating to the acquisition of language and study of language in its manifold psycho-social relations constitute another broad range of its interest. The publications will include materials produced by the members of the staff of the Central Institute of Indian Languages and its Regional Language Centres and associated scholars from universities and institutions, both Indian and foreign.

The Central Institute of Indian Languages has initiated the Primetime Reader Series in Indian languages with a view to presenting the range of phonetic variation obtaining in this sub-continent and demonstrating the closeness of language on the basis of phonetic patterning. These Readers are biased towards learning the sound systems of languages. Thus it is hoped that this series will be of interest to both scholars who are interested in phonetic studies and practical learners of languages who wish to make a beginning in their language study.

If these materials help solving the problems in the State and help in understanding the people speaking the language, then our efforts will be deemed to have been amply rewarded.


About six per cent of the population of India is tribal. There have been three views about how best they can be drawn into the main stream of our national life. One obvious way is not to draw them at all and leave them alone and preserve their culture and traditions intact as museum pieces. The other extreme view has been to sort of drown them in the mainstream and completely assimilate them. The third view is to see that the best in their traditions and cultures that is consistent with modern life is preserved and they are integrated so that they maintain their individuality and at the same time participate in and benefit by the modern developments. It is also the considered view of all the people that matter that these tribal’s should be integrated with the regional population amidst whom they live. This can be done only when they are approached through their own mother tongues. It is also obvious that it is impracticable to use their mother tongues throughout their education. Their mother tongues are to be used so that they can effectively be integrated into the regional population. This does not mean that they should forsake their mother tongues, but only means that they should gain native-like fluency in their respective regional languages as early as possible. It is for this purpose that their languages have, to be scientifically studied and grammatical sketches and vocabularies have to be prepared. The scripts of the regional languages have to be adopted for writing their languages. Primers and textbooks have to be prepared.

To do all this the expertise of the linguists of the country should be placed at the disposal of persons interested in the education of tribal’s. Administrators who come in frequent contact with the tribal’s have in learn to speak fluently the tribal language in question. Learning a language implies an acquisition of a good pronunciation.

Firstly, the learner must acquire the capacity to recognise readily without any error the various speech sounds occurring in the language he is learning. Secondly, he must acquire the capacity to produce them with the help of his own vocal organs. Thirdly, he must acquire the capacity to produce the individual speech sounds he has learnt in sequences. In addition to these three skills, which may be sufficient to gain a reasonable pronunciation, the learner, depending on his needs, has to get a mastery over the orthography of the language he is learning. This involves developing automatic associations between written forms and speech sounds.

The Phonetic Readers in this series have been designed with the above points in view. They are mainly intended to meet the needs of administrators who have to learn the language in question.

Each Reader consists of a brief exposition about the organs of speech and their functions. It also introduces some technical terms. Then each speech sound is described in detail giving the movements of the vocal organs. Each description is rounded off by the technical term for that sound. A brief phonemic statement which meaningfully groups the sounds described in the preceding sections is also appended. A statement about the correspondences between the phonemes of the language and the letters used to write them comes at the end. In this section suggestions for improvements in the existing orthography are made. In the case of languages which have not yet been written, suggestions for adopting the script of the regional language are made.

It may be too much to claim that these Readers are perfect. There are lacunae still to be filled up. The most conspicuous of these is the lack of information on intonation. Though it is true that certain features of pronunciation can only be learnt with the aid of a teacher, the utility of such Readers cannot be underestimated. It is hoped that these Readers will be useful to even persons other than those for whom they are intended.


The Angami Naga belongs to the Naga group of languages. The Naga languages form a sub-group within the Tibeto-Burman tongues which ‘come under the ‘much. disputed Sino-Tibetan language family. The Tibeto-Burman languages in India are spoken mostly in the northern and north-eastern Himalayan belts in between Tibet and Burma. Of these the Naga languages are distributed mainly in Nagaland and Manipur, the two States in the extreme eastern frontier of India. A limited number of Naga languages is found in the union territory of Arunachal Pradesh (NEFA) also.

The Angami Naga is spoken in the district of Kohima in Nagaland. The Angamis (the term ‘Angami’ denotes both the tribe and their language) live on the high hills in and around Kohima, forming several villages. The biggest Angami settlement is the Kohima village which is perhaps one of the biggest villages in Asia. The Kohima village lies side by side with the Kohima town, the capital of the State. The Angamis are the dominant Naga group in the district of Kohima. Their present number is 43,319 (provisional figure in 1971 Census).

The Angami Naga has several dialects-each village having its own version of the language. When the Angamis from different. villages meet, each speaks his own dialect and understands the other. Thus dialect differences make no problem for communication. The principal dialects of Angami are Chokri, Khonoma and Kohima. The Kohima dialect, which is presented here, is considered to be the standard Angami for all publications. The same is taught in schools. The Angami Naga is written in the Roman script. (No Naga language has a script of its own.)

The Angami language has no creative written literature. Most of the available publications are religious writings. A Literature Committe exists in Kohima for the development of the Angami language. Some of the enthusiastic native scholars belonging to the Angami Literature Committe have now formed another language development agency named as URA ACADEMY, the first of its kind for any Naga language. The Academy conducts courses in Angami for the natives and also plans to publish books. The Text-Book Production branch of the Directorate of Education, Nagaland produces textbooks in Angami and a number of other Naga languages. At present the textbooks in Angami (as in the case of other Naga languages) are were translations from English. Original writing is yet to develop. The Ura Academy mentioned above, may be expected to initiate the tesk of original writing and literature development. Some of the native scholars are doing notable work on Angami oral literature. Mention may be made of Mr. Ruzhukrie Sekhose who has published collections of folklore and idiomatic expressions in Angami.

Linguistic studies on Angami Naga were made late in the last century by British officials and other foreigners who were confronted with the multiplicity of languages in the Naga hills. Though no exhaustive linguistic study of the language was made, a number of articles and some books were written by the foreign scholars. Some of them are worth mentioning here. Probably one of the earliest works on Angami is an article titled "Rough Notes on the Angami Nagas and their Language’ by Captain J. Butter, published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in the year 1875. However, the earliest grammar of Angami was written by McCabe in 1887.2 Sir Grierson in his Linguistic Survey of India deals with Angami grammar. Grierson’s account on Angami is largely based on McCabe’s work. A recent work on Angami Phonology is an article by Robins Burling, which appeared in Indian Linguistics. A detailed scientific study of Angami Naga (Phonology, Morphology and Syntax) is being done at the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore.

This Phonetic Reader of the Angami Naga Language is primarily meant for the student who learns Angami as a second language and for the teacher who teaches it.

There are difficulties in learning to pronounce the sounds of a new language. In order to overcome these difficulties, the student shall follow the following steps. He must first learn to recognise and identify correctly the various speech sounds in the Angami language when the teacher or the speaker pronounces them. For this purpose this Reader gives a complete articulatory description of each sound and a set of words. Minimal pairs are given for listening and pronunciation practice in the section on phonetic drills.

Angami is a tone language. Tone is pitch variation which is a phonetic feature of the syllable. If this feature is lexically significant — in plain words, causes meaning differences -in a language, then that language is a tone language. Angami has five lexically significant and contrastive tones. Tones may add to the difficulties of the learner learning this language. However, with long practice the student can acquire the ability to recognise and produce the exact tones in the proper syllables.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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