Naga, Sangtam

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Incorrect information for Sangtam [nsa]

Alexander R. Coupe, Wed, 2016-06-01 13:07
ISO 639-3: 

The classification of Sangtam as: [Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Sal, Kuki-Chin-Naga, Ao] is wrong. The only Sal languages of Nagaland are Konyak, Chang, Phom and Khiamniungan (see Burling, Robbins. 1983. The Sal languages. 'Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area' 7.2:1–32, and Burling, Robbins. 2003. The Tibeto-Burman languages of northeastern India. In Thurgood, Graham & Randy J. LaPolla (eds.) 'The Sino-Tibetan languages' 1st edn., 169–191. London/New York: Rutledge. The Sal languages are distinguished from the other so-called "Naga" languages by 8 convincing lexical innovations not shared by any other Tibet-Burman languages of Nagaland (see Coupe, Alexander R. 2012. Overcounting numeral systems and their relevance to sub- grouping in the Tibeto-Burman languages of Nagaland. Special Issue on Sino-Tibetan Comparative Studies, Language and Linguistics, Vol. 13.1: 193–220, as well as the above-mentioned articles by Burling). "Kuki-Chin-Naga" is a fictitious branch of Sino-Tibetan. There is nothing that links the so-called "Naga" languages of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh with the Kuki-Chin group. The fact is that at present we are unable to find convincing criteria for subgrouping the languages of NE India, apart from those convincingly shown to belong to the Sal branch on the basis of the lexical innovations that isolates this group. In a publication to appear, I have coined the term 'Indo-Burmic' to refer to the non-Sal languages of Nagaland - see, and I will henceforth be using this neutral geographical term in all my future publications pro temp. It has long been suspected that the non-Sal languages of central and southern Nagaland are related, but convincing evidence has eluded the field until now. In that forthcoming paper I also discuss the problem of using the political term "Naga" as a linguistic label (see pp.4-6). The advantage of 'Indo-Burmic' is that it permits me to refer to the non-Sal languages of central and southern Nagaland without perpetuating the fallacy that there is a "Naga" branch. I strongly recommend that you get rid of "Naga" from all the language names, as there is nothing that links, for example, "Chang Naga" with "Ao Naga". Since 1998 I have avoided using the term "Naga" as a linguistic label for these languages altogether for this very reason. My recommendation for the revised classification of Sangtam is as: [Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Indo-Burmic, Ao group].