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Lotha Phonetic Reader (An Old and Rare Book)

Lotha Phonetic Reader (An Old and Rare Book)
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Item Code: NAW336
Author: K. P. Acharya
Publisher: Central Institute Of Indian Languages, Mysore
Language: English
Edition: 1975
Pages: 104
Other Details: 8.50 X 5.50 inch
weight of the book: 0.13 kg

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 output 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 Phonetic 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 languages 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 have been amply rewarded.


The tribal people in India have for long lived in isolation except to be exposed for exploitation. They have not participated to their benefit in the socio-economic development of the country. To come cut of their isolation it is necessary for them to learn the language of the majority people around them and a number of them have done so. But this bridges the communication gap only in one way and the whole burden of building up this bridge is carried out by the minority group. It is necessary, however, for developing mutual understanding and good-will, to increase bidirectional communication between the tribal people and the majority people of the region. For this purpose, the majority people, especially those who come into contact with the tribal people for various reasons such as civil administration, security, social service, trade, etc., should learn their language. The Phonetic Reader, which forms part of a package consisting of Grammar, bi- or tri-lingual Dictionary and Teaching Manual, is prepared to help them in their learning of the tribal language.

The Phonetic Reader gives a general description of the human speech sounds and the organs of speech that produce them, a detailed description of the production of the sounds of the particular language drills to practice those sounds, the phonemic inventory and orthography best suited for that language. The general description of the human speech sounds introduce and explains the technical terminology. The description of the sounds of the language under consideration is made lucid enough for the person not trained in Linguistics to understand even, perhaps, at the risk of being repetitive at times. After describing how each sound is produced, the technical name of the sound is given for identification and its distribution in a word. This is followed, wherever possible, by a comparison with the similar sound in other languages assumed to be known to the prospective users of the book. Then comes the list of words containing the sounds. This section will help the reader to identify the sounds of the language he is learning and to reproduce them in isolation and in words. Words for drill are given for the learner to practice correct pronunciation and to differentiate between similar sounds.

The script suggested is normally the script of the majority of the official language of the region. This is to take the barrier of script out for the learner from the majority group and more importantly to ease the switch over of the tribal children from their mother tongue to the majority language at some point in their schooling. This will also make biliterate the tribal adults who can already speak the majority language when they are taught reading and writing of their mother- tongue. The modifications given are only suggestive and they take into consideration the conventions of the adopted script, the practices already in vogue if the script is being used by the language under consideration and the technological convenience.

Though the Phonetic Reader is primarily aimed at the language learner and teacher, it is hoped that it will be also useful to linguists interested in typology and universals. The section on script will be of interest to the language planners.

Except when the writer himself is the native speaker of the language analysed, ,data are collected in the field primarily from one informant and then checked with a few other informants. Care is taken to transcribe the sounds as accurately as possible. Still some inadvertent lapses might remain. There might still be room for improving the presentation of the material, Comments and_ suggestions passed on to us will be useful to improve our future publications in the series.


Lotha Naga belongs to the Central group of Naga Languages of Tibeto-Burman language family. It is spoken by people who live mainly in the Wokha District of Nagaland. According to 1971 Census? Lotha speakers number about 36949. Lothas do not call themselves by that name. They refer to themselves as ‘kyon’ which literally means ‘people’.

According to a local tradition, the word ‘Lotha’ was not used originally in its present form. The term was originally introduced by the Assamese as ‘ot a’ which means "a creeper’ in Assamee. Then the Britishers pronounced it as ‘"‘Lhota"’ by aspirating the initial consonant. After independence ‘"Lhota’’ was changed to ‘‘Lotha’’, which is the present form.

Lotha language is surrounded by Ao in the north, Sema in the east, Miker in the west and Angami, Rengma in the south.

It is not clear how many dialects of Lotha are there. J.P. Mills in his book Lhota Naga says that the main division of Lotha Naga is made by the river Doyang, those to the north being known as ‘‘Live’? and those to south as ‘Ndreng’. The local people say that there is only one dialect throughout the Lotha area but they admit that the language differs for tone in different regions. Lotha spoken in and around Wokha is considered to be the standard. The religious songs, textbooks and other literary works are composed in the dialect spoken in this area by the Lotha Literature Committee appointed by the Govt. of Nagaland.

Very few earlier works are found on Lotha. They include (1} Grierson’s Linguistic Survey of India Vol. WII, Part (2) Rev. W.E. Witter’s Outline Grammar of Lhota Naga Language published in 1886, (3) Marrison’s Classification of Naga Languages, vol. I-II., London, 1967. Regarding the Anthropological studies of Lotha Nagas, J.H. Hutton’s The Angami Nagas, London, 1921, contains a chapter on Lotha. There is a separate book on ‘‘Lhota Naga’’ written by J. P. Mills dealing with the social aspects of Lotha Nagas. He has also written an article titled ‘Folk Stories in Lotha Naga’ (published in J. A. S. B. M.S. Vol. 22, 1926, pp. 235-318). Apert from the American missionaries, many local leaders like Tsanso, Motsuo, Chundemo Murry of Okotso, Ashio of Koto, Yikhyingo of Tsungiki have tried to standardize the language in the area of pronunciation and script. Among those who are currently working, the names of N. L. Kinghen, Chairman, Lotha Literature Committe, M. Mozhui, Rev. A. Patton, Ellis Murry, Nzanbemo Murry, Rev. Zanao, Rev. Phandeo may be mentioned.

Lotha language is taught in schools as mother tongue and is used as a medium of instruction in all the primary schools. The textbook production branch of the Directorate of Education, Nagaland, produces textbooks in this language also. There is a Literature Committee appointed by the Govt. of Nagaland which works for the development of Lotha Language and Literature. Nagaland Bhasha Parishat also has done some linguistic work on Naga languages including Lotha.

English is being taught as a compulsory subject from the primary stage to the secondary stage. It is the medium of instruction from class VI and above. English continues to be the state language until one or more of the Naga languages are sufficiently developed to replace it.

Hindi is being taught as a compulsory subject from class VIII. In classes IX and X it is being taught as an optional subject as per the regulations of the secondary board. Cash awards have however been instituted to encourage students to opt for Hindi.

The main purpose of this Phonetic Reader is to introduce the sound system of Lotha Naga language to the non-native speakers by providing descriptions of sounds in detail with examples. The Reader also gives drills in Lotha sounds. It is hoped that they will enable the learner to acquire a reasonable and correct pronunciation of Lotha sounds.

An attempt has been made to explain the sounds of Lotha as far as possible without introducing technical terminology so that the learner may understand the description without much training in linguistics.

Like other Naga languages, Lotha Naga language is a tone language. The learner should take special efforts to acquire the correct tones using drills given in the Reader Intensive practice will help one to acquire near native mastery of pronunciation.

The Reader consists of five chapters and is arranged in the following way.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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