The aim of this work is to provide a comprehensive description of the phonetic and phonological features of Ao, a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in the hill state of Nagaland, north-east India. The description is primarily based upon the data of three native speakers, and the language under study is a variety of the Mongsen dialect spoken in Waromung village, situated in the Mokokchung district.
This is the first extensive acoustic description of a language belonging to the Kuki-Chin-Naga branch of the Tibeto-Burman family. The study describes the phonotactic structure, phonology, articulatory phonetics, acoustic phonetics and tone system of the Mongsen dialect of Ao, illustrating how instrumental techniques can be used to corroborate and quantify the auditory analysis of an undescribed language. Methodology is described in detail and the findings are correlated with what is known cross-linguistically about aspects of the language being investigated.
It is hoped that this work will be of benefit to scholars who wish to write descriptions of related languages and comparativists who are interested in clarifying the genetic relationships holding between the Tibeto-Burman languages of north-east India. It is also hoped that the monograph will be of relevance to a wider linguistic audience, in particular typologists and phonologists interested in the study of phonological systems and the characteristics of tone in less well-known languages of the region.