Download Sema Book


in the organization of the Morungs (dormitories of the young men and women) as long as they existed. Despite conversion to Christianity, the Clan still plays a vital role in their social life. The clan practices amongst the Nagas come very close to the Gotra found amongst the Indo-Aryan communities.

The Sema community is also sub-divided into a few clans, viz : Asumi, Jemomi, Wocami, Cisilimi, Acumi, Awomi, Ayemi, Yeputhomi, Smohemi, Kinimi, Kibami, Khujumi, Wokami, Chophimi, Cukhumi Nunumi, Katilimi, Khakomi, Chunimi, Cukomi and Morami. Of these 21 Clans, the first 15 are considered the major ones and the rest minor Clans. Unlike the other Naga communities, the Clan was/is dysfunctional to the Semas in as much as it was/is neither an endogamous nor an exogamous unit for them. Since the Semas never had the tye of morungs found with the other Naga communities, the clan for them was dysfunctional in this respect also.

1.5 Location

The Semas are politically a very dominant community and are concentrated mainly in the heart of Nagaland, i.e., Zunheboto district, with Zunheboto as its headquarters. Chizolimi, about 100 Kms north of Kohima is the earliest known settlement of Semas. And Zunheboto is about 100 Kms north of Chizolimi. The other important towns/villages in the Zunheboto district are: Satakha, Akhuloto, Aghunoto, Satoi, Asoto, Suruhoto and Atiozü. The Semas form the dominant community in all these towns/villages. The Semas in the Zunheboto district are bounded by the Aos in the north, the Lothas in the West, the Angamis on the south and the Yimchungers in the east. The Sangtams and the Rengmas touch upon them respectively in the northern and the south western corners. The Semas form a sizable speech island in Chizemi, a village about 10 Kms from Pfütsero, the main town of the Chakhesangs. Culturally, the Semas in Chizemi have virually merged with their surrounding neighbours not only in the way of the dress, but also in taking to the terrace cultivation. The Semas are also found to live exclusively in a few villages in the Diamapur sub-division of the Kohima district. These villages are 1: Chakiya 5 Kms on the east, Nihoto 8 Kms on the east. Pherima 22 Kms on the east, on Dimapur-Kohima National High way No.37, Akapü 1.6 Kms on the north-east, Zhukiya 7 Kms on the north, Tohiri 2 Kms on the west and Thahekhü 1.6 on the south west. A sizable number of Semas also live in Mokok-chung town proper. Mokokchung town is the most important town of the Aos. The Semas also live in a number of villages in the Paren sub-division of the Kohima district.

1.6 Dialects and Script

The Sema language has four major dialects. These are (i) the Western Sema spoken in and around Lezemi village situated on the bank of Doyang river (ii) the Eastern Sema spokenin Chizemi village within the Kheza area (iii) chizolimi dialect spoken in and around the Chizolimi village and (iv) the Central dialect spoken in and around the Zunheboto town. The Eastern Sema shows the influence of Khezha and Angami. The central dialect is considered as the standard one and all the published works in Sema are in this dialect. This grammar is also based on this dialect.

The Sema language is usually written in Roman script. The Bible translations in Sema and all the text books in Sema are in the Roman script. The Nagaland Bhasha Parishad, Kohima, which has published a few books in different Naga languages including in Sema uses Devanagari script. The Roman script in vogue is devised by Rev. W.F. Dowd and Shri Inashe Sema and was published in 1909 in a primer entitled MLALI. It goes to the credit of this educational missionary who lived in the midst of Nagas between 1901 and 1921 and to his colleague that the script devised by them as early as 1909 is nearly phonemic.


The most important achievement of the Government of Nagaland is in the area of education. Today there isn’t a single village in Nagaland that does not have at least a lower primary school. The Nagas knowing the language of the locality form about 95% of the teachers in these lower primary schools1. The State Government also runs 141 adult literacy centers. 27.33% of the state’s population are literates. This includes 34.43% amongst the males and 19.21% amongst the females. When compared with the All India figures of literacy, the Nagaland figures fares very favorably. The state government has set up middle schools in all important villages of the Zunheboto district and high schools set







Sema Index Page
FeedBack | Contact Us | Home
ciil grammar footer