Maniq [maˈniʔ] is a previously undescribed language of the Northern branch of Aslian (Mon-Khmer, Austroasiatic). It is also referred to as Tonga, Mos or Ten’en (Ethnologue code: tnz). Some of its basic typological features include a large phonemic inventory (incl. relatively large sets of initials and finals), rich productive verbal morphology, the SVO default constituent order, and a highly semantically specific verb lexicon.
Maniq people live in groups of approximately 5-50 people scattered across the Khao Banthad mountain range in Trang, Satun, Phatthalung, and Songkhla provinces of southern Thailand. The area is a biodiversity hotspot covered with tropical rainforest hosting a rich flora and fauna. Maniq people belong to the ethnographical cluster of nomadic foragers referred to as the Semang. They are hunter-gatherers traditionally leading a nomadic or a semi-nomadic lifestyle. They also partially rely on the Thai economy (goods exchange, occasional waged labor, tourists) and therefore maintain contact with the outside world. Some groups, however, from time to time retreat into the “deep forest” and stay in isolation for an extended period of time.
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