The Phoms are located east of the River Dikhu, in the north- west part of the Tuensang district, to the east of the Aos and west of Konyaks and north of Chang.
The Phoms are commonly believed to have migrated into the present area (Longleng) from the eastern lands through the passage on the border of Burma called ‘Apaihung’. They then first settled down in a place called ‘Yingnyuching’ where they stayed for years, but with growing population dispersed once again to settle down in the different villages in the northeastern part of Nagaland. Because of their close relationship with the Konyaks, they have often been viewed as a part of them and because of the proximity with the better known Aos, whose language was often used in early literacy endeavours, the Phoms have not been able to assert their distinctness in the past. However, as the name suggests ‘Phoms’ are those who have ‘united’ to become one and hence claim their separate identity which is now well recognised.
At present, the total population of Phom according to the 2011 census is 54,416. The ISO Code of Phom language is 639-3; nph.
The Phoms also have their own exogamous clans; Noklang, Mekhe, Arihli, Nyiam, Shukaphang. Buchamnu, Ngonyem, Lokpan, Ungtommenha and Ong.
The festival which is celebrated with traditional fervor is Monyu-celebrated for six days in the first week of April, and now the Phom week (1-6 June) which marks the commencement of Peace and calling of truce between the warring tribes is also significant.
The Phoms recognised six varieties of their language depending upon their location. Namsang, Tamlu, Yachum, Huphang, Yongya and Yong Pheng. With the coming of literacy in the languages, the common standard language has evolved from Tamlu and Yongya varieties. In addition, the language called ‘Yacham-Tangsa spoken in the Phom area is closely related to Ao as well.
Sachdeva, Rajesh. (2001). Language Education in Nagaland: Sociolinguistic Dimensions. Regency Publications, New Delhi.