A language of Nepal

Alternate Names

17,300 in Nepal (2001 census), decreasing. Population total all countries: 17,750. Ethnic population: 19,500.


Mechi Zone, Jhapa district, 24 villages; Koshi Zone, Morang and Sunsari districts, 51 villages; eastern and western dialects are separated by Kankai river in Jhapa. Also in India.

Language Status

6b (Threatened). Language of recognized nationality (2002, NFDIN Act, No. 20, Section 2C).


Eastern Dhimal, Western Dhimal. 75%–80% intelligibility between eastern and western dialect speakers. Lexical similarity: 80%–82% with dialects.


SOV; postpositions; noun head final; no noun classes or genders; content q-word in situ; genitives, demonstratives, relatives before noun heads; 1 prefix, up to 3 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; verbal affixation marks person; non-ergative; tense and aspect; passives and voice; nontonal; 31 consonant and 16 vowel phonemes (includes 5 basic vowels, 5 long vowels and 5 nasalized vowels); honorificity is marked for 1st person when speaking with in-laws

Language Use

Home, friends, religion; mixed use: Work. Adolescents and older. Some use among children. Positive attitudes. Most also use some Nepali [npi], Hindi [hin], or Rajbanshi [rjs].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 39% (1991 census). Poetry. Magazines. New media. Radio programs. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions: 2000.
Devanagari script.
Other Comments

Traditional religion, Hindu, Christian.

Also spoken in:

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