Tamang, Eastern

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A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
“Bhotia” (pej.), Ishang, Murmi, Sei
Population

1,180,000 in Nepal (2001 census), increasing. In some remote communities, particularly women, children and elderly people are monolingual. Population total all countries: 1,197,500. Ethnic population: 1,290,000 (2001 census).

Location

Kathmandu; Janakpur Zone, Sindhuli, Ramechhap, and Dolkha districts; Bagmati Zone, Kavre Palanchok district; west Sindhupalchowk, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, and east Nuwakot districts; Narayani Zone, Makwanpur and Chitwan districts. Also in Bhutan, India.

Language Status

4 (Educational). Language of recognized nationality (2002, NFDIN Act, No. 20, Section 2C).

Dialects

Central-Eastern Tamang (Temal Tamang), Outer-Eastern Tamang (Sailung Tamang), Southwestern Tamang. Central-Eastern most widely understood among all tested to date: 85% by both Trisuli and Rasuwa Western Tamang [tdg], 93%–98% by Outer-Eastern, 87% by Southwestern Tamang [tsf]. Comprehension of Outer-Eastern 58% by Western Rasuwa Tamang [tdg], 64%–75% by Western Trisuli Tamang [tdg], 67%–54% by Southwestern Tamang [tsf], 88%–93% by Central-Eastern Tamang [taj], and 90%–98% among its own varieties. Southwestern Tamang [tsf] may be a bridge between Eastern and Western Tamang (Varenkamp 1996). Lexical similarity: 88%–99% with Outer Eastern varieties; 89%–100% with Central Eastern; 79%–93% with Outer Eastern and Central Eastern, 77%–82% with Southwestern Tamang [tsf], 86%–93% with Southwestern and Central-Eastern, 74%–80% with Eastern and Western Trisuli Tamang [tdg], 69%–81% with Western Rasuwa Tamang [tdg], 72%–80% with Northwestern Dhading Tamang [tmk], 63%–77% with Eastern Gorkha Tamang [tge] (Varenkamp 1996).

Typology

SOV; postpositions, genitives after nouns; noun head final; no noun classes or genders; content q-word in situ; 1 prefix, up to 3 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; ergative; aspect and tense; no passives or voice; 34 consonant and 16 vowel phonemes; CV, CVC, CCV, V, CCVC; tonal; vowel phonemes include 5 basic, 5 long, 6 diphthongs; aspiration and length are phonemic

Language Use

Vigorous. Home, friends, religion; mixed use: Work, education. All ages. Those who have been to school or traveled often speak Nepali [npi]; others have limited proficiency, especially women, older adults, children.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 25%–50%. Some non-formal and formal literacy materials, textbooks and classes. Taught in primary schools, up to class 3 as medium of instruction; to class 5 as subject. Poetry. Magazines. Newspapers. New media. Radio programs. Films. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 2011.
Writing
Devanagari script. Tibetan script, Tamhig style.
Other Comments

Traditional religion, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian.

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