Tamang, Western

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A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Murmi, Sain
Population

323,000 (2000), increasing. Mostly monolingual below school age or over 60 years of age.

Location

Bagmati Zone, west Nuwakot, Rasuwa, and Dhading districts; northeast Sindhupalchok district, Bhote Namlan, and Bhote Chaur, on Trishuli river west bank toward Budhi Gandaki river; Narayani Zone, northwest Makwanpur district, Phakel, Chakhel, Khulekhani, Markhu, Tistung, and Palung; north Kathmandu, Jhor, Thoka, and Gagal Phedi.

Language Status

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

Dialects

Northwestern dialect of Western Tamang (Dhading), Rasuwa, Southwestern dialect of Western Tamang, Trisuli (Nuwakot). Preliminary results showed 86% intelligibility of Rasuwa dialect, 81%–88% of Central-Eastern [taj], 78%–88% of Outer-Eastern [taj], 86% of Southwestern [tsf]; 80% of Rasuwa with Trisuli, up to 70% of Outer-Eastern [taj]. Lexical similarity: 94% between Trisuli dialect and Northwestern Tamang [tmk], 82%–83% with Rasuwa, 80% with Southwestern Tamang [tsf], 77%–79% with Eastern Gorkha Tamang [tge], 82%–83% between Rasuwa and Northwestern [tmk], 78% with Southwestern [tsf], 72% with Eastern Gorkha [tge], 69%–81% between Western varieties and Eastern Tamang varieties.

Typology

SOV; postpositions; noun head both initial and final; genitives after nouns, relatives before nouns; no noun classes or genders; content q-word initial; up to 2 prefixes, up to 11 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by word order; ergativity; no passives or voice; 24 consonant and 5 vowel phonemes; CV, CVC, CCV, V, CCVC, CVCCC; tonal

Language Use

Home, friends, religion; mixed use: Work, education. All ages. Younger population also uses Nepali [npi] due to education in the national language.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 25%–75%. Taught in primary schools, primary mother-tongue multilingual education program since 2007. Poetry. Magazines. Newspapers. Radio programs. Videos. Dictionary. NT: 1990.
Writing
Devanagari script. Tibetan script.
Other Comments

Murmi is the ethnonym used by the Lepcha and Kirati communities and Sain by the Newar. Traditional religion, Buddhist, Christian.