A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Tholong Lo, Thulu Luwa, Thululoa, Thulung Jemu, Thulung La, Thulunge Rai, Toaku Lwa

30,000 in Nepal (2003). A few elderly monolinguals. Thulung communities also in Bhojpur and Sankhuwasabha districts, scattered in Udayapur, Morang, Panchthar, and Ilam districts. Migrants may not speak Thulung as L1.


Sagarmatha Zone, southeast Solukhumbu district, Deusa, Lokhim, Mukli, Jubu, Tingla, Salyan, Panchan, and Necha VDCs; Khotang district, Salle, Jaleswori, and Maheswori VDCs; Okhaldhunga district, Tuintar VDC, 6 or 7 villages; Koshi Zone, Bhojpur district, 1 village; west of the slopes’ highest ridges to Dudhkosi, north of Nechedanda and Halesidanda ranges, east of upper Solu river, and south of the Kakukhola and the confluence of Ingkhukhola and Dudhkosi. Also in India.

Language Status

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


Central Thulung (Mukli Lwa), Eastern Thulung (Jubu Lwa, Lokhim Lwa), Northern Thulung (Deusa Lwa), Southern Thulung (Necha Lwa). Related to Lingkhim [lii], Bahing [bhj], Wambule [wme], and Jerung [jee]. Many cognates with Khaling [klr].


SOV; postpositions; noun head final; content q-word in situ; no prefixes, up to 4 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; verbal affixation marks person and number; ergativity; tense; passives and voice, but rare; tonal; 29 consonant and 16 vowel phonemes

Language Use

Language retention high compared to other Rai languages (Winter and Hanson 1991). Home, friends, religion. All ages. Neutral attitudes. Do not believe each other’s dialect is ’pure’ Thulung. Women speak less Nepali [npi] than men. Most men speak Nepali well.

Language Development
Poetry. Magazines. Newspapers. New media. Radio programs. Videos. Dictionary. Bible portions: 2006.
Devanagari script.
Other Comments

Interest in development among cultural associations (Thulung Rai Society). Traditional religion, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian.

Also spoken in:

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