Tamang, Northwestern


A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Kath-Bhotiya, Lama Bhote, Murmi, Rongba, Sain, Tamang Gyoi, Tamang Lengmo, Tamang Tam

55,000 (1991 census), increasing.


Bagmati Zone, Nuwakot district, central mountainous strip.

Language Status

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


Dhading. All Western Tamang varieties have high mutual intelligibility. Lexical similarity: 94% with Western Trisuli Tamang [tdg], 82%–83% with Western Rasuwa Tamang [tdg], 76%–78% with Southwestern Tamang [tsf], 76%–77% with Eastern Gorkha Tamang [tge], 72%–80% with Eastern Tamang [taj].


SOV; postpositions; noun head both initial and final; no noun classes or gender; no prefixes, up to 4 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; ergativity; genitives after noun head; relatives before noun head; question word medial; tense and aspect; no passives or voice; CV, CVC, CCV, V, CCVC, CVCCC; tonal; 25 consonant and 5 vowel phonemes

Language Use

Home; mixed use: Friends, religion, work, education. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Tibetan [bod] in religious contexts, Nepali [npi] in official contexts.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 1%–10%. Literacy rate in L2: 25%–75%. Taught in primary schools. Poetry. Magazines. Newspapers. New media. Radio programs. Dictionary.
Devanagari script.
Other Comments

Traditional religion, Buddhist, Christian.