Gurung, Western


A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Gurung, Tamu Kyi

125,000 in Nepal (2007), increasing. 326,000 all Gurung languages in Nepal (2011 census). Population total all countries: 158,000. 12,000 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 544,000. L2 users: 18,918 L2 speakers of all Gurung languages. Mainly occupational castes who live in and serve the Gurung communities (1991 census).


Gandaki Zone, Kaski and Syangja districts; Dhawalagiri Zone, Parbat district. Possibly in Myanmar.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Gurung.


Northwestern Gurung (Kaski Gurung), Southern Gurung (Syangja Gurung). Dialect speakers may have enough mutual intelligibility to understand complex and abstract discourse, but not enough with Eastern Gurung [ggn]. Related to Thakali [ths].


SOV; postpositions; genitives, adjectives, relative clauses precede noun heads; numerals after noun heads; noun head final; no noun classes or genders; content q-word in situ; rising intonation marks bipolar questions; one negative prefix on verbs; up to 2 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; case of noun phrases is indicated by postpositions; no subject or object referencing in verbs; split ergative system according to tense; causatives; benefactives; aspect; no passives or voice; 24 consonant and 5 vowel phonemes; CV, CCV, CCCV; tonal: voice quality or register is part of the tone system.

Language Use

Children and young people use Gurung less frequently than those who are older. Passed down only a little from generation to generation (2002 UNESCO). Home; mixed use: Friends, religion, work. Some use among all ages. Positive attitudes. School graduates speak some English [eng]. Also use Lhomi [lhm], Nepali [npi].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 30%. Literacy rate in L2: 30%. Poetry. Magazines. Newspapers. New media. Radio programs. Films. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1982.

Devanagari script [Deva].

Other Comments

Buddhist, Christian, Hindu.

Also spoken in:

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