Tamang, Eastern


A language of Nepal

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

1,180,000 in Nepal (2001 census), increasing. Southwestern Tamang: 109,000 (1991 census). Population for all Tamang varieties: 1,350,000 (2011 census). Population total all countries: 1,197,500. In some remote communities, particularly women, children and elderly people are monolingual. Ethnic population: 1,290,000 (2001 census). L2 users: 23,600 in Nepal (1991 census). L2 speakers of all Tamang.


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; Sagarmatha Zone, Okhaldhunga, west Khotang, and Udayapur districts. Southwestern Tamang: Bagmati Zone, southern Dhading district; Narayani Zone, Chitwan, northwest Makwanpur, Bara, Parsa, and Rautahat districts; west and northwest Kathmandu district area.

Language Status

4 (Educational). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Tamang.


Central-Eastern Tamang (Temal Tamang), Outer-Eastern Tamang (Sailung Tamang), Southwestern Tamang (Kath-Bhotiya, Lama Bhote, Murmi, Rongba, Sain, Tamang Gyoi, Tamang Gyot, Tamang Lengmo, Tamang Tam). 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. Comprehension of Outer-Eastern 58% by Western Rasuwa Tamang [tdg], 64%–75% by Western Trisuli Tamang [tdg], 67%–54% by Southwestern Tamang, 88%–93% by Central-Eastern Tamang [taj], and 90%–98% among its own varieties. Southwestern Tamang 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, 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).


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. Positive attitudes. Also use Tibetan [bod] in religious contexts. Those who have been to school or traveled often speak Nepali [npi]; others have limited proficiency, especially women, older adults, and children. Also use Nepali in official contexts. Also use Bhojpuri [bho], Lhomi [lhm], Maithili [mai]. Used as L2 by Danuwar [dhw], Jirel [jul], Sunwar [suz].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 1%–10%. Literacy rate in L2: 25%–75%. 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.

Devanagari script [Deva]. Tibetan script [Tibt], Tamhig style.

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu.

Also spoken in:

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