A language of Nepal

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

20,700 in Nepal (2011 census). Thulung communities also in Bhojpur and Sankhuwasabha districts, scattered in Udayapur, Morang, Panchthar, and Ilam districts. Migrants may not speak Thulung as L1. A few elderly monolinguals.


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.

Language Status

5 (Developing). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Rai.


Central Thulung (Mukli Lwa), Eastern Thulung (Jubu Lwa, Lokhim Lwa), Northern Thulung (Deusa Lwa), Southern Thulung (Necha Lwa). 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. Also use Bahing [bhj]. Women speak less Nepali [npi] than men. Most men speak Nepali well. Used as L2 by Nepali [npi].

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

Devanagari script [Deva].

Other Comments

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

Also spoken in:

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