Chepang

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A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Cyo’bang, Praja Bhasa, Tsepang
Population

48,500 (2011 census), decreasing. No monolinguals. Ethnic population: 52,200.

Location

Narayani Zone, Makwanpur, Chitwan districts; Bagmati Zone, southern Dhading district; Gandaki Zone, southern Gorkha district.

Language Status

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

Dialects

Eastern Chepang, Western Chepang. Bhujel [byh] has difficult intelligibility with Chepang due to different pronominal suffix morphology. Dialects of Chepang differ in verb forms. Reportedly similar in morphology to Kirati languages. Lexical similarity: 98% with Bhujel [byh] (2004 R. Caughley, based on 100-item word list).

Typology

SOV; postpositions; noun head final; no noun classes or genders; relatives before or without noun heads; content q-word in situ; no prefixes, up to 8 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; affixes indicate case of noun phrase; verbal affixation marks person and number; ergative; tense and aspect; voice; causatives; comparatives; CV to CCCVCCC with certain restrictions; 18 consonant and 6 vowel phonemes; nontonal (not phonemic, but phonetic pitch). Whistle speech.

Language Use

Home; mixed use: Friends, religion, work. Young adults and older. Some use among children and adolescents. Positive attitudes. Also use Nepali [npi].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 40% men, 15% women in Nepali [npi]; 14% ethnic group (1991 census). Difficulties in reading Chepang: long words, consonant clusters. Written Chepang has lower prestige than Nepali. Motivation high for Nepali. Newspapers. Radio programs. Films. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1993.
Writing

Devanagari script [Deva].

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Christian.

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