19,300 in Nepal (2011 census), decreasing. L2 users: 410 in Nepal (1991 census). Ethnic population: 19,500. Total users in all countries: 20,160 (as L1: 19,750; as L2: 410).
Mechi Zone, Jhapa district, 24 villages; Kosi Zone, Morang and Sunsari districts, 51 villages; eastern and western dialects are separated by Kankai river in Jhapa.
6b (Threatened). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Dhimal.
Eastern Dhimal, Western Dhimal. 75%–80% intelligibility between eastern and western dialect speakers. Lexical similarity: 80%–82% with dialects.
SOV; postpositions; noun head final; no noun classes or genders; content q-word in situ; genitives, demonstratives, relatives before noun heads; 1 prefix, up to 3 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; verbal affixation marks person; non-ergative; tense and aspect; passives and voice; nontonal; 31 consonant and 16 vowel phonemes (includes 5 basic vowels, 5 long vowels and 5 nasalized vowels); honorificity is marked for first person when speaking with in-laws.
Devanagari script [Deva], used since 1999.
Traditional religion, Christian, Hindu.