1,170 (2011 census), decreasing. Mostly in original area. High language loss among those who have left the language area. Ethnic population: 1,150 (2011 census).
Mechi zone: Taplejung district, Gunsa and upper Tamar valleys; Kosi zone: small area.
6b (Threatened). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Walung, Topkegola.
Olangchung Gola (Upper Tamar River), Topke Gola (Mewa River), Ghunsa River. High intelligibility of Thudam [thw]. Reportedly similar to Tibetan dialect in Tingay District of Tibet. Lexical similarity: 71% with Lhasa Tibetan [bod], 68% with Dolpo [dre], Loke [loy], and Kyerung (Kyirong) [kgy], 66% with Lhomi [lhm] and Helambu Sherpa [scp], 64% with Nubri [kte], 57% with Jirel [jul], 55% with Sherpa [xsr].
Tibetan script [Tibt].
Cut off from the Lhomi, with more links to Tibet. Some intermarriage with Lhomi and Tibetan. The people call themselves Sherpa. They do not have a specific language name which groups all varieties of the language together and distinguishes the language from other Tibetan languages. The word “Walungge” comes from a name of one of the main villages in the language area. Buddhist.