Walungge

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A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Halung, Halungge, Olangchung Gola, Waling, Walongchung Gola, Walung, Walungchung Gola, Walunggi Keccya
Population

3,500 in Nepal (2019 SIL), decreasing. Mostly in original area. High language loss among those who have left the language area. Ethnic population: 4,000 (2019 SIL).

Location

Mechi zone: Taplejung district, Phaktanglung, Miwakhola, and Bhotekhola municipalities; Kosi zone: Sankhuwasabha district. Major villages include Olangchung Gola, Ghunsa, Lungthung, Simbuk, Thudam, and Papung.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Walung, Topkegola.

Dialects

Walungge, Dhokpya (Topke Gola), Thudam. 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].

Language Use

Many school age children are shifting to Nepali [npi] when they are educated outside their homeland. There is widespread growing bilingualism, but it may not be a stable Diglossia (2019 SIL). Home, Community, and Religion. Some young people, all adults. Positive attitudes.

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: 43%–72% in Nepali [npi]. Taught in primary schools in one school for teaching the Tibetan writing system starting from Class 1.

Writing

Tibetan script [Tibt].

Other Comments

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.

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