A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Arthare, Arthare-Khesang, Dungmali Puk, Dungmali Pûk, Dungmali-Bantawa, Khesange

6,470, all users. L1 users: 6,260 (2011 census), decreasing. L2 users: 210 (2011 census). 150 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 10,000.


Kosi zone: east Bhojpur district, Bastim, Sano Dungma, and Thulo Dungma VDCs; east border is Arun river.

Language Status

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


Khesang (Khesange). 82% cognate with Bantawa [bap] but morphology and phonology differ (Winter and Hansson 1991). Lexical similarity: 80% with Bantawa [bap], 65% with Puma [pum].


SOV; postpositions; noun head final; content q-word in situ; 1 prefix; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; verbal affixation marks person and gender; split ergativity; tense; no passives or voice; tonal; 18 consonant and 6 vowel phonemes.

Language Use

Home, religion. Mixed use: Friends, work. Some young people, all adults. Also use Bantawa [bap].

Language Development

Literature. Newspapers. Dictionary. Agency: Dungmali Rai Language Culture Preservation Forum.


Devanagari script [Deva].

Other Comments

Local names which may not be dialects: Chhinamkhang, Chhichhangchha, Hangbang, Khandung, Pungwai, Roktulung, Tuncha, Waitpang. Traditional religion.

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