Tamang, Western


A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Murmi, Sain, Tamang Gyot, Tamang Tam

356,500, all users. L1 users: 323,000 (2000), increasing. Population for all Tamang varieties: 1,350,000 (2011 census). L2 users: 33,500 (2011 census). Mostly monolingual below school age or over 60 years of age.


Bagmati zone: Dhading, west Nuwakot, and Rasuwa districts; northeast Sindhupalchok district, Bhote Chaur and Bhote Namlan on Trishuli river west bank; Narayani zone: northwest Makwanpur district, Chakhel, Khulekhani, Markhu, Palung, Phakel, and Tistung; north Kathmandu, Gagal Phedi, Jhor, and Thoka.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Tamang.


Trisuli (Nuwakot), Rasuwa, Northwestern dialect of Western Tamang (Dhading), Southwestern dialect of Western Tamang. Preliminary results showed 86% intelligibility of Rasuwa dialect, 81%–88% of Central-Eastern [taj], 78%–88% of Outer-Eastern [taj], 86% of Southwestern [taj]; 80% of Rasuwa with Trisuli, up to 70% of Outer-Eastern [taj]. Lexical similarity: 94% between Trisuli dialect and Northwestern Tamang [tmk], 82%–83% with Rasuwa, 80% with Southwestern Tamang [taj], 77%–79% with Eastern Gorkha Tamang [tge], 82%–83% between Rasuwa and Northwestern [tmk], 78% with Southwestern [taj], 72% with Eastern Gorkha [tge], 69%–81% between Western varieties and Eastern Tamang varieties.


SOV; postpositions; noun head both initial and final; genitives after nouns, relatives before nouns; no noun classes or genders; content q-word initial; up to 2 prefixes, up to 11 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by word order; ergativity; no passives or voice; 24 consonant and 5 vowel phonemes; CV, CVC, CCV, V, CCVC, CVCCC; tonal.

Language Use

Home, friends, religion; mixed use: Work, education. Used by all. Also use Nepali [npi], especially younger people, as it is the medium of instruction in schools.

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: 25%–75%. Taught in primary schools, primary mother-tongue multilingual education program since 2007. Literature. Newspapers. Periodicals. Radio. Videos. Dictionary. Texts. NT: 1990–2003. Agency: Nepal Tamang Ghedung.


Devanagari script [Deva], primary usage. Tibetan script [Tibt].

Other Comments

Murmi is the ethnonym used by the Lepcha and Kirati communities and Sain by the Newar. Traditional religion, Buddhist, Christian.

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