A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Tholong Lo, Thulu Luwa, Thululoa, Thulung Jemu, Thulung La, Thulunge Rai, Toaku Lwa

22,300 in Nepal, all users. 20,700 (2011 census). Thulung communities also in Bhojpur and Sankhuwasabha districts, scattered in Udayapur, Morang, Panchthar, and Ilam districts. Migrants may not speak Thulung as L1. 1,600 (2011 census). A few elderly monolinguals. Total users in all countries: 22,300 (as L1: 20,700; as L2: 1,600).


Kosi zone: Bhojpur district, 1 village; Sagarmatha zone: southeast Solukhumbu district, Deusa, Jubu, Lokhim, Mukli, Necha, Panchan, Salyan, and Tingla VDCs; Khotang district, Salle, Jaleswori, and Maheswori VDCs; Okhaldhunga district, Tuintar VDC, 6 or 7 villages.

Language Status

5 (Developing). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Rai.


Northern Thulung (Deusa Lwa), Southern Thulung (Necha Lwa), Central Thulung (Mukli Lwa), Eastern Thulung (Jubu Lwa, Lokhim Lwa). Many cognates with Khaling [klr].


SOV; postpositions; noun head final; content q-word in situ; no prefixes, up to 4 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; verbal affixation marks person and number; ergativity; tense; passives and voice, but rare; tonal; 29 consonant and 16 vowel phonemes.

Language Use

Language retention high compared to other Rai languages (Winter and Hansson 1991). Home, friends, religion. All ages. Neutral attitudes. Also use Bahing [bhj]. Also use Nepali [npi], especially men, who tend to speak it with greater proficiency than women. Used as L2 by Nepali [npi].

Language Development
Literature. Newspapers. Periodicals. Radio. Videos. Dictionary. Texts. Bible portions: 2006. Agencies: Thulung Language Development Center; Thulung Sama.

Devanagari script [Deva].

Other Comments

Interest in development among cultural associations (Thulung Rai Society). Traditional religion, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu.

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