Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Kiranti languages

  (Redirected from Kiranti language)

The Kiranti languages are a major family of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in Nepal, Sikkim and Darjeeling Hills by the Kirati people.

Ethnicity Kiranti: Limbu, Yakkha, Sunwar, Rai, etc.
Nepal, Sikkim, Darjeeling
Linguistic classification Sino-Tibetan
  • Limbu
  • Eastern
  • Central
  • Western
Glottolog kira1253[1]



The Kiranti languages are frequently posited to form part of a Mahakiranti family, although specialists are not completely certain of either the existence of a Kiranti subgroup or its precise membership.[2] LaPolla (2003), though, proposes that Kiranti may be part of a larger "Rung" group.


There are about two dozen Kiranti languages. The better known are Limbu, Rai, Sunuwar, Bahing, Vayu, Dungmali, Lohorung and Kulung. Overall, they are:

Ethnologue adds Tilung to Western Kiranti, based on Opgenort (2011).

Kiranti verbs are not easily segmentable, due in large part to the presence of portmanteau morphemes, crowded affix strings, and extensive (and often nonintuitive) allomorphy.


Proto-Kiranti has been reconstructed by Michailovsky (1991)[3] and Opgenort (2011).[4]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kiranti". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Matisoff 2003, pp. 5-6; Thurgood 2003, pp. 15-16; Ebert 2003, pg. 505.
  3. ^ Michailovsky, Boyd. 1991. Big black notebook of Kiranti, proto-Kiranti forms. (unpublished ms. contributed to STEDT).
  4. ^ Opgenort, Jean Robert. 2011. "A note on Tilung and its position within Kiranti." Himalayan Linguistics 10.1:253-271.


  • George van Driem (2001) Languages of the Himalayas: An Ethnolinguistic Handbook of the Greater Himalayan Region. Brill.
  • Bickel, Balthasar, G. Banjade, M. Gaenszle, E. Lieven, N. P. Paudyal, & I. Purna Rai et al. (2007). Free prefix ordering in Chintang. Language, 83 (1), 43–73.
  • James A. Matisoff: Handbook of Proto-Tibeto-Burman. University of California Press 2003.
  • Graham Thurgood (2003) "A Subgrouping of the Sino-Tibetan Languages: The Interaction between Language Contact, Change, and Inheritance," The Sino-Tibetan Languages. Routledge. pp. 3–21.
  • Karen H. Ebert (2003) "Kiranti Languages: An Overview," The Sino-Tibetan Languages. Routledge. pp. 505–517.


External linksEdit