Tamang (Devanagari: तामाङ; tāmāng) is a term used to collectively refer to a dialect cluster spoken mainly in Nepal, Sikkim, West Bengal (Mainly Darjeeling Districts - पश्चिम बङ्गाल राज्यको दार्जीलिङ जिल्लाको बिभिन्न भूभाग), some parts of Assam and North East Region. It comprises Eastern Tamang, Northwestern Tamang, Southwestern Tamang, Eastern Gorkha Tamang, and Western Tamang. Lexical similarity between Eastern Tamang (which is regarded as the most prominent) and other Tamang languages varies between 81% to 63%. For comparison, lexical similarity between Spanish and Portuguese, is estimated at 89%. Tamang likely split from the Tibetan languages some time before the 7th century.
|तामाङ, རྟ་དམག་ / རྟ་མང་|
|1.35 million in Nepal (2011 census)|
20,154 in India (2011 census)
|Tibetan script, Devanagari|
Official language in
Ethnologue divides Tamang into the following varieties due to mutual unintelligibility.
- Eastern Tamang: 759,000 in Nepal (2000 WCD). Population total all countries: 773,000. Sub-dialects are as follows.
- Outer-Eastern Tamang (Sailung Tamang)
- Central-Eastern Tamang (Temal Tamang)
- Southwestern Tamang (Kath-Bhotiya, Lama Bhote, Murmi, Rongba, Sain, Tamang Gyoi, Tamang Gyot, Tamang Lengmo, Tamang Tam)
- Western Tamang: 323,000 (2000 WCD). Sub-dialects are as follows.
- Eastern Gorkha Tamang: 4,000 (2000 WCD). Sub-dialects are as follows.
The Tamang language is the most widely spoken Sino-Tibetan language in Nepal.
Ethnologue gives the following location information for the varieties of Tamang.
- Kathmandu District
- Janakpur Zone: Sindhuli District, Ramechhap District, and Dolkha District
- Bagmati Zone: Kavrepalanchok District, western Sindhupalchowk District, Lalitpur District, Bhaktapur District, and eastern Nuwakot District
- Narayani Zone: Makwanpur District and Chitwan District
- Sagarmatha Zone: Okhaldhunga District, western Khotang District, and Udayapur District
- Bagmati Zone: southern Dhading District
- Narayani Zone: Chitwan District, northwestern Makwanpur District, Bara District, Parsa District, and Rautahat District
- western and northwestern Kathmandu District area
- Bagmati Zone: western Nuwakot District, Rasuwa District, and Dhading District
- central mountainous strip of Nuwakot District, Bagmati Zone (Northwestern Tamang)
- northeastern Sindhupalchok District, Bagmati Zone: Bhote Namlan, and Bhote Chaur, on Trishuli river west bank toward Budhi Gandaki river
- northwestern Makwanpur District, Narayani Zone: Phakel, Chakhel, Khulekhani, Markhu, Tistung, and Palung
- northern Kathmandu District: Jhor, Thoka, and Gagal Phedi
Eastern Gorkha Tamang
Some grammatical features of the Tamang languages include:
- A canonical word order of SOV
- Use of postpositions;
- The genitives follow nouns;
- question word medial;
- It is an ergative–absolutive language;
- CV, CVC, CCV, V, CCVC;
Phonetically Tamang languages are tonal.
|Close||i iː||u uː|
|Mid||e eː||o oː|
Nasality only marginally occurs, and is typically transcribed with a [ã] mark.
Four tones occur as high falling [â], mid-high level [á], mid-low level [à], very low [ȁ].
- Eastern Tamang at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Western Tamang at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Northwestern Tamang (not distinct) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Eastern Gorkha Tamang at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". www.censusindia.gov.in. Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Nuclear Tamang". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Ethnologue report for Spanish
- Zeisler, Bettina (2009). Aboh, Enoch; Smith, Norval (eds.). "Reducing phonological complexity and grammatical opaqueness: Old Tibetan as a lingua franca and the development of the modern Tibetan dialects". Complex processes in new languages: 75–95.
- Mazaudon (2003)
- Perumal Samy P. (2013). Tamang in LSI Sikkim, volume I Page Nos. 404-472. Published by Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner,India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.