Chamling language

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"Chamling" redirects here. For the lake in Tibet, see Como Chamling.
Native to Nepal, India, Bhutan
Native speakers
77,000 in Nepal (2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 rab
Glottolog caml1239[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Chamling is one of the Kiranti languages spoken by the Kiranti and Rai peoples of eastern Nepal. Alternate renderings and names include Chamling, Chamlinge Rai and Rodong (which means "Kirati").[1] It is closely related to the Bantawa (some Bantawa-speaking communities call their language "Camling") and Puma languages of the Kirati language family in eastern Nepal, and it belongs to the broader Sino-Tibetan language family.[3]


The Chamling language is one of the languages of the ancient Kiranti culture, which existed well before the arrival of Vedic period civilisation in South Asia.[4] Important versions of the Mundhum — the main religious text forming the religious foundation of the Kirant Mundhum religion and the cultural heritage of the various Kirati people — are composed in Camling; such versions are distinctive to the Camling-speaking tribes and a guide to their distinctive religious practices and cultural identity.[5]


The Chamling language is used by small communities in eastern Sagarmatha Zone, in central Khotang District, Bhojpur District and scattered areas in northern Udayapur District and a few more districts of eastern Nepal, the southeastern neighbour Indian state of Sikkim, the hill city of Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal and the kingdom of Bhutan.[3]


Despite its geographic prevalence, the actual number of Chamling speakers is estimated to be 10,000, spread across small tribes and villages.[3] Many members of the Chamling ethnic and tribal communities are no longer fluent in the Chamling language, which is taught only in remote areas in the Udayapur District.[3] Like Bantawa, Chamling is an endangered language. Many people in these areas speak a variety of Chamling that is mixed with the Nepali language, which is the official language of Nepal.[3] Most Chamling-speaking people are Hindus or practitioners of Kiranti Mundhum.

Phonology and voice[edit]

  • Phonology


Bilabial Labio-
Velar Glottal
Stop (voiceless) p t
Nasal m n (ɳ)
Fricative f ʃ ɦ


front central back
high i u
mid e o
low a
  • Voice
  1. Phuima = pluck
  2. Toma = see, experience
  3. Ityu = brought from above
  4. Dhotyu-cyu' = assembled them
  5. Bhuima = pound
  6. Doma = close
  7. Idyu = gave him
  8. Dhodyu-cyu = stabbed them[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Chamling at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Camling". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Ethnologue report on Camling
  4. ^ Cemjoṅga, Īmāna Siṃha (2003). History and Culture of the Kirat People. Kirat Yakthung Chumlung. ISBN 99933-809-1-1. 
  5. ^ Monika Bock, Aparna Rao. Culture, Creation, and Procreation: Concepts of Kinship in South Asian Practice. Page 65. 2000, Berghahn Books.
  6. ^ Phonology - The Rosetta Project Archived April 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]