Chamling language

Native toNepal, India, Bhutan
Native speakers
77,000 in Nepal (2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3rab
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Chamling is one of the Kiranti languages spoken by the Kiranti of Nepal, Bhutan and India. Alternate renderings and names include Chamling, Chamlinge Rai and Rodong.[1] It is closely related to the Bantawa (some Bantawa-speaking communities call their language "Camling") and Puma languages of the Kiranti language family in eastern Nepal, and it belongs to the broader Sino-Tibetan language family.[3] Chamling has SOV word order.


The Chamling language is one of the languages of the ancient Kiranti culture, which existed well before vedic period 3500-5000 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

  • 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]

Bound Morphemes

chamling example word morphological rule
plural suffix /-ci/ "challa-ci" = my brothers N —> N + plural /-ci/
"his" /m-/ "m-tõ" = his ha1. ir N —> /m/ + N
"my" /a-/ "a-nicho" = my sibling N —> /a/ + N
"your" /kap-/ "kap-tõ" = your hair N —> /kap/ + N


Chamling uses many bound morphemes, many of which denote possession or the change of possession of something.

Phrase Structure Rules

NP —> (D) N

VP —> (NP) (A) (Adv) V (Adv)

CP —> C S

S —> NP {VP, NP, CP}


Chamling "anga a-khim hinge"
interlinear gloss my my house be
parts of speech D N V
English "I have a house"

This is 3. an example of a sentence that is formed by an NP and a VP. The NP contains a determiner and a noun, and the VP contains a verb.

Chamling "a-challa-ci oda paina"
interlinear gloss my brothers here not
parts of speech N V Adverb
English "my brothers are not here"

This is an example of a sentence that is formed by a NP and a VP. The NP contains a noun and a VP contains a verb and an adverb.

Chamling "khamo nung de?"
interlinear gloss your name what
parts of speech D N N
English "what is your name?"

This is an example of two NP's forming a sentence. One NP contains "khamo nung" ("your name") and the second NP contains "de" ("what").

See also


  1. ^ a b Chamling at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Camling". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: 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 23 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Ebert, Karen (1997). Camling (Chamling). Mulnchen: LINCOM Europa.

External links

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