Dhimal language

Region Nepal
Ethnicity Toto people
Native speakers
20,000 (2011 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 dhi
Glottolog dhim1246[2]

Dhimal is a Sino-Tibetan language of Nepal and India spoken by about 20,000 people. There is an eastern and western dialect, which are separated by the Kankai River in Jhapa district, Mechi Zone, Nepal. Most people transcribe Dhimal into Devanagari and there are standard conventions for extra phonological distinctions.


Dhimal is spoken in the following areas of Nepal:[1]

The eastern and western dialects are separated by the Kankai River in Jhapa District.[1]



Dhimal has 16 primary vowel phonemes, distinguished by length and nasality, and six diphthongs.[3]

i/i:/ĩ u/u:/i
e/e:/ ə o/o:/õ
iu ui
eu oi


Dhimal has 31 consonants, including a four-way distinction between voiced & voiceless, aspirated (breathy in the case of voiced) and unaspirated.

Labial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Stopvoiced b d j g
voiceless p t c k ʔ
Fricative s h
Approximant w l
Rhotic r


Gender is marked morphologically, but only with body parts of human beings and on animate nouns. Animals may be marked for gender with distinct lexical items. Nouns are unmarked for number, except for personal pronouns. For personal pronouns, singular and plural are unmarked, and only the dual number is marked or distinguished.


  1. 1 2 3 Dhimal at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Dhimal". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. King, John T. A Grammar of Dhimal. Brill Academic Pub. ISBN 978 90 04 17573 0.

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