Tamang language

तामाङ, རྟ་དམག་ / རྟ་མང་
Native to Nepal, India, Bhutan
Ethnicity Tamang
Native speakers
1.35 million in Nepal (2011 census)[1]
17,500 in India (2001 census)
Tibetan script, Devanagari
Official status
Official language in


Sikkim, India
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
taj  Eastern Tamang
tdg  Western Tamang
tmk  Northwestern Tamang (not distinct)
tge  Eastern Gorkha Tamang
Glottolog nucl1729[2]
Selected ethnic groups of Nepal; Bhotia, Sherpa, Thakali, Gurung, Kirant, Rai, Limbu, Nepal Bhasa, Pahari, Tamang

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%.[3] Tamang likely split from the Tibetan languages some time before the 7th century.[4]


Ethnologue divides Tamang into the following varieties due to mutual unintelligibility.

The Tamang language is the most widely spoken Sino-Tibetan language in Nepal.

Geographical distribution

Ethnologue gives the following location information for the varieties of Tamang.

Eastern Tamang

Southwestern Tamang

Western Tamang

Eastern Gorkha Tamang


Some grammatical features of the Tamang languages include:

Phonetically Tamang languages are tonal.

Writing system

Tamangic languages use Tam-Yig which is similar to Tibetan scripts and Devanāgarī. In many situations, however, Tamang is written in Devanāgarī proper.

See also


  1. 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)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Nuclear Tamang". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Ethnologue report for Spanish
  4. 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.
Tamang language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator

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