Thangmi language

Thāmī, Thangmi Khan,Thani
Thangmi Kham and Thangmi Wakhe
Pronunciation thang-mi
Region Nepal and India
Ethnicity Thami
Native speakers
23,200 (2011 census)[1]
  • Dolakha
  • Sindhupalcok
Language codes
ISO 639-3 thf
Glottolog than1259[2]

Thangmi, also called Thāmī, Thangmi Kham, Thangmi Wakhe, and Thani, is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken in central-eastern Nepal and northeastern India by the Thami people. The Thami refer to their language as Thangmi Kham or Thangmi Wakhe while the rest of Nepal refers to it as Thāmī. The majority of these speakers, however, live in Nepal in their traditional homeland of Dolakhā District. In India, the Thami population is concentrated mostly in Darjeeling.[3] The Thangmi language is written using the Devanagari script.[4]


Thangmi is spoken in:

Ethnic Thami outside Dolakha and Sindhupalcok districts no longer speak Thangmi.


Devanagari is the script that the Thangmi language uses.

The Thangmi language seems to have many similarities with other languages in Nepal. For example, Barām, Kiranti and Newar. Studies from Konow (1909), Shafer (1966), Stein (1970), Toba (1990), van Driem (1992) and Turin demonstrate that Thangmi is closely related to the Rai and Newar languages.


Thangmi English Pronoun
gai I first person singular
ni we first person plural
you second person singular
you second person plural
to he, she, it third person singular
they third person plural


Dolakhā vs. Sindhupālcok

Dolakha, Nepal

Thangmi consists of two dialects, Dolakhā (East)and Sindhupālcok (West). They differ in terms of phonology, nominal, and verbal morphology and in lexicon. The majority of the Thangmi speaking population use the Dolakhā dialect while only a handful speak in Sindhupālcok. The Dolakhā dialect offers a more complete verbal agreement system while the Sindhupālcok dialect has a more complex nominal morphology.

English Dolakhā Sindhupālcok
younger brother hu calaca hu
younger sister hu camaica hu
father's eldest brother jekhapa jhya?apa
father's younger brother ucyapa pacyu
father's eldest sister nini jhya?ama
father's younger sister nini nini
mother's eldest brother palam palam
mother's younger brother malam mou
mother's eldest sister jekhama jhya?ama
mother's younger sister macyu phus?ama

Thangmi Songs

The Thami population are people who are rich in cultural and traditions. Their language is a large part of who they are and they portray this in their cultural, mostly in music. The Nepal Tham Society (NTS) produced a handful of Thangmi songs that were recorded in 2007. The lyrics were written by Singh Bahadur Thami, Devendra Thami and Lok Bahadur Thami. Here are some examples:


  1. Thangmi at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Thangmi". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Turin, Mark (1998). "The Thangmi Verbal Agreement System and the Kiranti Connection". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 61 (3): 476–491. doi:10.1017/s0041977x00019303.
  4. "Script Devanagari (Nagari)".

Further reading

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