Language name and location: Dura, Gandaki province, Nepal [Refer to Ethnologue]

言名称和分布地区: 杜拉, 尼泊尔中部甘达基省  


1. nām, kyau (TB);  di-, yāvo ( IA) *

2. jʰim; duwo, duɖa ( Nagila, both IA)

3. sām; tiya (IA)

4. pim; jʰārā (IA)

5. kum; mācā; pā̃c (IA)

6. cyām (IA)

7. syām (IA)

8.  him

9. tum

10. tʰim

20. jʰim-tʰi

30. sam-tʰi

100. tʰiŋɡanā, kātʰerāɡo

1000. jena


Linguist providing data and dateː Dr. Nicolas Schorer, Department of Linguistics, Bern University, Switzerland, August 8, 2015.

供资料的语言学家: Dr. Nicolas Schorer, 2015 年 8 月 8 日.


Other comments: Dara is an extinct language, the last speaker survived into the 2000s. Dura was formerly spoken in Gandaki province: Lamjung district, scattered. Dura has a decimal system based on simple non-compound forms fro all numbers below 'ten'. The numbers from 'ten' to 'twenty' are unattested. In this denary system, tens ('twenty', 'thirty') are transparent compound numbers, e.g.  jʰim-tʰi

'twenty' (lit. 'two-ten', meaning 2 x 10). Though unattested in the data, words for 'forty, fifty, sixty' etc. are expected to be formed regularly, e.g. kum-tʰi fifty.

   Dura has only reserved the number 'one; from Tibeto-Burman origin. The Indo-Aryan loans are easily sorted out: yāvo ‘one’, duvo, duɖa ‘two’ (the latter evidently reflecting the Nepali classifier for inanimate objects), tiyā ‘three’, jʰārā ‘four’ pā̃c ‘five’ as well as probably cyām ‘six’ and syām ‘seven’. The different Dura forms for ‘two’ are borrowed from the Nepali numerals dui ‘two’ and dui-ʈā ‘two pieces’. Similarly borrowed from Nepali are tiyā < tīn ‘three’, jʰārā < cār ‘four’, pā̃c <pā̃c ‘five’, cyām < cʰa ‘six’ and syām <sāt ‘seven’.

    The indigenous numbers, provided as they were via Facebook, are fascinating in some respects and warrant further discussion. These numerals are particularly noteworthy for preserving a closed syllable structure, mostly a semantically opaque -m#. Possible cognates for liŋa ‘zero’ can be detected in numerous branches of Tibeto-Burman, e.g Bai liɯ⁴², Hani (Southern Loloish) liŋ³¹, Qiangic (Guiqiong lĩ³³, Pumi lẽ¹³), Tujia leng³ and Black Lahu lɛ³³, all ‘zero’. It is seemingly unattested in Bodic languages surrounding the traditional Dura-speaking area.

    The numeral nām ‘one’ appears to be truly unique to Dura and does not have any cognates in other languages, future research pending. On the other hand, the prefixed di- is an uncontroversial reflex of what is reconstructed on STEDT as Proto-Tibeto-Burman *tyik ‘one’. This prefix is only attested in Dura temporal adverbs such as di-blā ‘once’ and di-syāra ‘one moment’. kya-u (-u being a nominaliser) is translated into Nepali as euʈā ‘one piece’.

   Number ‘two’, jʰim, is not relatable to Proto-Tibeto-Burman, Numbers ‘three’ and ‘four’ are again unproblematic from a Proto-Tibeto-Burman perspective, cf. Proto-Tibeto-Burman *g-sum, Tibetan *gsum, Proto-Tamangic ᴮsom, Chepang sum, Limbu sum si and Burmese sùm. Most languages retain a rounded vowel, yet Dura is noteworthy in having an orthographic unrounded central vowel <ā> just like Lisu (Loloish) sa, Bai

sã⁵⁵, Modern Chinese sān, rGyalrong kǝ sam and Bahing (Kiranti) sam ne, all ‘three’.  
    For the numeral pim ‘four’ compare Proto-Tibeto-Burman *b-liy~b-lǝy, Tibetan i, Proto-Tamangic ᴮbli, Proto-Tani *pri, Chepang plǝy, Limbu li si, Burmese etc. Dura seems to have simplified the cluster and preserves only the bilabial prefix, a feat it apparently shares with Tsangla phi, Newar pe, and all of Western Himalayish, as exemplified in Pattani, Darma, Byangsi, Chaudangsi pi and Kanauri . Unfortunately, no full set of inherited numerals is preserved in Kham, which uses Nepali cār ‘four’ instead and does therefore not lend itself to a comparison. The loss of the lateral approximant is unusual in the sense that Dura otherwise allows such consonant clusters. A not wholly dissimilar cluster simplification has occurred in Magar, which has buli with an epenthetic rounded vowel /u/. Perhaps then, the labial prefix reconstructed for this etymon was in fact realised as a minor syllable *bə- given the sesquisyllabic nature of roots postulated for Proto-Tibeto-Burman.

   kum and mācā ‘five’ (the latter perhaps ‘(one) above four’ composed of mā- ‘up, above, uphill’ and IA cār) are noteworthy given that reflexes of Proto-Tibeto-Burman *-ŋa ‘five’ are found in almost all languages of the family except Dura. Dura kum ‘five’ is likely to be derived from kuru ‘hand’. Such a metonymic use of ‘hand’ for ‘five’ is likewise attested in Kham, compare for instance sohmlo kwi: ‘three hands’ = ‘fifteen’ (Watters 2002: 179).

    It is indeed quite striking how different some of the Dura numerals are from anything found in adjacent Bodic languages: Potential cognates of him ‘eight’ are found only in far-away Namuyi (Qiangic) hĩ³³, Yi (Northern Loloish) hi⁵⁵, Black Lahu and Lisu he⁴¹.

   tum ‘nine’ is reminiscent of Tibetan dgu, Tshona (East Bodic) tu³¹ ku³¹ and Mongsen Ao thuku104, while potential cognates of tʰim ‘ten’ are known from Dhimal te-, and Nung (Nungic) thi³¹ mɯ³¹. This numeral is probably derived from ‘one’, cf. PTB *tyik ‘one’. In Dura, we encounter two words for ‘hundred’, tʰiŋganā and kātʰerāgo, both containing a numeral tʰi-~tʰe- ‘one’ which is further preceded by the velar prefix *k- in the latter form. While the former suffixed element is not transparent, -rāgo is surely derived from Proto-Tibeto-Burman: PTB *r-gya > *rə-gyā > rā-go ‘hundred’ (also compare Written Tibetan brgya). Both sound changes, the epenthesis after the initial minor syllable *r- and the rounding of word-final ā, are well attested in Dura. 

Language name and location: Dura, Gandaki province, Nepal [Refer to Ethnologue]

言名称和分布地区: 杜拉, 尼泊尔中部甘达基省  


1.  ijulo

2.  dujulo

3.  tijulo

4.  carti

5.  pãjulo

6.  chujulo

7.  sajulo

8. aThulo

9.  naujulo

10. dacilo


Linguist providing data and dateː Dr. Kedar Nagila through Prof. Madhav Pokharel, Central Department of Linguistics, Tribhuvan University, Nepal. July 2, 2008.

供资料的语言学家: Dr. Kedar Nagila, 2008 年 7 月 2 日.


Other comments: Dura has only reserved a few lower numbers of Tibeto-Burman origin.

This informant blends Indo-Aryan numerals into monosyllables and suffixes probably Dura materials. Dura was an extinct language formerly spoken in Gandaki province: Lamjung district, scattered.


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