Language name and locationː Thulung, Kosi province, Nepal [Refer to Ethnologue]

言名称和分布地区图龙语, 尼泊尔东部戈斯省及印度境内


1. ko

2. nɔ

3. su


Linguist providing data and dateː Dr. Aimée Lahaussois Bartosik, LACITO-CRNS, Paris, France, September 1, 2007 (data from 2000).

供资料的语言学家: Dr. Aimée Lahaussois Bartosik, 2007 年 9 月 1 日.


Other comments: Thulung, like most Kiranti languages, is a toneless Tibeto-Burman language. The three forms above are the only ones I found, and they only ever occurred with classifiers: -le, for the general classifier, and a few other marginal classifiers (-phe for round-ish objects, -lem for days.)  All other numerals that I encountered were taken directly from Nepali (and used without classifiers).

  Thulung is in serious contact with Nepali, and very endangered as a result. When I was there, the youngest semi-speakers were in their twenties, and even these were exceptional. One other thing to bear in mind is that this is a small community, and the nearest market is in a zone where a number of minorities come together, so Nepali is used for any real numerical/monetary transaction.

  An anthropologist called Nicholas Allen did work on Thulung in the early 70's, and he too recorded an almost complete loss of the numeral system.

Allen (p.102) says that "No Thulung that I met knew how to count in Thulung beyond four (many could only reach three), with the exception of one or two individuals who had learnt AS' system from his book. It is in fact most unlikely that the higher numbers were ever in current use." The AS system he is referring to is a system for counting up to 100, which Agam Sing Dewsa RAI put in a 1944 book about the Thulung  language (written in Nepali). I wonder if Toba just cited that system?

As for tones, Allen had found traces of tone in Thulung (it took him years to notice it, and it wasn't consistently applied by all speakers--also, he found that the great majority of the words in the language did not have tone), but I found that any tones there may have been were lost by the time I got there. Tone loss through contact is a documented pattern, and as Nepali has no tone, I think that younger speakers must have decided over time that any differences they heard in the few words older speakers made tone distinctions for were irrelevant... Anyway, I feel confident in saying no tone in current-day Thulung. As for Koyi, there are no earlier records, so who knows, but I didn't see evidence of tone when I was there.

   Interesting if you consider the difference between Thulung and Koyi—both communities of about the same sizes, yet Koyi has a productive (and used) numeral system, whereas Thulung has borrowed almost the entire system from Nepali.


Initial consonants:

  k kh g ŋ

  ts tsh dz dzh

  t th d dh n


  p ph b bh m

  r l j w

  s h ʔ


  i, y, ɯ, u, e, o, ɔ, a

Language name and locationː Thulung, Kosi province, Nepal [Refer to Ethnologue]

言名称和分布地区图龙语, 尼泊尔东部戈斯省及印度境内


1. kole

21.  nakoŋ

2. nole

22.  nana

3. sjumle

23.  nasjum

4. bləle

24.  nabl

5. ŋole

25.  naŋo

6. rule

26.  naru

7. jetle

27.  najet

8. letle

28.  nalet

9. ɡu

29.  naɡu

10. kodʰum

30.  sjumdʰum

11. kokoŋ

40.  bldʰum

12. kon

50.  ŋodʰum

13. kosjum

60.  rudʰum

14. kobl

70.  jetdʰum

15. koŋo

80.  letdʰum

16. koru

90.  ɡudʰum

17. kojet

100. konadʰum

18. kolet


19. koɡu

1000. kosjudʰum

20. nadʰum



Linguist providing data and dateː Dr. Sueyoshi Toba, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Nepal, January 26, 1994.

供资料的语言学家: 鸟羽季义博士, 1994 年 1 月 26 日.


Other comments: Thulung has a traditional decimal system, which is very different from other Tibeto-Burman languages. It's unknown whether nowadays the Thulung still use this old numeral system or switch to Nepali numerals .


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