Suvarna Garge (Editor)

'Ole language

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Region  Bhutan
Language family  Sino-Tibetan ’Ole
ISO 639-3  ole
Native speakers  500 (2007)
Writing system  Tibetan script
Glottolog  olek1239
'Ole language

'Ole, also called 'Olekha or Black Mountain Monpa, is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken by about 1000 people in the Black Mountains of Wangdue Phodrang and Trongsa Districts in western Bhutan. The term 'Ole refers to a clan of speakers.



According to the Ethnologue, Olekha is spoken in the following locations of Bhutan.

  • Trongsa District: 3 enclaves west of Mangde river
  • Wangdue Phodrang District: Adha, Jangji, Rukha, Thrumzur, and Wangling villages
  • Dialects are separated by the Black Mountains.


    'Ole was unknown beyond its immediate area until 1990, and is now highly endangered, and was originally assumed to be East Bodish. George van Driem described 'Ole as a remnant of the primordial population of the Black Mountains before the southward expansion of the ancient East Bodish tribes.

    More recently, Gwendolyn Hyslop, with the agreement of van Driem, has suggested that 'Ole is an isolated Sino-Tibetan language heavily influenced by East Bodish. Because of its small amount of cognates with East Bodish languages, Blench and Post provisionally treat 'Ole as an isolate


    'Ole language Wikipedia