Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Thangmi language

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Pronunciation  thang-mi
Ethnicity  Thami
Dialects  Dolakha Sindhupalcok
Region  Nepal and India
Native speakers  23,200 (2011 census)
Language family  Sino-Tibetan Mahakiranti Baram–Thangmi Thangmi

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. The Thangmi language is written using the Devanagari script.



Thangmi is spoken in:

  • Janakpur Zone: northern and western Dolakha District; Ramechhap District (villages on Sailung Khola)
  • Bagmati Zone: eastern Sindhupalchok District
  • Kathmandu
  • Ethnic Thami outside Dolakha and Sindhupalcok districts no longer speak Thangmi.


    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.

    Dolakhā vs. Sindhupālcok

    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.

    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:





    Thangmi language Wikipedia