The Info List - Khambu

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Kulung (autonym: Kulu rɩŋ, [kulu rɪŋ]) is a Kiranti language spoken by an estimated 33,000 people.


1 Locations 2 Phonology

2.1 Vowels 2.2 Consonants

3 Nominal morphology

3.1 Personal pronouns 3.2 Cases

4 Verbal morphology 5 References 6 Bibliography 7 External links

Locations[edit] Kulung in some ten villages along the upper reaches of the Huṅga or Hoṅgu river (a tributary of the Dūdhkosī), in Solu Khumbu
Solu Khumbu
District of Sagarmāthā Zone, Nepal. The main Kulung-speaking villages are Chhemsi and Chheskam. The particular dialect of the language spoken in these two villages is considered by the Kulung to be the most original form of their language. Downstream, on both sides of the Huṅga river, in villages that are now called Luchcham, Gudel, Chocholung, Nāmluṅg, Pilmo, Bung, Chhekmā, and Sātdi, less prestigious varieties of Kulung are spoken. Ethnologue
lists the following Kulung villages.

Hongu River valley, Solukhumbu District, Sagarmatha Zone: Bung, Pelmang, Chhemsing, Chheskam, Lucham, Chachalung, Satdi, Gudel, Namlung, Sotang, and Chekma villages Sankhuwasabha district, Kosi Zone: Mangtewa, Yaphu, and Seduwa VDC's Bhojpur District, Kosi Zone: Phedi, Limkhim, Khartanga, and Wasepla VDC's

Phonology[edit] Vowels[edit] Kulung has six short vowels and six long vowels:

Kulung vowels

  Front Central Back

short long short long short long

Close i iː   u uː

Mid e eː ə əː ɔ ɔː

Open   a aː  

Front and central vowels are unrounded, whereas back vowels are rounded.


Example words for consonant phonemes

IPA Example

/k/ /koŋ/ [kɔŋ] 'I'

/kʰ/ /kʰoŋ/ [kʰɔŋ] 'brass bowl'

/g/ /goŋ/ [gɔŋ] 'division of a clan'

/p/ /mampai/ [mampai] 'It didn't leak.'

/pʰ/ /mampʰai/ [mampʰai] 'He didn't reverse it.'

/b/ /mambai/ [mambai] 'He didn't come.'

/t/ /tite/ [tite] 'It burns.'

/tʰ/ /tʰite/ [tʰite] 'He is awake.'

/d/ /dite/ [dite] 'It lays an egg.'

/tɕ/ /tɕi/ [tɕi] 'poison'

/tɕʰ/ /tɕʰi/ [tɕʰi] 'marrow'

/dʑ/ /dʑi/ [dʑi] 'happiness'

/s/ /si/ [si] 'louse'

/m/ /ma/ [ma] 'mother'

/n/ /na/ [na] 'elder sister'

/ŋ/ /ŋa/ [ŋa] 'fish'

/ɾ/ /ɾiŋ/ [ɾiŋ] 'language, word'

/l/ /liŋ/ [liŋ] 'yeast'

/j/ /ja/ [ja] 'edge of a blade'

/w/ /wa/ [wa] 'rain'

/ɦ/ /ɦu/ [ɦu] 'arm'

/Ɂ/ /Ɂa/ [Ɂa] '(ergative case marker)'

Consonant phonemes

Bilabial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal

Nasals m n


Plosives and Affricates voiceless unaspirated p t tɕ k

voiced b d dʑ g Ɂ

voiceless aspirated pʰ tʰ tɕʰ kʰ

Fricatives voiceless






Approximants w l j

Dialects of the Kulung language include Sotang
(Sotaring, Sottaring), Mahakulung, Tamachhang, Pidisoi, Chhapkoa, Pelmung, Namlung, and Khambu. Kulung distinguishes among eight vowels and 11 diphthongs. There are three series of stops: dorso-velar, dental, and labial, each series having an unaspirated voiceless, aspirated voiceless, and unaspirated voiced variant. There are three voiced nasals, four approximants, one vibrant, one fricative, and three affricates.[3] Nominal morphology[edit] To the nominal categories belong the following parts of speech: nouns, adjectives, pronouns and numerals. There are unambiguous morphological criteria for distinguishing between nouns and verbs. Whereas nouns can be marked for case and number, finite verbs are marked for person, number, and tense. There is no grammatical gender in Kulung. Personal pronouns[edit] The ten Kulung personal pronouns have three number distinctions (singular, dual, and plural) and three person distinctions (first person, second person and third person) as well as an inclusive/exclusive distinction. There are no gender distinctions.

Kulung personal pronouns

Singular Dual Plural

1st exclusive koŋ 'I' kaska 'we (he/she and I)' keika 'we (all of them, and I)'

1st inclusive - kas 'we (you and I)' kei 'we (all of you, and I)'

2nd an 'you' anci 'you (two)' anni 'you (guys)'

3rd ŋkə 'he/she' - ŋkəs 'they'

Cases[edit] Kulung has thirteen cases. Case endings are attached to nouns with or without the non-singular suffix. Allomorphy of case endings depends on whether the noun ends in a vowel or consonant. Below the case endings of the noun lam 'road' are presented.

Kulung cases

Case Suffix English prep. Example Translation

absolutive - - lam road

genitive -mi of / 's lam-mi of (a) road/ road's

ergative -ʔa - lam-ʔa road

instrumental -ʔa by lam-ʔa by the road

vocative -ʔa - lam-ʔa oh, road

locative 1 -pi at, on, in lam-pi on the road

locative 2 -to at, on, in lam-to on the road (at a higher level)

locative 3 -pu at, on, in lam-pu on the road (at a lower level)

locative 4 -pa at, on, in lam-pa on the road (at same level)

comitative -lo with lam-lo with the road

ablative -ka from lam-ka from the road

elative -pika from out of lam-pika from out of the road

mediative -la via, by way of lam-la by the road

Verbal morphology[edit] The Kulung verb is characterised by a system of complex pronominalisation, in which paradigmatic stem alternation is found. Personal endings consist of morphemes expressing notions like tense, agent, patient, number, and exclusivity. Depending on the number of verbal stems and their position in the verbal paradigm, every verb in Kulung belongs to a certain conjugation type.[3] Complete conjugations of verbs belonging to the different conjugation types are presented in the second appendix. Like in other Kiranti languages, compound verbs are found in Kulung. These compound verbs consist of a verb stem and an auxiliary that adds semantic notions to the main verb. Other verbal constructions found in Kulung are a gerund, imperative, supine and an infinitive.[3]

The intransitive verb per-ma 'to fly'

Non-preterite Preterite Negated preterite

1s per-o: pero mam-per-ŋa

1di per-ci per-a-ci mam-per-ci

1de per-ci-ka per-a-ci-ka mam-per-s-ka

1pi per-ya per-i mam-per-i

1pe per-ya-ka per-i-ka mam-per-i-ka

2s per-e per-a mam-per-na

2d per-ci per-a-ci mam-per-nci

2p per-ni per-a-ni mam-per-ni

3 per-e per-a mam-per


^ Kulung at Ethnologue
(18th ed., 2015) ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kulung". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ a b c Himalayan Languages Project Archived October 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

Bibliography[edit] Tolsma, Gerard Jacobus (2006). A Grammar of Kulung. Languages of the Greater Himalayan Region. 5/4. Leiden, Boston. ISBN 9789004153301.  External links[edit]

WALS - Kulung Himalayan Languages Project

v t e

Kiranti languages

Western "Pro-"

Thulung (Pro-cü) Wambule (Raɗu/Raᶑu) Jerung (Raru) Khaling (R/Daːdu) Dumi (Roʔdu) Koi Bahing (Proː-ca) Sunwar Vayu Tilung

Central "Ro-"

Kulung (Rodu) Nachhiring Sampang (Rodung) Saam Bantawa Puma Chamling (Rodong) Dungmali

Eastern "Yak-"

Yakkha (Yakkha-ba/Rakdong) Lumba-Yakkha Lambichhong Belhare Athpare Chintang Chulung Yamphu Lohorung Mewahang Waling? L