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Limbu language: Wikis


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ᤕᤰᤌᤢᤱ ᤐᤠᤴ yakthung pān
Spoken in Limbuwan, Nepal; Sikkim, Kashmir and Darjeeling district West Bengal, India
Total speakers 333,633 in Nepal (2001 census)
~28,000 in India (1997)
~8000 in Pakistani Kashmir(1998)
Language family Sino-Tibetan
Writing system Limbu script
Official status
Official language in  Nepal, Sikkim (India)
Regulated by No official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 sit
ISO 639-3 lif

Limbu is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in Nepal[1] , Sikkim, Kashmir and Darjeeling district, West Bengal, India, by the Limbu community. Virtually all Limbus are bilingual in Nepali.

The name Limbu is an exonym of uncertain origin. Limbus refer to themselves as yakthungba, and their language as Yakthung Pan. It has four main dialects; Panthare, Phedape, Chatthare and Tambar Khole. Panthare dialect is the standard dialect of the Limbu language, whereas Phedape is spoken and understood by most.



Limbu has its own unique Tibetan writing system, the Limbu script. Far more Limbus are literate in Nepali than in Limbu, and so many Limbu publications will be accompanied by a Nepali version.

Limbu is also written in Devanagari.

Example of a classical Limbu script: |Limbu classical text.

" Tshri; Bshikhum phuma ningwahangma pbhadhunglo. Sakhshing O'mahlo. Kuseng kugren Yakgthunghang bsapla kneetmalo. Kuseng kugren sewa czogmalo. Sen sen ren rensapbla nitmalo. Czhof hukgshig chukralo. Czamen migksan chukralo sabpla nilu Yakgthunghang. Shabpla Yakgthunghang nolo. Sabpla sabtu'g yagk -- "


Limbu Script

Limbu language has many papers and publications in circulation. Tanchoppa ( Morning Star ), a monthly newspaper/magazine published since 1995. There are many other literary publications. The oldest known Limbu writings were collected from Darjeeling district in 1850's. They are the ancestors of the modern Limbu script. The writings are now a part of collection in India Library in London.


Limbu Script

In Nepal, the Limbu language is taught on private initiative. The Government of Nepal has published " Ani Paan" text books in Limbu for Primary education from grades 1 to 5. Kirant Yakthung Chumlung teaches Limbu language and script in its own initiative.

In Sikkim, since late 1970s Limbu, in Limbu script has been offered in English medium schools as a vernacular language subject in areas populated by Limbus. Over 4000 students study Limbu for one hour daily taught by some 300 teachers. Course books are available in Limbu from grades 1 to 12.


  1. ^ Detailed language map of eastern Nepal, see language #59 in far east
  • Driem, George van (1987). A grammar of Limbu. (Mouton grammar library; 4). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-011282-5

See also

External links



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