Dhimal is a member of the Kiranti branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. It is spoken in eastern Nepal, particularly in the Jhapa District of the Mechi Zone, and in the Morang and Sundari districts of the Koshi Zone. In 2011 there were about 20,430 speakers of Dhimal in Nepal. There are also about 450 Dhimal speakers in northern India, mainly in the Bokaro district of Jharkhand state and in the Puruliya district of West Bengal state.
Dhimal is spoken mainly by adults. Some parents pass Dhimal on to their children, while others speak to them only Nepali.
The Dhimal People's Development Centre was set up in 1993 in Damak in Jhapa district to promote the Dhimal language and culture. The Dhimal Literature Service Publishing, based in Duhubi in Sunsari district, publishes poetry, short stories and other works in Dhimal. The language can also be heard on the radio and appears in newspapers.
There are two dialects of Dhimal: the eastern dialect and the western dialect, which are spoken on either side of the Kankai River. It is thought that Dhimal belongs either to the Brahmaputran or Kiranti branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.
In Nepal Dhimal is usually written with the Devanagari alphabet, and there is no standard orthograhy. In India it is written with the Bengali alphabet. Another alphabet, known as Dham Lipi or the Dhimal Script, was invented recently.
हिदिबुङ खामालाइ प्रतिस्ठा आरो आधिकारको आधारता जोलोमसोङ स्वतन्त्र र बराबर हिखे। ओबालाइ बुद्धि बिबेक चुम्तेङ लोका हिखे र ताइताइमिता दाइओन ताइ खामालको बेभार पालि गोइखे।
hidibuŋ kʰaːmaːlaːi pɾatistʰaː aːɾo aːdʰikaːɾko aːdʰaːɾtaː dʑolomsoŋ swətantɾa ɾə baɾaːβaɾ hixe. oːbaːlaːi buddʰi biβek tɕumteŋ lokaː hixe ɾə taːitaːimitaː daːuonə taːi kʰaːmaːlko beβaːɾə paːli ɡoixe.
Hidibung khāmālāi pratisthā āro ādhikārko ādhārtā jolomsong swatantra ra barābar hikhe. Obālāi buddhi bibek cumteng lokā hikhe ra tāitāimitā dāuona tāi khāmālko bebhāra pāli ɡoikhe.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Details provided by Biswajit Mandal (biswajitmandal[dot]bm90[at]gmail[dot]com)
Information about Dhimal
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