Chepang
Chyo-bang
RegionNepal
EthnicityChepang
Native speakers
49,000 (2011 census)[1]
Devanagari
Language codes
ISO 639-3cdm
Glottologchep1245
ELPChepang
Lang Status 80-VU.png
Chepang is classified as Vulnerable by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger

Chepang is a language spoken by approximately 37,000 people in South-Central Nepal.[2] The people are known as Chepang. Randy LaPolla (2003) proposes that Chepang may be part of a larger "Rung" group. Another group who speaks Chepang, living across the Narayani river, call themselves Bujheli.

Phonology

Consonants

Chepang consonants[3]
Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m ŋ
Stop Voiceless p t͡s k
Voiced b d͡z g
Fricative s h
Approximant l j w

Phonetic Realizations

[2]The glottal stop is realized in some contexts, though usually not as a full closure and is instead presented as falling pitch, laryngealization, re-articulation, or by lengthening of the segment before. Some example of possible occurrences are listed below:


[2]The glottal fricative /h/ is realized in many ways and it is much more predictable in the environments that realizations occur. For example:


The voiceless alveolar sibilant /s/ is also realized as /ʃ/ before front vowels.[2]

/w/ when directly next to front vowels is realized as the labio-dental approximant [ʋ] [2]

Vowels

Chepang vowels[3]
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e ə o
Open a

Research suggests that Chepang may have had a three vowel system at one point in time.[2] Those vowels being /i/ /u/ and /ə/, this is uncommon for a three vowel system as commonly they consist of /a/ /i/ and /u/ as seen in Classical Arabic, Greenlandic and Quechua.

Syntax

Chepang can be described as having a basic word order of Subject Object Verb (SOV) with some alterations due to context. The text below provides an example:

ʔuyhle

Formerly

kəsyaʔ-ʔl

deer-AG

manta-kay

person-DO

mayʔ

meat

jeʔ-ʔo

eat-NMZ

kheʔ-to

be

ʔuyhle kəsyaʔ-ʔl manta-kay mayʔ jeʔ-ʔo kheʔ-to

Formerly deer-AG person-DO meat eat-NMZ be

Formerly, deer used to eat people

But it is difficult to define a subject and object for the language in Chepang and may be more accurately described as a verb-final language. The verb does, for the most part, follow its related noun phrases and other constituents. Though it is not uncommon to see the NP follow the verb used as an afterthought.

budhl-kay

wife-DO

jan-ʔaka-n

scold-PST-AG

budha-ʔl

husband-AG

budhl-kay jan-ʔaka-n budha-ʔl

wife-DO scold-PST-AG husband-AG

He scolded his wife, the husband (did)

Geographical distribution

Chepang is spoken in the following districts of Nepal (Ethnologue).

Dialects are Western Chepang and Eastern Chepang.

References

  1. ^ Chepang at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Caughley, Ross C. (1982). The Syntax and Morphology of the Verb in Chepang. Melbourne: Pacific Linguistics. p. 1.
  3. ^ a b Moran, Steven; McCloy, Daniel; Wright, Richard (2012). "Revisiting population size vs. phoneme inventory size". Language. 88 (4): 877–893. doi:10.1353/lan.2012.0087. ISSN 1535-0665.