Native speakers
4,800 (2000 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ttz

Tsum is a language from the subgroup of Tibetic languages[2] spoken by the Tsum people primarily in the Tsum Valley of the Gorka District of Nepal. The language is also known as Tsumke.[3]


There are over 4000 speakers of Tsum, known as Tsumpas.[4] Many speakers of the language have migrated away from the Tsum valley, and now live in Kathmandu and abroad. Younger Tsumpas are more likely to be educated in Nepali and English, leading to attrition of the language.[3]

Language structure

Tsum has a two-tone language system.

Relationship to other languages

There is a varying degree of mutual intelligibility between Tsum and other Kyirong-Yolmo varieties. It is most closely related to Nubri and Gyalsumdo, and more distantly related to other languages in the family.[5]


  1. ^ Tsum at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ N. Tournadre (2005) "L'aire linguistique tibétaine et ses divers dialectes." Lalies, 2005, n°25, p. 7–56 [1]
  3. ^ a b Mark Donohue and Dubi Nanda Dhakal (2016). A Tsum Lexicon. München: LINCOM. pp. ii. ISBN 9783862886821.
  4. ^ Webster, Jeff (1992). A Socio-linguistic Survey of the Tibeto-Burman Dialects of North Gorkha District. ms, SIL.
  5. ^ Gawne, Lauren (2013). "Report on the relationship between Yolmo and Kagate". Himalayan Linguistics. 12: 1–27.