A Comparative Field Report on Mewahang (Kiranti)

Gerber, Pascal (27 November 2020). A Comparative Field Report on Mewahang (Kiranti) (Unpublished). In: 41st Annual Conference of the Linguistic Society of Nepal. Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu. 26. - 27.11.20.

Mewahang is a Kiranti language spoken in the Arun and Sankhuwa valleys in eastern Nepal and is
conventionally grouped together with Lohorung and Yamphu in a hitherto empirically poorly
substantiated subgroup called ʻ Upper Arunʼ (cf. van Driem 2001: 615, 689–698). Although there are
numerous anthropological publications by Gaenszle (e.g. 1991, 2002) and some preliminary
linguistic studies (cf. Hodgson 1857, Mewāhāṅg Rāī Yā-khommā (ed.) VS 2062, Banjade 2009,
Mewāhāṅ Rāī VS 2073), the Mewahang language remains poorly described.

This talk constitutes a first field report on the language on the basis of the authorʼs own field work
on site and presents data of the western variety of Mewahang as spoken in the village of Bala in the
Sankhuwa valley. Additionally, data on the eastern varieties will be shown and a comparison of the
dialects will be undertaken, highlighting the significant linguistic divergence between the western
and eastern dialects which has already been recognised in the literature (Hanßon 1991: 68-70), but
never underpinned with empirical evidence.

Banjade, Goma (2009). Mewahang Language. An Introduction. In: Nepalese Linguistics 24. 11–20.

van Driem, George (2001). Languages of the Himalayas. An Ethnolinguistic Handbook of the Greater Himalayan Region. 2 vols. Leiden: Brill.

Gaenszle, Martin (1991). Verwandtschaft und Mythologie bei den Mewahang Rai in Ostnepal. Eine ethnographische Studie zum Problem der „ethnischen Identität“. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. (Beiträge zur Südasienforschung, vol. 136).

Gaenszle, Martin (2002). Ancestral voices: Oral Ritual Texts and their Social Contexts among the Mewahang Rai in East Nepal. Münster: LIT Verlag.

Hanßon, Gerd (1991). The Rai of Eastern Nepal: Ethnic and Linguistic Grouping. Findings of the Linguistic Survey of Nepal. Kirtipur: Linguistic Survey of Nepal/Centre for Nepal/Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University.

Hodgson, Brian Houghton (1857). Comparative Vocabulary of the Languages of the broken Tribes of Népál. In: Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 26. 317–522.

Mewāhāṅ Rāī, Gaṇeś (VS 2073). Mewāhāṅ pɨʔ līma pɨʔchen – mewāhāṅ bhāṣā prārambhik vyākara ṇ
[Elementary grammar of the Mewahang language]. Sãkhuvāsbhā: Mewāhāṅ prakāśān.

Mewāhāṅg Rā ī Yā-khommā (ed.) (VS 2062). Mewāhāṅg rāi śabdakoś [Dictionary of Mewahang Rai]. Lalitpur: Adivāsī janjāti utthān rāṣṭriya prati ṣṭhān.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

Gerber, Pascal


400 Language > 410 Linguistics




Pascal Gerber

Date Deposited:

29 Mar 2021 10:55

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:48



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