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|33,000 (2011 census)|
Kulung in some ten villages along the upper reaches of the Huṅga or Hoṅgu river (a tributary of the Dūdhkosī), in Solu Khumbu District of Sagarmāthā Zone, Nepal. The main Kulung-speaking villages are Chhemsi and Chheskam. The particular dialect of the language spoken in these two villages is considered by the Kulung to be the most original form of their language. Downstream, on both sides of the Huṅga river, in villages that are now called Luchcham, Gudel, Chocholung, Nāmluṅg, Pilmo, Bung, Chhekmā, and Sātdi, less prestigious varieties of Kulung are spoken.
Ethnologue lists the following Kulung villages.
- Hongu River valley, Solukhumbu District, Sagarmatha Zone: Bung, Pelmang, Chhemsing, Chheskam, Lucham, Chachalung, Satdi, Gudel, Namlung, Sotang, and Chekma villages
- Sankhuwasabha district, Kosi Zone: Mangtewa, Yaphu, and Seduwa VDC's
- Bhojpur District, Kosi Zone: Phedi, Limkhim, Khartanga, and Wasepla VDC's
Kulung has six short vowels and six long vowels:
- Front and central vowels are unrounded, whereas back vowels are rounded.
|/g/||/goŋ/||[gɔŋ]||'division of a clan'|
|/p/||/mampai/||[mampai]||'It didn't leak.'|
|/pʰ/||/mampʰai/||[mampʰai]||'He didn't reverse it.'|
|/b/||/mambai/||[mambai]||'He didn't come.'|
|/tʰ/||/tʰite/||[tʰite]||'He is awake.'|
|/d/||/dite/||[dite]||'It lays an egg.'|
|/j/||/ja/||[ja]||'edge of a blade'|
|/Ɂ/||/Ɂa/||[Ɂa]||'(ergative case marker)'|
Dialects of the Kulung language include Sotang (Sotaring, Sottaring), Mahakulung, Tamachhang, Pidisoi, Chhapkoa, Pelmung, Namlung, and Khambu. Kulung distinguishes among eight vowels and 11 diphthongs. There are three series of stops: dorso-velar, dental, and labial, each series having an unaspirated voiceless, aspirated voiceless, and unaspirated voiced variant. There are three voiced nasals, four approximants, one vibrant, one fricative, and three affricates.
To the nominal categories belong the following parts of speech: nouns, adjectives, pronouns and numerals. There are unambiguous morphological criteria for distinguishing between nouns and verbs. Whereas nouns can be marked for case and number, finite verbs are marked for person, number, and tense. There is no grammatical gender in Kulung.
The ten Kulung personal pronouns have three number distinctions (singular, dual, and plural) and three person distinctions (first person, second person and third person) as well as an inclusive/exclusive distinction. There are no gender distinctions.
|1st exclusive||koŋ 'I'||kaska 'we (he/she and I)'||keika 'we (all of them, and I)'|
|1st inclusive||-||kas 'we (you and I)'||kei 'we (all of you, and I)'|
|2nd||an 'you'||anci 'you (two)'||anni 'you (guys)'|
|3rd||ŋkə 'he/she'||-||ŋkəs 'they'|
Kulung has thirteen cases. Case endings are attached to nouns with or without the non-singular suffix. Allomorphy of case endings depends on whether the noun ends in a vowel or consonant. Below the case endings of the noun lam 'road' are presented.
|genitive||-mi||of / 's||lam-mi||of (a) road/ road's|
|instrumental||-ʔa||by||lam-ʔa||by the road|
|locative 1||-pi||at, on, in||lam-pi||on the road|
|locative 2||-to||at, on, in||lam-to||on the road (at a higher level)|
|locative 3||-pu||at, on, in||lam-pu||on the road (at a lower level)|
|locative 4||-pa||at, on, in||lam-pa||on the road (at same level)|
|comitative||-lo||with||lam-lo||with the road|
|ablative||-ka||from||lam-ka||from the road|
|elative||-pika||from out of||lam-pika||from out of the road|
|mediative||-la||via, by way of||lam-la||by the road|
The Kulung verb is characterised by a system of complex pronominalisation, in which paradigmatic stem alternation is found. Personal endings consist of morphemes expressing notions like tense, agent, patient, number, and exclusivity. Depending on the number of verbal stems and their position in the verbal paradigm, every verb in Kulung belongs to a certain conjugation type. Complete conjugations of verbs belonging to the different conjugation types are presented in the second appendix. Like in other Kiranti languages, compound verbs are found in Kulung. These compound verbs consist of a verb stem and an auxiliary that adds semantic notions to the main verb. Other verbal constructions found in Kulung are a gerund, imperative, supine and an infinitive.
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