Dura language

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Native to Nepal
Ethnicity 2,160 (2011 census)[1]
Extinct between 2008[2] and 2012[1]
with the death of Soma Devi Dura
Language codes
ISO 639-3 drq
Glottolog dura1244[3]

Dura is a recently extinct language of Nepal. It has been classified in the West Bodish branch of Tibetan languages, though more recent work separates it out as an independent branch of Sino-Tibetan.[4] Many of the Dura have switched to speaking Nepali, and the Dura language has sometimes been thought to be extinct, some of the people who have switched to Nepali for their daily speech still use Dura for prayer.[5]

The Himalayan Languages Project is working on recording additional knowledge of Dura,[6] around 1,500 words and 250 sentences in Dura have been recorded. The last known speaker of the language was the 82-year-old Soma Devi Dura.[2]


The ethnic Dura people mostly live in Lamjung District, with some in neighboring Tanahu District of Gandaki Zone in central Nepal.[7] They mostly live on farms in the hilly countryside.[7] Different recent census counts have reported the number of Dura people anywhere from 3,397 to 5,676.[7]

Dura villages include:[8]

  • बाँग्रे Bāṅgre
  • बेसी बाँग्रे Besī Bāṅgre
  • बेसी फाँट Besī Phā̃ṫ
  • सिन्दुरे Sindure
  • धुसेनी Dhusenī
  • नस्के Naske (Dura majority)
  • नेटा Neṭā
  • चन्दि गाउँ Candigāũ
  • भाँगु Bhāṅgu
  • मालिङ Māliṅ
  • आरीकोसे Ārīkose
  • ठूलो स्वाँरा Ṭhūlo Svā̃rā (Dura majority)
  • खजे गाउँ Khaje Gāũ
  • तुर्लुङ Turluṅ (Dura majority)
  • तान्द्राङ्कोट Tāndrāṅkoṫ
  • Kunchha

Other ethnic groups in the Dura region include the Gurung, Brahmins, Chetrīs, Kāmī, and Damāi.[8]


A closely related language variety called Tandrange (Nepali: Tāndrāṅe; IPA: tandraŋe) is spoken in a few Gurung villages.[8] Tandrange is spoken in the villages of Tāndrāṅ तान्द्राङ, Pokharī Thok पोखरी थोक, and Jītā जीता. However, Tandrange speakers adamantly consider themselves as not related to the stigmatized Dura people.[8]


Schorer (2016:293)[8] classifies Dura as part of his newly proposed Greater Magaric group.

Greater Magaric


  1. ^ a b Dura at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ a b "The last of Nepal's Dura speakers". BBC News. January 15, 2008. 
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Dura". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ Kraayenbrink et al., "Language and Genes of the Greater Himalayan Region", preprint, http://www.le.ac.uk/genetics/maj4/Himalayan_OMLLreport.pdf, retrieved September 12, 2007
  5. ^ Van Driem, George. Languages of the Himalayas: An Ethnolinguistic Handbook of the Greater Himalayan Region, Brill Academic Publishers 2002 (ISBN 978-9004103900)
  6. ^ Programme Description | Himalayan Languages Project Archived 2007-07-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ a b c Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) - Dura Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ a b c d e Schorer, Nicolas. 2016. The Dura Language: Grammar and Phylogeny. Leiden: Brill.

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