Day 10 of the A to Z of Endangered Languages challenge, and today we have the language Jerung.


Jerung is a Kiranti language spoken by, according Nepal’s 2011 census, 1,706 people. It is therefore classified as a threatened language; though it is not immediately close to becoming extinct, the language is in decline amongst its speakers.

Jerung is an interesting language because while it is threatened, it is also used by a recognised minority group, the Rai people. Most endangered languages tend to be used by marginalised groups of society; and this is one of the reasons behind the decline of languages, as people are not encouraged to use and develop them. If a minority group is recognised, usually their language and customs are recognised alongside them, thereby leading to better chances of survival for their culture. According to Ethnologue, the Jerung languages is used by a varied age of people in different environments, and as well as having dictionaries and grammars to promote the language, there are also magazines published in Jerung – however, it also states that some of the population speak Nepali as well; which, as a national language, could spread and endanger Jerung even further.

Sources/Further Reading

Wikipedia: Jerung language
Endangered Languages Project: Jerung
Ethnologue: Jerung
Verbix: Where on earth do they speak Jerung?
SHANTI University of Virginia Knowledge Maps: Jero/Jerung
Bradley, David: Tibeto-Burman Languages and Classification

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