The Cyo’bang people (commonly known as Chepang or, more recently, as Praja ), along with the Raji, Raute, Rai and Limbu undoubtably represent the earliest settlers in the area now called Nepal. For historical, cultural and linguistic reasons it is important therefore that the language be recorded and preserved for the future. The language is particularly rich in botanical, zoological and medical terminology and for this reason alone is of great interest.
This dictionary is not primarily for scholars, since a comprehensive Chepang-English dictionary with such an audience in view has already been published (Caughley, 2,000). Rather it is for the Cyo’bang people themselves, as well as for other Nepalis and foreigners working amongst them. For this reason it is trilingual, with Cyo’bang, Nepali and English parts in an entry.
The orthography in this present version is not intended to be definitive for Cyo’bang, instead it is hoped that the dictionary can be used as a basis for creating such an orthography.
The dictionary has close to 6,000 entries. These are almost entirely Cyo’bang, only a few loan words are included, where these are very commonly used, and relevant to Cyo’bang culture. Nowadays many loan words are used, some because there was no Cyo’bang equivalent (such as gaw < Nepali gaũ village), others are simply supplanting the Cyo’bang (such as baba < Nepali baba father for the original ʔapa). Loan words, especially of the latter kind, have not usually been included, mainly for reasons of space. Suffixes and other grammatical forms have not been included. For these see Caughley, 2000, also 1982.
The data for the dictionary has been collected over 38 years, mostly from Kankada village development area in west Makwanpur, but with additional material taken from over the whole Cyo’bang area, including from the dialect known as Bhujel. All the material in this dictionary was collected by the author unless otherwise noted.
There are two main dialects of Cyo’bang: Eastern and Western. The Eastern dialect has around 40,000 speakers, and is found east of the Narayani River, especially in Makwanpur and Chitwan districts, the Western dialect consists of the two dialects: Bhujel and Rumlingya. Bhujel is spoken west of the Narayani in Tanahun and has a few thousand speakers, while Rumlingya, almost identical to Bhujel is spoken in a few villages east of the river, in Chitwan district.