Languages of Nepal

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Languages of Nepal
Nepal ethnic groups.png
Official languages Nepali (Gorkhali)[1]
Regional languages Limbu • Maithili  • Nepalbhasa  • Angika  • Tharu  • Gurung  • Tamang  • Magar  • Sherpa  • Kiranti  • Sunuwar  • Bhojpuri  • Rajbanshi
Sign languages Nepali Sign Language
Jhankot Sign Language, Jumla Sign Language, Ghandruk Sign Language

The 2011 National census lists 123 Nepalese languages spoken as a mother tongue (first language) in Nepal.[2] Most belong to the Indo-Aryan and Sino-Tibetan language families.

The official language of Nepal is Nepali, formerly called Khaskura then Gorkhali. According to the 2011 national census, the percentage of Nepali Bhasi people is about 44.6%.[3][dead link] Maithili is the second largest Nepalese language and according to 2011 Census, the percentage of Maithil people is 11.57%.[4][dead link]

Most of their languages are written using the Devanagari script including their indigenous languages.

Classification[edit]

Three quarters of the 123 languages native to Nepal belong to the Tibeto-Burman language family; this includes Nepalbhasa (Newa) (the original language of Kathmandu), the Limbu, Tamang, Magar and various sunuwar, Rai languages.

However, the official and numerically most important language, Nepali, belongs to the Indo-Aryan (Indic) branch of the Indo-European family, so that Indic languages constitute 79% of the population to Tibeto-Burman's 18%, even though most languages of both families are spoken by small numbers of people.

The Dravidian languages are represented by Kurux, and the Munda languages of the Austroasiatic family by Santali and Mundari.

The indigenous languages of Nepal that predated the influx of Indic, Tibeto-Burman, and other families barely survive in the Kusunda language, which is nearly extinct today.

Nepal also has at several indigenous village sign languages, Jhankot Sign Language, Jumla Sign Language, and Ghandruk Sign Language, in addition to the Nepali Sign Language designed for national use.

Constitution[edit]

Part 1 of the Constitution of Nepal 2015 (2072 B.S.) contains these provisions about the languages of Nepal:[5]

  • Article 6: All native languages spoken in Nepal are National languages of Nepal.
  • Article 7a: Nepali language in Devanagari script is used for Nepal government work. (Indigenous languages also are to be written using Devanagari.)
  • Article 7b: Beside Nepali language, the Provinces can choose one or more other languages spoken by majority population of that province for government work.

Languages in Nepal by numbers of native speakers[edit]

(Their percents are assumed to add to 100.)

Language Native Speaker Count Percentage (%)
Nepali 11,826,953 44.63926934
Maithili 3,092,530 11.67234533
Bhojpuri 1,584,958 5.982214274
Tharu 1,529,875 5.774310778
Tamang 1,353,311 5.10789332
Nepalbhasa (Newa) 846,557 3.195217393
Bajjika 793,416 2.994643719
Magar 788,530 2.976202159
Dotyali 787,827 2.973548778
Urdu 691,546 2.610148882
Awadhi 501,752 1.89379654
Limbu 343,603 1.296884063
Gurung 325,622 1.229017158
Baitadeli 272,524 1.028605782
Rai 159,114 0.600554741
Aachami 142,787 0.53893064
Bantaba 132,583 0.500416992
Rajbanshi 122,214 0.461280574
Sherpa 114,830 0.433410642
Hindi 77,569 0.292773928
Chamling 76,800 0.289871439
Baghangi 67,581 0.255075543
Santhali 49,858 0.188182425
Chepang 48,476 0.182966248
Sunuwar 37,898 0.143040987
Language Not Known 47,718 0.180105278
Danuwar 45,821 0.172945302
Magahi 35,614 0.134420331
Uraue 33,651 0.127011247
Kulung 33,170 0.125195776
Kham 27,113 0.102334431
Rajasthani 25,394 0.095846293
Maghi 24,422 0.092177608
Thami 23,151 0.087380387
Bhujel 21,715 0.081960395
Other language 21,173 0.079914687
Bengali 21,061 0.079491958
Thulung 20,659 0.077974662
Yakhka 19,558 0.073819083
Dhimal 19,300 0.072845297
Tajpuriya 18,811 0.070999631
Angika 18,555 0.070033393
Sangpang 18,270 0.068957698
Khaling 14,467 0.054603777
Bambule 13,470 0.050840733
Kumal 12,222 0.046130322
Darau 11,677 0.044073292
Bahing 11,658 0.044001579
Bajureli 10,704 0.040400832
Hyomlo 10,176 0.038407966
Nachiring 10,041 0.037898426
Thmpu 9,208 0.034754378
Bote 8,766 0.033086107
Ghale 8,092 0.030542183
Dumi 7,638 0.02882862
Lepcha 7,499 0.028303983
Puma 6,686 0.025235422
Dumangli 6,260 0.023627542
Darchuleli 5,928 0.022374452
AathPahariya 5,530 0.020872253
Thakali 5,242 0.019785235
Jireli 4,829 0.018226422
Mobahang 4,650 0.01755081
Sanketik 4,476 0.01689407
Tibbati 4,445 0.016777064
Meche 4,375 0.016512859
Chhantyal 4,283 0.016165617
Raji 3,758 0.014184074
Lohorung 3,716 0.01402555
Chintal 3,712 0.014014646
Gangai 3,612 0.013633016
Pahari 3,458 0.013051763
Dailekhi 3,102 0.011708089
Lhopaa 3,029 0.01143256
Dura 2,156 0.008137537
Koche 2,080 0.007850685
Chiling 2,046 0.007722356
English 2,032 0.007669515
Jerojerung 1,763 0.00665421
Khas 1,747 0.00659382
Sanskrit 1,669 0.00629942
Total 26,494,504 100

References[edit]

  1. ^ According to Interim Constitution, Nepali is only the official language (article 5, point 2). Other languages spoken as the mother tongue in Nepal are national languages (article 5, point 1). According to article 5, point 3, all languages are accepted as official languages at the regional level, this part of the article is about native names and not about official language.[clarification needed]Nepal_Interim_Constitution2007
  2. ^ Official Summary of Census (2011), Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal Archived 2012-12-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Major highlights" (PDF). Central Bureau of Statistics. 2013. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 July 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Major highlights" (PDF). Central Bureau of Statistics , NepalI, Maithili and other Nepalese languages. 2013. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 July 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Nepali Constitution 2015 PDF