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Languages of Nepal

The 2011 National census lists 123 Nepalese languages spoken as a mother tongue (first language) in Nepal.But now there are 129 languages.[2] Most belong to the Indo-Aryan and Sino-Tibetan language families.

Languages of Nepal
Nepal ethnic groups.png
OfficialNepali (Gorkhali)[1]
RegionalLimbu  • Maithili  • Nepalbhasa  • Angika  • Tharu  • Doteli  • Baitadeli  • Gurung  • Tamang  • Magar  • Sherpa  • Dzongkha  • Kiranti  • Sunuwar  • Rajbanshi  • Bhojpuri  • Awadhi
SignedNepali Sign Language  • Jhankot Sign Language  • Jumla Sign Language  • Ghandruk Sign Language

The official language of Nepal is Nepali, formerly called Khas-Kura then Gorkhali. According to the 2011 national census, the percentage of Nepali speaking people is about 44.6%.[3] Maithili is the second most spoken language in Nepal at 11.67%.[4]

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

ClassificationEdit

Nepal's languages are mostly either Indo-European or Sino-Tibetan, while only a very few of them are Austro-Asiatic and Dravidian.

Out of 123 languages of Nepal, the 48 Indo-European languages,which are of the Indo-Aryan (Indic) sub-family (excluding English), constitute the largest group in terms of the numeric strength of their speakers, nearly 82.1%[5] of population. Nepali, Maithili, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Tharu languages etc. fall in this group.

The Sino-Tibetan family of Nepal's languages forms a part of its Tibeto-Burman group. Though spoken by relatively fewer people than the Indo-European family (17.3%[5] of population), it includes a greater number of languages, about 63 languages. Languages belonging to this group are Tamang, Nepal Bhasa (Newari), Magar, Limbu language etc.

The small declining number of 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.

Number of speakers by language family
(2011 Census)
Language family Number Percentage
Indo-European 21,752,496 82.10%
Sino-Tibetan 4,584,871 17.31%
Austro-Asiastic 49,858 0.19%
Dravidian 33,651 0.13%
Others/Not reported 73,375 0.27%
Total 26,494,504 100%

ConstitutionEdit

Part 1 of the Constitution of Nepal 2015 (2072 B.S.) contains these provisions about the languages of Nepal:[6]

  • 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 speakersEdit

Number of native speakers (2011 Census)[5]
Rank Language Language family Count Percentage
1 Nepali Indo-European 11,826,953 44.64%
2 Maithili Indo-European 3,092,530 11.67%
3 Bhojpuri Indo-European 1,584,958 5.98%
4 Tharu Indo-European 1,529,875 5.77%
5 Tamang Sino-Tibetan 1,353,311 5.11%
6 Nepal Bhasa (Newari) Sino-Tibetan 846,557 3.20%
7 Bajjika Indo-European 793,416 2.99%
8 Magar Sino-Tibetan 788,530 2.98%
9 Dotyali/Doteli Indo-European 787,827 2.97%
10 Urdu Indo-European 691,546 2.61%
11 Awadhi Indo-European 501,752 1.89%
12 Limbu Sino-Tibetan 343,603 1.30%
13 Gurung Sino-Tibetan 325,622 1.23%
14 Baitadeli Indo-European 272,524 1.03%
15 Rai Sino-Tibetan 159,114 0.60%
16 Aachami Indo-European 142,787 0.54%
17 Bantawa Sino-Tibetan 132,583 0.50%
18 Rajbanshi Indo-European 122,214 0.46%
19 Sherpa Sino-Tibetan 114,830 0.43%
20 Hindi Indo-European 77,569 0.29%
21 Chamling Sino-Tibetan 76,800 0.29%
22 Bajhangi Indo-European 67,581 0.26%
23 Santhali Austro-Asiatic 49,858 0.19%
24 Chepang Sino-Tibetan 48,476 0.18%
25 Danuwar Indo-European 45,821 0.17%
26 Sunuwar Sino-Tibetan 37,898 0.14%
27 Magahi Indo-European 35,614 0.13%
28 Uranw/Kurux Dravidian 33,651 0.13%
29 Kulung Sino-Tibetan 33,170 0.13%
30 Kham (Magar) Sino-Tibetan 27,113 0.10%
31 Rajasthani Indo-European 25,394 0.10%
32 Majhi Indo-European 24,422 0.09%
33 Thami Sino-Tibetan 23,151 0.09%
34 Bhujel Sino-Tibetan 21,715 0.08%
35 Bengali Indo-European 21,061 0.08%
36 Thulung Sino-Tibetan 20,659 0.08%
37 Yakkha Sino-Tibetan 19,558 0.07%
38 Dhimal Sino-Tibetan 19,300 0.07%
39 Tajpuriya Indo-European 18,811 0.07%
40 Angika Indo-European 18,555 0.07%
41 Sangpang Sino-Tibetan 18,270 0.07%
42 Khaling Sino-Tibetan 14,467 0.05%
43 Wambule Sino-Tibetan 13,470 0.05%
44 Kumal Indo-European 12,222 0.05%
45 Darai Indo-European 11,677 0.04%
46 Bahing Sino-Tibetan 11,658 0.04%
47 Bajureli Indo-European 10,704 0.04%
48 Hyolmo Sino-Tibetan 10,176 0.04%
49 Nachiring Sino-Tibetan 10,041 0.04%
50 Yamphu Sino-Tibetan 9,208 0.03%
51 Bote Indo-European 8,766 0.03%
52 Ghale Sino-Tibetan 8,092 0.03%
53 Dumi Sino-Tibetan 7,638 0.03%
54 Lepcha Sino-Tibetan 7,499 0.03%
55 Puma Sino-Tibetan 6,686 0.03%
56 Dungmali Sino-Tibetan 6,260 0.02%
57 Darchuleli Indo-European 5,928 0.02%
58 Aathpariya Sino-Tibetan 5,530 0.02%
59 Thakali Sino-Tibetan 5,242 0.02%
60 Jirel Sino-Tibetan 4,829 0.02%
61 Mewahang Sino-Tibetan 4,650 0.02%
62 Sign Language 4,476 0.02%
63 Tibetan Sino-Tibetan 4,445 0.02%
64 Meche Sino-Tibetan 4,375 0.02%
65 Chhantyal Sino-Tibetan 4,283 0.02%
66 Raji Sino-Tibetan 3,758 0.01%
67 Lohorung Sino-Tibetan 3,716 0.01%
68 Chhintang Sino-Tibetan 3,712 0.01%
69 Gangai Indo-European 3,612 0.01%
70 Pahari Sino-Tibetan 3,458 0.01%
71 Dailekhi Indo-European 3,102 0.01%
72 Lhopa Sino-Tibetan 3,029 0.01%
73 Dura Sino-Tibetan 2,156 0.01%
74 Koch Sino-Tibetan 2,080 0.01%
75 Chiling Sino-Tibetan 2,046 0.01%
76 English Indo-European 2,045 0.01%
77 Jerung Sino-Tibetan 1,763 0.01%
78 Khas Indo-European 1,747 0.01%
79 Sanskrit Indo-European 1,669 0.01%
80 Dolpali Indo-European 1,667 0.01%
81 Hayu Sino-Tibetan 1,520 0.01%
82 Tilung Sino-Tibetan 1,424 0.01%
83 Koi Sino-Tibetan 1,271 0.00%
84 Kisan Indo-European 1,178 0.00%
85 Waling Sino-Tibetan 1,169 0.00%
86 Musalban Indo-European 1,075 0.00%
87 Hariyani/Haryanvi Indo-European 889 0.00%
88 Jumli Indo-European 851 0.00%
89 Lhomi Sino-Tibetan 808 0.00%
90 Punjabi Indo-European 808 0.00%
91 Belhare Sino-Tibetan 599 0.00%
92 Oriya Indo-European 584 0.00%
93 Sonaha Indo-European 579 0.00%
94 Sindhi Indo-European 518 0.00%
95 Dadeldhuri Indo-European 488 0.00%
96 Byangshi Sino-Tibetan 480 0.00%
97 Assamese Indo-European 476 0.00%
98 Raute Sino-Tibetan 461 0.00%
99 Saam Sino-Tibetan 401 0.00%
100 Manange Sino-Tibetan 392 0.00%
101 Dhuleli Sino-Tibetan 347 0.00%
102 Phangduali Sino-Tibetan 290 0.00%
103 Surel Sino-Tibetan 287 0.00%
104 Malpande Indo-European 247 0.00%
105 Chinese Sino-Tibetan 242 0.00%
106 Khariya Austro-Asiatic 238 0.00%
107 Kurmali Indo-European 227 0.00%
108 Baram Sino-Tibetan 155 0.00%
109 Lingkhim Sino-Tibetan 129 0.00%
110 Sadhani Indo-European 122 0.00%
111 Kagate Sino-Tibetan 99 0.00%
112 Dzonkha Sino-Tibetan 80 0.00%
113 Bankariya Sino-Tibetan 69 0.00%
114 Kaike Sino-Tibetan 50 0.00%
115 Gadhawali/Garhwali Indo-European 38 0.00%
116 French Indo-European 34 0.00%
117 Mizo Sino-Tibetan 32 0.00%
118 Kuki Sino-Tibetan 29 0.00%
119 Kusunda Language Isolate 28 0.00%
120 Russian Indo-European 17 0.00%
121 Spanish Indo-European 16 0.00%
122 Nagamese Sino-Tibetan 10 0.00%
123 Arabic Afro-Asiatic 8 0.00%
Not reported 47,718 0.18%
Others 21,173 0.08%
Total 26,494,504 100%
Second language speakers (2011 Census)
Language Count Percentage
Nepali 8,682,499 32.77%
Hindi 1,225,950 4.62%
Maithili 195, 287 0.73%
Bhojpuri 159,518 0.60%
Tharu 84,748 0.32%
English 81,447 0.30%
Bajjika 60,863 0.23%
Urdu 45,766 0.17%
Awadhi 45,428 0.17%
Magar 42,952 0.16%
Tamang 33,450 0.12%
Nepal Bhasa (Newari) 32,594 0.12%
Sanskrit 2,975 0.01%
Others 190,327 0.72%
Total 10,883,804 """41.04%"""

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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.[dead link]
  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.[dead link]
  5. ^ a b c "Population Monograph of Nepal Volume II (Social Demography)" (PDF).
  6. ^ Nepali Constitution 2015 Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine PDF