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A language of Nepal

ISO 639-3: new

Population 825,458 in Nepal (2001 census). Many women are monolingual. Ethnic population: 1,256,737 including 1,245,232 Newar plus 11,505 Pahari.
Region Kathmandu Valley and in all towns and bigger villages thoughout Nepal. Fewer in the far west. Also spoken in India.
Alternate names   Nepal Bhasa, "Newari"
Dialects Dolkhali (Dolakha), Sindhupalchok Pahri (Pahri, Pahari), Totali, Citlang, Kathmandu-Pathan-Kirtipur, Baktapur, Baglung. Dolkhali of Dolakha and Pahri of Sindhupalchok may be separate languages (Genetti 1994:2–3). Dolakha, Totali, and Pahari are conservative linguistically. Kirtipur is close to Kathmandu. Baktapur people can mostly understand Kathmandu. There are some vocabulary differences between Hindus and Buddhists.
Classification Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Himalayish, Mahakiranti, Newari
Language use Language shift is greater among Hindus than among Buddhists. All ages. Dolakha and Totali people are reserved toward outsiders. Kathmandu is the prestige dialect; most published materials are in this dialect. Many attitudes are linked with political groupings. English is highly valued; there are mixed feelings about Hindi; Tibetan does not have high prestige. People learn whichever language will help them economically: Nepali, English, Hindi, and others.
Language development Literacy rate in first language: 60.4% (1991 census). Literacy rate in second language: 60.4% (1991 census). There are enough Newari teachers to teach their own people, no need for outside help. Young people are more literate than old people; men are more literate than women. Devanagari script. Magazines. Newspapers. Radio programs. Films. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1986.
Comments Recognized as an official nationality by the Government of Nepal. "Newari" considered offensive to Newars. Pracalit lipi script was in common use by Newars during the Malla period and earlier. There have been attempts to revive it recently. Newari has a complex history of scripts. SOV; postpositions; genitives, adjectives, demonstratives before noun heads; relatives before and without noun heads; in polar questions there is a particle sentence finally; maximum number of prefixes 2; maximum number of suffixes 4; affixes or clitics indicate case of noun phrases; ergative; causatives; comparatives; CVC; nontonal. Mountain valley. Urban. 300 to 2,000 meters. Jyapu intensive agriculturalists (farming caste); full range of occupations. Buddhist, Hindu, syncretism with traditional religion.

Also spoken in:


Language name   Newar
Region Sikkim; West Bengal; Some in Bettiah, Bihar; Andamans.
Alternate names   "Newari"
Comments "Newari" considered offensive to Newars.