18,000 in Nepal (2002 UNESCO), decreasing. No monolinguals. 9,290 (2001 census). Ethnic population: 20,000.
Sagarmatha Zone, Solukhumbu district, Kanku, Basa, Waku, Buksa, Jubing, and Phuleli villages; Khotang district, Buipa and Kharmi villages; Kosi Zone, Sankhuwasabha district, Tungkhaling village; Sunsari district, Dharan; Mechi Zone, Ilam district, Pang, Sumbek, and Mai Pokhari villages. Also in India.
5 (Developing). Language of recognized nationality (2002, NFDIN Act, No. 20, Section 2C), Rai nationality.
SOV; postpositions; adjectives, numerals, relatives before noun heads; content q-word initial; no noun classes or genders; 1 prefix, up to 2 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; affixes indicate case of noun phrase; verbal affixation marks person and number of subject—obligatory; ergative; causatives; comparatives; passives and voice; CV, V, CCCV; nontonal; 23 consonant and 9 vowel phonemes
Vigorous. Home, religion; mixed use: Friends, work. Young adults and older. Some use among children and adolescents. Positive attitudes. Most also use Nepali [npi]. Older women are less bilingual and may comprehend Nepali minimally.
Traditional religion, Hindu, Christian.