830 (2006 J. Fortier), decreasing. All nomadic Raute are monolingual.
Mahakali Zone, Dadeldhura district, Jogbudha and Sirsa VDCs, in Karnali and Mahakali (Kali) rivers watershed regions (800 settled). Bheri Zone, Surkhet district, former nomadic camp; midwest and far west forest regions (about 25 nomads).
6b (Threatened). Language of recognized nationality (2002, NFDIN Act, No. 20, Section 2C).
SOV; postpositions; noun head final; no noun classes or gender; content q-word in situ; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; verbal affixation marks person and number; ergativity; both tense and aspect; nontonal; 35 consonant and 7 vowel phonemes
Vigorous. Home, friends, religion, work. Children, older adults, and elderly. Some use among adolescents and young adults. Nomadic Raute are secretive about their language; only the headman is allowed to speak with outsiders. Some youth speak Nepali [npi] or Hindi [hin] among themselves in front of outsiders. Settled Raute also use some Nepali [npi] with outsiders.
Ethnic autonym: Ra’te. The name may be of Tibeto-Burman origin, from ra- meaning human plus a person marker, -to or -te. Other scholars suggest it derives from the Sanskrit Indo-Aryan word raut from Sanskrit, rajaputra, prince. Rautes deem their language sacred and are linguistically conservative toward adopting non-Raute words or grammatical features. Traditional religion.