Raute

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A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Boto boli, Khamchi, Raji, Rajwar, Rautya, Rautye
Population

830 (2006 J. Fortier), decreasing. All nomadic Raute are monolingual.

Location

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).

Language Status

6b (Threatened). Language of recognized nationality (2002, NFDIN Act, No. 20, Section 2C).

Dialects

There are many similarities with Raji, but the relationship of Raute with and intelligibility between Rawat [jnl] and Raji [rji] needs further investigation. Lexical similarity: 80% with Rawat [jnl], 60% with Chepang [cdm], 25% with Kham.

Typology

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

Language Use

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.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 0%. Dictionary.
Writing
Unwritten.
Other Comments

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.