A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
“Bho Te bhasha” (pej.), “Kar Bhote” (pej.), “Kath Bhote” (pej.), Lhoket

810 in Nepal (2011 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 3,130. Ethnic population: 15,000.


Kosi Zone, north Sankhuwasabha district to the border, Chepuwa VDC, Chepuwa, Chyamtang, Gumba, Chhumusur, and Rukuma villages; Hatiya VDC, Hatiya, Hungung, Pharang, Syaksila, Simbung, Namase, and Shiprung villages; southernmost village is Seksum in Arun valley; some in Kathmandu.

Language Status

5 (Developing). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Lhomi (Shingsawa).


None known. Lexical similarity: 69% with Dolpo [dre], 68% with Loke [loy], 66% with Walungge [ola], 65% with Lhasa Tibetan [bod] and Kyerung (Kyirong) [kgy], 64% with Nubri [kte], 60% with Helambu Sherpa [scp], 58% with Sherpa [xsr], 57% with Jirel [jul].


SOV; postpositions; noun head initial; masculine and feminine (limited class); content q-word precedes the main verb; 1 prefix, up to 3 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; split ergativity; aspect; no passives or voice; tonal (tense-lax); 23 consonant and 8 vowel phonemes; evidentiality is a salient feature of Lhomi syntax.

Language Use

Vigorous. Home, friends, religion; mixed use: Work. All ages. Positive attitudes. 90% of men have functional trade level in Nepali [npi]. Women increasingly use Nepali. Educated Lhomis are fluent Nepali speakers. Also use Central Tibetan [bod]. Used as L2 by Eastern Gurung [ggn], Eastern Tamang [taj], Khaling [klr], Naaba [nao], Thudam [thw], Western Gurung [gvr].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 25%. Literacy rate in L2: 30%. Bilingual literacy campaign should impact adult (and women’s) literacy rate in Lhomi and Nepali [npi]. Poetry. Newspapers. New media. Videos. NT: 1995.

Devanagari script [Deva].

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Buddhist (Lamaist), Christian.

Also spoken in:

Expand All Collapse All