A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Boto boli, Khamchi, Ra’te, Raji, Rajwar, Rautya, Rautye

501, all users. L1 users: 460 (2011 census), decreasing. L2 users: 41 (2011 census). All nomadic Raute are monolingual.


Bheri zone: Surkhet district; midwest and far west forest regions; Mahakali zone: Dadeldhura district, Jogbudha and Sirsa VDCs, in Karnali and Mahakali rivers watershed regions.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Raute.


None known. There are reportedly many similarities with Raji [rji], 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.


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

Home, friends, religion, work. Some young people, all adults. Used mostly by younger children, older adults, and elderly. Some use among adolescents and young adults. Some also use Hindi [hin], especially youth. Some also use Nepali [npi], especially settled Raute, youth.

Language Development

Dictionary. Texts.


Unwritten [Qaax].

Other Comments

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. Only the headman communicates with outsiders. Traditional religion.

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