20,300, all users. L1 users: 18,300 (2011 census), decreasing. Phali dialect spoken by a few elderly speakers. L2 users: 2,000 (2011 census). No monolinguals.
Kosi zone: Bhojpur district, Okharbote on Lahure Khola river headwaters; Syam Khola area, Kimalung, Nigale, Talakharka, and Surke; Sagarmatha zone: Khotang district, Tap Khola river villages, Baspani, Khartamcha, Patheka, and Phedi (Khotang dialect); Kosi zone: Bhojpur district, Dingla bazaar, a few elderly speakers (Phali dialect).
6b (Threatened). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Rai.
Phali, Khotang. Mutual intelligibility between the Khartamcha variety and the Patheka variety of the Khotang dialect is high. Mutual intelligibility between the Khotang and Phali Sampang dialect is difficult to estimate but appears to be low.
SOV; postpositions; noun head final; noun classes or gender; content q-word in situ; 1 prefix, up to 6 suffixes; word-order clause constituents; verbal affixation marks person and number; split ergativity; tense and aspect; passives and voice; nontonal; 28 consonant and 20 vowel phonemes; distinctive pitch-accent, nasal vowel phonemes and syllabic nasals; a prominent role is played in the grammar by an imperfective nominalizing suffix; in nominal morphology, the ergative structure is breaking down through the introduction of the Nepali [npi] oblique case marker.
Devanagari script [Deva].
Traditional religion, Christian, Hindu.