A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Bhujuwar, Kiranti-Kõits Lo, Kirati-Koits, Koits Lo, Mukhiya, Pirthwar, Sunuwar, Sunwari

39,760, all users. L1 users: 38,200 (2011 census). 37,900 Sunwar, 290 Surel (2011 census). L2 users: 1,560 (2011 census). Very few monolinguals.


Janakpur zone: Dolakha and Ramechhap districts, east hills; Sagarmatha zone: northwest Okhaldhunga district.

Language Status

6b (Threatened). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Surel, Sunuwar.


Surel. Lexical similarity: more than 80% with Surel dialect.


SOV; postpositions; genitives after noun heads; relatives before noun heads; noun heads both initial and final; 5 noun classes; content q-word initial and in situ; up to 2 prefixes and 3 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by split-case marking; verbal affixation marks person and number; causatives; comparatives; passives and voice; CV, CVC CVV, CCV, CCVC, V, VC; tonal; 24 consonant and 6 vowel phonemes; nasal contrastive pairs.

Language Use

Mixed use: Home, friends, religion, work. Some young people, all adults. Adolescents and older. Some use among children. Language is passed down to children only in village areas (Toba et al 2002). Positive attitudes. Also use Bhujel [byh], Eastern Tamang [taj]. Also use Nepali [npi], especially young people for trade and official purposes, but with low proficiency. Used as L2 by Jirel [jul].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 20% (2010 L. Rapacha). Literacy rate in L2: Males 15% in villages, 20% in Kathmandu. Literature. Newspapers. Periodicals. Radio. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. Bible: 2011. Agency: Kõits Bu.


Devanagari script [Deva].

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Christian, Daoist, Hindu.

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