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. Ethnic population: 55,700 (2011 census).
Janakpur zone: Dolakha and Ramechhap districts, east hills; Sagarmatha zone: northwest Okhaldhunga district.
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.
Mixed use: Home, friends, religion, work. 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].
Devanagari script [Deva].
Traditional religion, Christian, Daoist, Hindu.