21,090 in Nepal, all users. L1 users: 19,600 (2011 census), decreasing. L2 users: 1,490 (2011 census). Very few monolinguals. Ethnic population: 24,300 (2011 census). Total users in all countries: 21,900 (as L1: 20,410; as L2: 1,490).
Kosi zone: south Sankhuwasabha and east Dhankuta districts, east to Arun river. South Sankhuwasabha and adjoining extreme north Dhankuta district (Northern Yakkha dialect); Dhankuta district (Southern Yakkha dialect).
6b (Threatened). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Yakkha.
SOV; postpositions; noun head final; no noun classes or genders; content q-word in situ; 1 prefix, up to 10 suffixes (depending on analysis); clause constituents indicated by case-marking; verbal affixation marks person and number; ergativity; tense and aspect; passives and voice; nontonal; 22 consonant and 5 vowel phonemes.
Devanagari script [Deva], used since 2011.
Considered by many a distinct group of Kirati not fitting neatly into either Rai or Limbu groups (Bista 1996:39); in terms of mythology and people’s own judgment, they seem closer to Limbu than to Rai groups. Traditional religion, Buddhist, Hindu.