Languages of Nepal
|Languages of Nepal|
|Official languages||Nepali (Gorkhali) English (de facto)|
|Regional languages||Gurung • Tamang • Magar • Sherpa • Dzongkha • Kiranti • Sunuwar • Rajbanshi • Bhojpuri|
|Sign languages||Nepali Sign Language • Jhankot Sign Language • Jumla Sign Language • Ghandruk Sign Language|
The official language of Nepal is Nepali, formerly called Khaskura then Gorkhali. According to the 2011 national census, the percentage of Nepali speaking people is about 44.6%. Maithili is the second largest Nepalese language and according to 2011 Census, the percentage of Maithil people is 11.57%.
Most of their languages are written using the Devanagari script including their indigenous languages.
Three quarters of the 123 languages native to Nepal belong to the Tibeto-Burman language family; this includes Nepalbhasa (Newa) (the original language of Kathmandu), the Limbu, Tamang, Magar, Gurung and various sunuwar, Rai languages.
However, the official and numerically most important language, Nepali, belongs to the Indo-Aryan (Indic) branch of the Indo-European family, so that Indic languages constitute 79% of the population to Tibeto-Burman's 18%, even though most languages of both families are spoken by small numbers of people.
The indigenous languages of Nepal that predated the influx of Indic, Tibeto-Burman, and other families barely survive in the Kusunda language, which is nearly extinct today.
Part 1 of the Constitution of Nepal 2015 (2072 B.S.) contains these provisions about the languages of Nepal:
- Article 6: All native languages spoken in Nepal are National languages of Nepal.
- Article 7a: Nepali language in Devanagari script is used for Nepal government work. (Indigenous languages also are to be written using Devanagari.)
- Article 7b: Beside Nepali language, the Provinces can choose one or more other languages spoken by majority population of that province for government work.
Languages in Nepal by numbers of native speakers
(Their percents are assumed to add to 100.)
|Language||Native Speaker Count||Percentage (%)|
|Language Not Known||47,718||0.180105278|
- According to Interim Constitution, Nepali is only the official language (article 5, point 2). Other languages spoken as the mother tongue in Nepal are national languages (article 5, point 1). According to article 5, point 3, all languages are accepted as official languages at the regional level. This part of the article is about native names and not about official language.Nepal_Interim_Constitution2007
- Official Summary of Census (2011), Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal Archived 2012-12-02 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Major highlights" (PDF). Central Bureau of Statistics. 2013. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 July 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- "Major highlights" (PDF). Central Bureau of Statistics , NepalI, Maithili and other Nepalese languages. 2013. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 July 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- Nepali Constitution 2015 Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. PDF