Sunwar language

Region Nepal
Native speakers
38,000 (2011)[1]
  • Sunuwar proper
Language codes
ISO 639-3 suz
Glottolog sunw1242[2]

Sunuwar, or Kõinch (कोँइच; kõica; other spellings are Koinch and Koincha), is a Kiranti language spoken in Nepal by the Sunuwar people. It was first comprehensively attested by the Himalayan Languages Project. It is also known as Kõits Lo (कोँइच लो ; kõica lo), Kiranti-Kõits (किराँती-कोँइच ; kirā̃tī-kõica), Mukhiya (मुखिया ; mukhiyā).[3][4]

Geographical distribution

Sunuwar is spoken in the following locations of Nepal (Ethnologue).


Seu+wa+la (Sewala)

NamsewalHello / Good Bye
Sew(Respect) / (Greeting) / I bow to you
DohpachaaHow to
DohshowHow much
DohmohHow big
GopukiWe are
GeYou (informal)
GepukhiYou are (informal)
GoiYou (formal)
GoiPukiYou are (formal)

Language Structure

In linguistic typology, a subject+object+verb (SOV) language is one in which the subject, object, and verb of a sentence always or usually appear in that order. If English were SOV, "Sam oranges ate" would be an ordinary sentence, as opposed to the actual Standard English "Sam ate oranges". (A Grammar of Sunuwar) [5]


Sunuwar people called "Khangsa" sign language with voice and direct action, for foreign people who don't understand a sunuwar language.


Sunuwar language is spoken in villages in Dolakha, Ramechhap and Okhaldhunga, about 120 kilometers east of Kathmandu.[4]

Writing systems

Though Sunuwar is most commonly written with the Devanagari script, a native writing system, Jenticha, has seen limited use since the 1940s.

Numerals and alphabet (Devanagari)


1ichi/kaa 2ni/nishi 3sa/saam 4le 5nga
6ruku/roku 7chani 8sasi 9van 10gau


a ā i ī u ū
e ai o au ang aha


ka kha ga gha ṅga cha chha ja jha
ña ṭa ṭha ḍa ḍha ṇa ta tha da
dha na pa pha ba bha ma ya ra
la wa śha ṣra sa ha व्हhha


  1. Sunuwar at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Sunuwar". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Ager, Simon. "Jenticha alphabet, and the Sunuwar language". Omniglot. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  4. 1 2 Borchers, Dörte (2008). A grammar of Sunuwar: descriptive grammar, paradigms, texts and glossary ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Leiden: Brill. pp. 1–2. ISBN 9789004167094.
  5. "A Grammar of Sunwar". Dörte Borchers. Retrieved 27 August 2018.

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