Sunwar language

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Sunuwar koich.jpg
Native speakers
38,000 (2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3suz
Sunwar greeting

Sunwar, Sunuwar, or Kõinch (कोँइच; kõich; other spellings are Koinch and Koincha), is a Kiranti language spoken in Nepal and India by the Sunwar 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-kõich), Mukhiya (मुखिया ; mukhiyā).[3][4]

Geographical distribution[edit]

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


Seu+wa+la (Sewala)

Sunwar English
Namsewal Hello / Good Bye
Sew (Respect) / (Greeting) / I bow to you
Maahr What
Dohpachaa How to
Dohshow How much
Dohmoh How big
Go I
Gopuki We are
Ge You (informal)
Gepukhi You are (informal)
Goi we (formal)
GoiPuki we are (formal)
Daarshow Beautiful
Rimso Good
MaDarshow Ugly

Language Structure[edit]

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 Sunwar) [5]

Language S O V
Sunwar Go Khamay Jainu
English I Rice Eat

Sunwar people called "Khangsa" sign language with voice and direct action, for foreign people who don't understand a sunuwar language.[citation needed]


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

Writing systems[edit]

Though Sunwar is most commonly written with the Devanagari script, a native writing system, Jenticha, has seen limited use since the 1940s. Invented by Krishna Bahadur Jenticha in 1942, the Jenticha script (Also called jẽtica brese or kõica brese) was initially a pure alphabet, but has since developed alphasyllabic characteristics. It has seen use in newspapers, poetry anthologies, academic works, and Sunwar-language translations of the proceedings of the Sikkim legislative assembly. [6]

Numerals and alphabet (Devanagari)[edit]


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


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 व्ह hha


  1. ^ Sunwar at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Sunwar". 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. ^ a b Borchers, Dörte (2008). A grammar of Sunwar: 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.
  6. ^ Pandey, Anshuman (31 May 2011). "Proposal to Encode the Jenticha Script in ISO/IEC 10646" (PDF). Retrieved 18 December 2019.

External links[edit]