Sherpa

A language of Nepal

ISO 639-3: xsr
 

Population 129,771 in Nepal (2001 census). Population total all countries: 151,071. Ethnic population: 154,622 (2001 census).
Region Sagarmatha Zone, Solu Khumbu District, northern mountains. Khumbu extends north from Namche Bazaar. Solu is the southern region including the villages of Gumdi, Sete, Junbesi, Phaplu, and Sallery. Around Rolwaling, northern border of Janakpur District, and Taplejung, Mechi Zone. There may be some around Lukla. Also spoken in Bhutan, China, India, South Korea, USA.
Alternate names   Sharpa, Sharpa Bhotia, Xiaerba, Serwa
Dialects Solu, Khumbu, Ramechap (Western). 95% comprehension of Solu dialect by Western and Khumbu speakers. Lexical similarity 77% to 92% between Solu and Khumbu dialects; 67% with Jirel; 65% with Helambu Sherpa; 62% with Lowa and Dolpo; 58% with Lhomi and Baraguanle; 57% with Kyerung; 55% with Kutang Bhotia (Nubri) and Walungge; 30% to 35% with Lhasa Tibetan.
Classification Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Himalayish, Tibeto-Kanauri, Tibetic, Tibetan, Southern
Language use Vigorous in villages but not in towns. Use is diminishing. All ages, but children use it infrequently. They are proud of their language, but ashamed that it isn't developed more. In schools children are teased if they use Sherpa. In Kathmandu parents use Nepali with school-age children. Some use Nepali, Tibetan, English, as second language. Lamas are fluent in Tibetan. Guides (men) learn trekkers' languages: German, Korean, French, etc. (SIL 1998). At least 90% speak Nepali (UNESCO).
Language development Literacy rate in first language: 8% to 9%. Literacy rate in second language: 35% (1991 census). In Kathmandu people are about 20% more literate than in Sherpa country. Devanagari and Tibetan scripts; Tibetan script in India. Radio programs. Grammar.
Comments Recognized as an official nationality by the Government of Nepal. Tibetan carries tones in the script. SOV. 1,000 to 4,000 meters. Buddhist (Lamaist).

Also spoken in:
China
 
Language name   Sherpa
Population 800 in China (1994).
Region Tibet.
Alternate names   Sharpa, Sharpa Bhotia, Xiaerba, Serwa
Comments Part of the Tibetan nationality. Buddhist (Lamaist).

India
 
Language name   Sherpa
Population 20,000 in India (1997).
Region West Bengal, Darjeeling District; Sikkim; Arunachal Pradesh.
Alternate names   Sharpa, Sharpa Bhotia, Xiaerba, Serwa
Comments


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A Scheduled Tribe in India. 'Sharpa' means 'easterner', so the term used in different countries may not always refer to this language. Buddhist (Lamaist