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Documentation of Koyi Rai


Language Koyi Rai
Depositor Aimée Lahaussois
Affiliation Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
Location Nepal
Collection ID 0016
Grant ID IPF0065
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

This collection consists of audio recordings with transcriptions of speakers of Koyi Rai, spoken in Kathmandu, Nepal, resulting from fieldwork conducted between April 2004 and November 2007.


Group represented

Koyi Rai


Language information

Kohi Rai is a Tibeto-Burman language of the Kiranti group and is spoken in Eastern Nepal, along the Dudhkosi river. The number of speakers is unknown, but estimated to be around 300 (Hansson 1991).


Special characteristics

As noted above,the best estimate on number of speakers is 300. Van Driem claims that the documentation of Kohi should be given high priority (2001: 711), as one perhaps quickly disappearing piece of an intriguing linguistic group in Eastern Nepal. Hansson (1991: 46) claims that “this language seems to be rather important for comparative studies within the north-western marginal groups of Western Kiranti.”

The general situation for any minority language in Nepal is that Nepali is making significant inroads in small language communities. Education is necessarily in Nepali, because of the ethnic composition of most villages (which include members of different groups), and because of the logistical challenges of educating children in languages which are traditionally oral.In other words, it is a given that Nepali is gaining in the Kohi language areas, at the expense of Kohi, and that children are less and less likely to speak the language as native speakers would.

Although the estimated number of speakers is low, there are several factors favourable to a good description – retention, for example, is good in the younger generation, relative to other neighbouring languages.


Collection contents

The collection comprises 6 audio files, as well as transcriptions of the recordings.

Genres include conversation and narration, including myths and recipes.

Creative Commons License
The transcriptions in this collection are licensed for non-commercial use under the “Share Alike” Creative Commons License.

Creative Commons License
The audio files are licensed for non-commercial use under the “No Derivative Works” Creative Commons License.

The resources are also available via


Collection history

From the depositor:

‘My interest in Kohi was aroused by a chance meeting with a Kohi speaker in the area between the villages of Jubing and Kharikhola, along the Dudh Kosi river in Solukhumbu District. I was told that the villages in this area were populated by Kohi speakers. This information is at odds with what had been previously reported, namely that the Kohi live farther to the Southeast, around the village of Sungdel’.


Acknowledgement and citation

To refer to any data from the collection, please cite as follows:

Lahaussois, Aimée. 2007. Documentation of Koyi Rai. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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