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Koĩc (Sunwar) accounts of tradition and religion


Language Koĩc, Sunwar (ISO639-3:suz)
Depositor Dörte Borchers
Affiliation Institut für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (IfAS), Münster, Germany
Location Nepal
Collection ID 0099
Grant ID FTG0156
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

Surel and Sunwar are closely related, threatened Tibeto-Burman languages spoken in different regions of Eastern Nepal. The collection includes a recorded and transcribed Koĩc (Sunwar) text in which four people originating from different villages talk about traditional festivals and practices, which are called ‘Mukdum’ in their language.


Group represented

The Koĩc/Sunwar speaking community. In the Okhaldhunga and Ramechap districts, Sunwar is spoken as a mother tongue. Young people born in the cities are habitually treated as Nepali speakers by their families and do not learn to speak Sunwar (Borchers 2007). Members of the Kathmandu-based Sunwar cultural and political organisations such as the ‘Sunwar Welfare Society’, the ‘Chuplu society’ and the ‘Kquintboo Welfare Fund’ realise that, despite relatively large speaker numbers, this development threatens their language. To preserve their mother tongue the Sunwar recently began producing school books, and, according to the researcher, express great interest in language maintenance initiatives and in the production of teaching materials about their language.


Language information

The language commonly known as Sunwar in English is called Koĩc (कोँइच) by its own speakers. Sunwar is a Tibet-Burman language of eastern Nepal, spoken by around 25 000 people in the districts of Okhaldhunga and Ramechap, and as a result of recent migration, also in Kathmandu. The Indo-Iranian language Nepali and the Tibeto-Burman languages Sherpa, Tamang and Jirel are spoken in the vicinity of, and within predominantly, Sunwar villages. All speakers of Sunwar are bilingual with Nepali. The illiterate Sunwar speakers are able to read and write in their mother tongue in Devanagari but usually not in the scripts invented relatively recently for writing Sunwar.


Special characteristics

The collection includes information about Koĩc (Sunwar) rituals from experts.


Other information

See also the Surel narrations about everyday life and village history data collection, for associated transcriptions about the everyday life of villagers from Suri (District of Dolakha, Nepal), and Dörte Borchers’ Himalayan Languages website.


Acknowledgement and citation

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

Borchers, Dörte. 2008. Koĩc (Sunwar) accounts of tradition and religion. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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