Official Languages In Nepal: #1 Easy To Understand Guide

Languages In Nepal

There are 126 different ethnic groups in Nepal, and approximately 123 languages in Nepal are used as the first language (mother tongue).

For a country with an area of only 147,181 square kilometers, the diversity of Nepal is simply amazing. Nepal is a multi-lingual and multi-ethnic country. Although Nepal has a vast territory, there are many ethnic groups, and each ethnic group has its own language. This multi-lingual status of Nepal puts Nepal in a unique position on the world language map and makes Nepal a fascinating region for language research.

Short And Quick Data of Languages Of Nepal

Language in Nepal:  There are around 123 languages spoken as a first language or mother tongue reported in census 2011. The Nepali language is spoken as a mother tongue by 45% (11,826,953) of the total population of Nepal, followed by Maithili 11.6% (3,092,530), Bhojpuri 5.98% (1,584,958), Tharu 5.77% (1,529,875), Tamang 5.11% (1,353,311), Newar 3.2% (846,557), Bajjika 2.99% (793,418), Magar 2.98% (788,530), Doteli 2.97% (787,827), and Urdu 2.61% (691,546).

What Is The Official Language Of Nepal?

An official language of Nepal is the Nepali language, which is spoken by nearly 45% of the population. The second most spoken language in Nepal is Maithili, and Bhojpuri is the third most spoken language in Nepal. According to the 2011 census, there are more than 123 languages in Nepal, most of which belong to the Sino-Tibetan and Indo-Aryan languages. Most languages are written in Sanskrit (Devanagari script).

Although Nepal uses different languages in the same place, Nepali has become an official language because it is used in communication, education, media, administration, etc. About 60 years ago, until the government and the king adopted Nepali as the primary language, every other area basically spoke its language.

English Language: One Of The Languages In Nepal

If you plan to travel to Nepal to explore all these beautiful cultures, you may want to know the status of English in Nepal. A lot of English speakers arrive from all over the globe booking Nepal hiking tours to get more familiar with the local culture and enjoy the natural beauty of this fabulous country at the same time. In the past few years, English has been used as a foreign language in Nepal. Over the years, among the various languages spoken in Nepal, this language has grown significantly. Nepalese native speakers speak English differently because they have a unique accent and way of using the language.

The language is more prominent in cities, and people use English as a second language. In addition, many Nepalese in governments and businesses also speak English. In the capital Kathmandu, Nepali, English, and Nepali Bhasa (the Newar language) are the most widely known languages.

Languages In Nepal regional nepalese

What Are The Regional Nepalese Languages?


Nepali: Although the number of Indo-Aryan languages spoken in Nepal is much smaller than the Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in the country, a much larger number (79%) of the Nepalese population speak languages belonging to the first group than those belonging to the second group (18%). Nepali, the most widely spoken language of Nepal, belongs to the Indo-Aryan language family and is responsible for the higher percentage of speakers in the Indo-Aryan language group in Nepal.

Maithili: Apart from Nepali, Maithili is another common language of the Indo-Aryan family spoken in Nepal. It is the second most spoken language in Nepal. According to the 2011 census, 11.6% of Nepal’s population speaks Maithili. The language is spoken in some areas located in the Terai region of Nepal.


As it is already mentioned earlier, there are 123 languages in Nepal. Three-quarters of these languages belong to the Sino-Tibetan language family. Some of the examples are:

Nepal Bhasa: Nepal Bhasa is also known as Newari, and the Newars speak the language of Nepal Mandala. Although some people think that it is the same as Nepali, for most people in Nepal, Nepali Bhasa is actually very different from Nepali. This language used to be the administrative language of the country, but since the 20th century, its importance has declined, and today UNESCO considers it to be an ‘absolutely endangered’ language.

Limbu: The clans and tribes living in eastern Nepal speak the Limbu language. These people belong to the Kirati tribe and have Tibetan ancestry. This language is spoken by 487,300 people in Nepal.

Other Sino-Tibetan spoken languages in Nepal include Tamang, Magar, Sunuwar languages, and Rai languages.


Kurukh: The Kurukh is spoken in parts of Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. In Nepal, this language is spoken by approx. 28,600 people, including a dialect called Dhangar. This language is listed as a “vulnerable language” by UNESCO.


Santali: The Munda subfamily’s Austroasiatic language is spoken by approx. 6.2 million people in parts of India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.

Mundari: It is also a Munda language spoken in Bangladesh, Nepal, and India.

What National Languages In Nepal Spoken Talk To Nepal

What National Languages Are Spoken In Nepal?

RankCategoryMajor Languages
1Official language spokenNepali is the official language
2Regional languages in NepalLimbu, Maithili, Newar, Angika, Tharu, Gurung, Tamang, Magar, Sherpa, Kiranti, Sunuwar, Bhojpuri, Rajbanshi, and others
3Sign languages in Nepal  Jumla Sign Language, Nepali Sign Language Ghandruk Sign Language, Jhankot Sign Language

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