y of California, Santa Barbara


Newar is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in Nepal. The majority of the Newar population resides in the Kathmandu Valley in three dominant cities: Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. However, there are many other smaller Newar communities located throughout Nepal. Many – if not all –have their own unique variety of the language.

The most divergent of the Newar varieties recorded to data are spoken in eastern Nepal. The Dolakha dialect, which has been the subject of much of my work, is spoken in the village of Dolakha, approximately 145 kilometers to the east and north of Kathmandu. For the community website, click here. For more information on Dolakha and this dialect, excerpted from Chapter 1 of my 2007 grammar, click here.

Another dialect with similar properties but still quite distinct from that of Dolakha is spoken in Tauthali, a community somewhat west of Dolakha. These dialects are mutually intelligible (with some difficulty), but neither is intelligible with the Newar varieties spoken in the Kathmandu Valley. This implies that on purely structural linguistic grounds the two varieties are dialects of a single language, distinct from those of the Kathmandu Valley. I suggest that they form a Northeastern branch of Newar, probably with other Newar dialects of the area. For a PowerPoint on this subject, click here

My recent articles on Newar include a paper on the history of Newar adjectives, a paper on prosodic aspects of direct speech reports in the language and on the complex interweaving of chaining and embedding structures [download coming soon].

In the future I hope to continue my work by working on a dictionary of Dolakha Newar and conducting more extensive research on Northeast Newar, including the development of a comparative lexicon.

Dolakha Village