Magar language

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ढुट मगर
Native toNepal, India
Ethnicity1.9 million Magar people (2011 census of Nepal)[1]
Native speakers
840,000 (2001–2006)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
mgp – Eastern Magar
mrd – Western Magar
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Dhut magar (Nepali: ढुट मगर, Template:IPA-ne) is a language spoken mainly in Nepal, Southern Bhutan, and in Darjeeling and Sikkim, India, by the Magar people. It is divided into two groups (Eastern and Western) and further dialect divisions give distinct tribal identity.[3] In Nepal 788,530 people speak the language.

While the government of Nepal developed Magar language curricula, as provisioned by the constitution, the teaching materials have never successfully reached Magar schools, where most school instruction is in the Nepali language.[4] It is not unusual for groups with their own language to feel that the "mother-tongue" is an essential part of identity.

Dhut Magar language is sometimes lumped with Kham Magar language spoken further west in Bheri, Dhaulagiri, and Rapti zones. Although the two languages share many common words, they have major structural differences and are not mutually intelligible.[5]

Geographical distribution

Western Magar

Western Magar (dialects: Palpa and Syangja) is spoken in the following districts of Nepal (Ethnologue).

Eastern Magar

Eastern Magar (dialects: Gorkha, Nawalparasi, and Tanahu) is spoken in the following districts of Nepal (Ethnologue).



Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless p * t k [ʔ]
aspirated t̪ʰ*
voiced b * d ɡ
murmured d̪ʱ* ɡʱ
Affricate voiceless t͡s
aspirated t͡sʰ
voiced d͡z
murmured d͡zʱ
Fricative voiceless s h
voiced ɦ
Nasal voiced m n ŋ
murmured ŋʱ
Lateral voiced l
Approximant voiced w ɹ j
murmured ɹʱ

*-only occur in the Tanahu dialect.

[ʔ] is only a marginal phoneme.[6]

Phoneme Allophones
/p/ [p̚]
/pʰ/ [ɸ]
/t/ [tʲ], [t̚], [ʈ]
/tʰ/ [θ]
/d/ [dʲ], [ɖ], [ɽ]
/k/ [kʲ], [k̚]
/kʰ/ [x]
/ɡ/ [ɡʲ]
/t͡s/ [t͡ʃ]
/t͡sʰ/ [t͡ʃʰ]
/dz/ [dʒ]
/d͡zʱ/ [d͡ʒʱ]
/s/ [ʃ]
/h/ [ɦ]
/n/ [nʲ]
/ŋ/ [ŋʲ]


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a


Phoneme Allophones
/i/ [i] [ɪ] [i̤] [i̤ː] [ĩ]
/e/ [e] [ɛ] [ẽ] [e̤] [e̤ː]
/a/ [ä] [æ] [ä̃] [äˑ] [ä̤] [ä̤ː]
/u/ [u] [ʊ] [u̟] [ṳ] [ṳː] [ũ]
/ʌ/ [ʌ] [ə] [ə̃] [ʌ̤] [ʌ̃]
/o/ [o] [o̟] [õ] [oˑ] [o̤] [o̤ː]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Eastern Magar at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Western Magar at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. "50th Report of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities in India" (PDF). 16 July 2014. p. 109. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 January 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  3. "The Eastern Magar of Nepal". Archived from the original on 18 March 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  4. B. K. Rana. "Mother Tongue Education for Social Inclusion and Conflict Resolution". Appeals, News and Views from Endangered Communities. Foundation for Endangered Languages. Archived from the original on 16 February 2003. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  5. Kansakar, Tej R. (July 1993). "The Tibeto-Burman Languages of Nepal - A General Survey" (PDF). Contributions to Nepalese Studies. 20 (2): 165–173. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Grunow-Hårsta, Karen A. (2008). A descriptive grammar of two Magar dialects of Nepal: Tanahu and Syangja Magar. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. pp. 32–67.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)

Further reading

  • Nishi 西, Yoshio 義郎 (1992e). "マガル語" [Magar, (LSI) Māgarī, Magar, Mangar]. In 亀井 Kamei, 孝 Takashi; 河野 Kōno, 六郎 Rokurō; 千野 Chino, 栄一 Eichi (eds.). 三省堂言語学大辞典 The Sanseido Encyclopaedia of Linguistics (in 日本語). Vol. 4. Tokyo: 三省堂 Sanseido Press. pp. 28a–40b. ISBN 4385152128.
  • Shepherd, Gary, and Barbara Shepherd. A Vocabulary of the Magar Language. Comparative vocabularies of languages of Nepal. Kirtipur: Summer Institute of Linguistics [and] Institute of Nepal Studies, Tribhuvan University, 1972.
  • Shepherd, Gary, and Barbara Shepherd. Magar Phonemic Summary. Tibeto-Burman phonemic summaries, 8. Kirtipur: Summer Institute of Linguistics, Tribhuvan University, 1971.

External links

Template:Greater Magaric languages Template:Languages of Nepal