Concept

Newar language

Summary
Newar (nəˈwɑːr) or Newari, known officially in Nepal as Nepal Bhasa, is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken by the Newar people, the indigenous inhabitants of Nepal Mandala, which consists of the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding regions in Nepal. "Nepal Bhasa" literally means "Nepalese language"; however, the language is not the same as Nepali (Devanāgarī: नेपाली), the country's current official language of the central government. The two languages belong to different language families (Sino-Tibetan and Indo-European, respectively), but centuries of contact have resulted in a significant body of shared vocabulary. Newar was Nepal's administrative language from the 14th to the late 18th century. From the early 20th century until democratisation, Newar suffered from official suppression. From 1952 to 1991, the percentage of Newar speakers in the Kathmandu Valley dropped from 75% to 44% and today Newar culture and language are under threat. The language has been listed as being "Definitely endangered language" by UNESCO. The name Nepal Bhasa, which literally means Nepal Language, originates from Nepal Mandala. Until 1960s, the Kathmandu Valley was known as Nepal Valley or Nepa Valley. A government report from 1961 describes the valley being grouped as Kathmandu District, which is different from today's Kathmandu District, marks the commencement of referring the valley as Kathmandu Valley. The term Nepa Valley is still used among Newa population and local governments, while senior citizens still tend to refer the valley as Nepal. A larger region surrounding the valley is known as Nepal Mandala. Therefore, the language spoken in Nepal Valley and Nepal Mandala became known as Nepal Bhasa. The earliest occurrences of the name Nepālabhāṣā (Devanāgarī: नेपालभाषा) or Nepālavāc (Devanāgarī: नेपालवाच) can be found in the manuscripts of a commentary to the Nāradasaṃhitā, dated 1380 AD, and a commentary to the Amarkośa, dated 1386 AD. Since then, the name has been used widely on inscriptions, manuscripts, documents and books.
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