Kham language

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magar kham kura
खाम magar,
Native to Nepal
Region Rapti Zone, Rolpa and Rukum Districts
Dhaulagiri Zone, Baglung District
Ethnicity Kham Magar
Native speakers
27,000 (2011 census)[1]
Official status
Official language in
No official status
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
kif – Eastern Parbate Kham
kgj – Gamale Kham
kip – Sheshi Kham
kjl – Western Parbate Kham
Glottolog kham1286[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Magar kham (Nepali: खाम) (also magar kham bhasha magarkura )—narrowly defined—is a complex of Sino-Tibetan Magaric languages spoken natively in the highlands of the Rolpa and Rukum districts of Rapti and the westernmost part of Baglung district in Dhawalagiri Zone by western clans of the Magar tribe, called collectively Kham Magar or Northern Magars. Randy LaPolla (2003) proposes that Kham magar and Dhut magar may be part of a larger "Rung" group.

More loosely, Nepali speakers west of the Kaligandaki use Kham (etc.) for non-Indic languages indigenous to the Middle Hills and southern parts of the Himalayas. Thus Nepali speakers also subsume with Kham the separate languages Kaike—spoken to the northwest in lower Dolpo—and Chantyal—spoken to

the northeast in Baglung and Myagdi Districts, when in fact these are only distantly related. The Nepali speakers then use the term Bhote (भोटे) for Tibetan varieties spoken in culturally Tibetan borderlands such as upper Dolpo and northern Humla.

Regional varieties

Magar Kham bhasha(magar kura) is the language for eighteen magarat and Magar Dhut bhasha(magar kura) is the language for twelve magarat people.But in the present time most of the people do not speak their language either magar kham language or magar dhut language speaking magar clans,this is burning problem for this magar tribes.There are total seven magar clans and there is no any clan who speak their language more than 60% and their social standard is equal in the society.So this is a heavy problem for all magar language speakers.Their population is in the third rank in total Nepal population and first in the comparison to other aborigenes groups.So they are one of the very powerful caste.


Magar kham has 22 consonants:

Bilabial Alveolar Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
Affricate voiceless t͡s
voiced d͡z
aspirated t͡sʰ
Fricative voiceless s h
voiced z
Rhotic ɾ
Approximant central j w
lateral l
  • The rhotic /ɾ/ is realized as a trill [r] at the end words. Otherwise, it is a flap.


Magar Kham has 25 vowels:

  Front Central Back
unrounded rounded unrounded rounded
short long nasal short long short long nasal short long nasal short long nasal
Close i ĩː y   ɯ ɯː ɯ̃ː u ũː
Mid e ẽː ø øː ə əː ə̃ː   o õː
Open   a ãː  


  • voice register


  1. Eastern Parbate Kham at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Gamale Kham at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Sheshi Kham at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Western Parbate Kham at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Kham". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Kansakar, Tej R. (July 1993), "The Tibeto-Burman Languages of Nepal, A General Survey" (PDF), Contributions to Nepalese Studies, Kirtipur, Nepal: Tribhuvan University, 20 (2): 165–173, retrieved April 10, 2011<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Watters, David E. (2002), A grammar of Kham, Cambridge grammatical descriptions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-81245-3<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>