Sikkim has 11 official languages: Nepali (which is its lingua franca),
Sikkimese, Hindi, Lepcha, Tamang, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung, Magar, Sunwar and English. English is taught in schools and used in government documents.
The Sikkimese language, also called “Sikkimese Tibetan”, “Bhutia”, “Drenjongké” (Tibetan: འབྲས་ལྗོངས་སྐད་, Wylie: ‘bras ljongs skad” Rice Valley language”), Dranjoke, Denjongka, Denzongpeke, and Denzongke, belongs to the Southern Tibetic languages. It is spoken by the Bhutia in Sikkim and northeast Nepal. The Sikkimese people refer to their own language as Drendzongké and their homeland as Drendzong (Tibetan: འབྲས་ལྗོངས་, Wylie: ‘bras-ljongs; “Rice Valley”)
Nepali is spoken in certain parts of India, particularly by Indian Gorkha. In India,
Nepali is the major languages spoken in Sikkim as per the census 2001. Nepali is listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India having an official status in the Indian State of Sikkim and in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district. Nepali is mainly differentiated from Central Pahari, both in grammar and vocabulary, by Tibeto-Burman idioms owing to close contact with the respective language group. Nepali language shares 40% lexical similarity with the Bengali language.
Historically, the language was first called the Khas language (Khas kurā), then Gorkhali or Gurkhali (language of the Gorkha Kingdom) before the term Nepali was coined. Other names include Parbatiya (“mountain language”, identified with the Parbatiya people of Nepal and India.
Lepcha language, or Róng language ( Lepcha :; Róng ríng), is a Himalayish language spoken by the Lepcha people in Sikkim and parts of West Bengal, Nepal and Bhutan.
Gurung (also, Tamu Kyi, Devanagari : तमु क्यी) is spoken by the Gurung people in two dialects with limited mutual intelligibility.
Limbu is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken in Nepal, India (Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Sikkim, Assam, and Nagaland), Bhutan, Burma, Thailand, UK, Hong Kong, Canada, and USA. It is falsely believed that Limbus/Yakthungs are multi-lingual, but there are hundred and/or thousand of Yakthungs who speak only in Yakthungpan (Limbu language). Limbus refer to themselves as Yakthung and their language as Yakthungpan.
Yakthungpan has four main dialects such as Phedape, Chhathare, Tambarkhole, and Panthare dialects. The theoretical concept of four major Yakthungpan dialects is much more ideological because scholars, writers, and linguists have not yet done scientific research on the Yakthungpan, spoken in Sikkim, Bhutan, Assam, Burma, and Thailand. Meaning, there can be definitely more than four Yakthungpan dialects. To officially announce that there are only four major major Yakthung dialects is a blindspot of ideological and political thinking without doing proper research in other Yakthungpan speaking communities such as in India, Bhutan, and Thailand (and even beyond).
Among four dialects and/or many dialects, Phedape dialect is widely spoken and well understood by most Yakthungpan speakers. However, as there are some dominant Panthare scholars who have role to create knowledge and control knowledge in the Limbu communities, Panthare dialect is being popularized as a “standard” Limbu language. As Panthare Yakthungs are much more engaged in central political position and administrative positions, they are trying to introduce Panthare dialect as a Standard Yakthungpan.
Yakthungpan (Limbu language) is one of the major languages spoken and written in Nepal, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Sikkim, Bhutan, Burma, and Thailand. Today, linguists have reached the conclusion that Yakthungpan resembles Tibetan and Lepcha.
Before the introduction of Sirijanga script among Limbu Kiratas, Rong script was popular in East Nepal specially in early Maurong state. Sirijanga script had almost disappeared for 800 years and it was brought into practice again by Tey-Angsi Sirijunga Xin Thebeof Tellok Sinam.
Magar (Nepali: मगर भाषा Dhut magar bhasa) is a language spoken mainly in Nepal, Southern Bhutan, Darjeeling, India, and Sikkim, India, by the Magar people. It is divided into two groups (Eastern and Western) and further dialect divisions give distinct tribal identity.
Newar or Newari, also known as Nepal Bhasa (नेपाल भाषा), is spoken as a native language by the Newar people, the indigenous inhabitants of Nepal Mandala, which consists of the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding regions. Outside Nepal, Newar is spoken in India, particularly in Sikkim, where it is one of eleven official languages.
Although “Nepal Bhasa” literally means “Nepalese language”, the language is not the same as Nepali (Nepali: नेपाली), the country’s current official language. The two languages belong to different language families (Sino-Tibetan and Indo-Aryan, 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 centuries. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Newar has suffered from official suppression. From 1952 to 1991, the percentage of the population in the Kathmandu Valley speaking Newar dropped from 75% to 44%, and Newar culture and language are under threat. The language has been listed as being “definitely endangered” by UNESCO.
The Kiranti languages (also called Bahing–Vayu in the terminology of Benedict (1972)) are a major family of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in Nepal, Sikkim and Darjeeling Hills by the Kiranti people.
Or Kõits (कोँइच; kõica; other spellings are Koinch and Koincha) is a Kiranti language spoken in Nepal by the Sunwar people. It was first comprehensively attested by the Himalayan Languages Project. It is also known as Kõits Lo (कोँइच लो ;kõica lo), Kiranti-Kõits (किराँती-कोँइच ; kirā̃tī-kõica), Mukhiya (मुखिया ; mukhiyā).
Tamang ( Devanagari : तामाङ; tāmāng)
Tamang is a term used to collectively refer to a dialect cluster spoken mainly in Nepal, Sikkim, West Bengal (Mainly Darjeeling Districts – पश्चिम बङ्गाल राज्यको दार्जीलिङ जिल्लाको बिभिन्न भूभाग), Some parts of Assam and North East Region. It comprises Eastern Tamang, Northwestern Tamang, Southwestern Tamang, Eastern Gorkha Tamang, and Western Tamang.
Indian English is any of the forms of English characteristic of the Indian subcontinent. English has slowly become one of the lingua francas of the Indian subcontinent (including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka), and is the language of their cultural and political elites, offering significant economic, political, and social advantage to fluent speakers.
Though English is one of the two official languages of the Union Government of India, only a few hundred thousand Indians have English as their first language. According to the 2005 India Human Development Survey, of the 41,554 surveyed households reported that 72 percent of men (29,918) did not speak any English, 28 percent (11,635) spoke at least some English, and 5 percent (2,077, roughly 17.9% of those who spoke at least some English) spoke fluent English. Among women, the corresponding percentages were 83 percent (34,489) speaking no English, 17 percent (7,064) speaking at least some English, and 3 percent (1,246, roughly 17.6% of those who spoke at least some English) speaking English fluently. According to statistics of District Information System for Education (DISE) of National University of Educational Planning and Administration under Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, enrollment in English-medium schools increased by 50% between 2008–09 and 2013-14. The number of English-medium school students in India increased from over 1.5 crore (15 million) in 2008-09 to 2.9 crore (29 million) by 2013-14. In December 2015, theSupreme Court of India ruled that English is the only court language.
Indian English generally uses the Indian numbering system. Idiomatic forms derived from Indian literary languages and vernaculars have been absorbed into Indian English. Nevertheless, there remains general homogeneity in phonetics, vocabulary, and phraseology between variants of the Indian English dialect
Hindi (Hindi: हिन्दी hindī), sometimes spelled हिंदी, also called Modern Standard
Hindi (Hindi: मानक हिन्दी mānak hindī), is astandardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language. Hindi is an official language of the Union of India, and the lingua franca of the Hindi belt languages.
In the 2001 Indian census, 258 million people in India reported Hindi to be their native language. However, this number includes tens of millions of people who are native speakers of related languages but who consider their speech to be a dialect of Hindi.
Hindi is the fourth-most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish and English.