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Far Western Nepali / Dotyali

The varieties of Nepali spoken in the hills of Far Western Nepal are significantly different from the language spoken in the eastern two-thirds of the country and from the related literary standard. Far Western Nepali varieties have elements in common, whose precise description and geographical distributions remain to be established, but also show considerable variation between dialects, which are often identified by names corresponding to administrative districts, e.g. "Baitaḍeli", "Ḍoṭyāli", etc., but in fact may differ down to the village level. There is far greater dialectal variety in the Nepali of this region, and of the western third of Nepal generally, than elsewhere in Nepal.

To approach the study of a spoken variety of the region, a few recordings of folktales and of daily conversation were made in the area of Achham District around Kamal Bajaar (villages of Bajuḍa, Dungala, and Chalsa) in the course of the project. Although a thorough study could not be realized, some of the recorded texts were annotated and some preliminary grammatical notes were prepared by the linguist Boyd Michailovsky with the indispensable help of Mr Bharat Kumar Saud, of Chalsa, a M.A. student in Nepali literature at Tribhuvan University. Mr Prem Bahadur Shahi of Kalikot and Surkhet aided in transcription and translation.

A short bibliography of more complete and authoritative studies of western and far western varieties by Nepali scholars will be made available on this site. Extensive bibliographies may be found in these works, and in particular in an out-of-print book on a dialect of the Bheri Valley by Dr. Jivendradev Giri of Tribhuvan University, who has kindly permitted us to scan it and to make it available here.


As of 2012, the term "Dotyali" (code: dty) is recognized in the ISO 639-3 standard for language names and codes with the broad sense of "Far Western Nepali" as used here. According to this standard, the "macrolanguage" term "Nepali" (code: nep) covers the "individual" languages Dotyali (dty) and Nepali (npi). Any variety of Nepali may be identified either as "nep" (the only code recognized by ISO 639-2), or by the "individual" language identifier.