Languages of Sikkim

About Sikkim

Sikkim has been given many names. The Lepchas, original inhabitants of the land called it Nye-mae-el `paradise’. The Limbus named it Su Khim or `new house’ while to the Bhutias it was Beymul Demazong `the hidden valley of rice’.

Today, travelers embarking on a journey of Sikkim discover a mystical wonderland of spectacular natural beauty. The panoramic perfection of the snow-capped Himalayas, the heady scent of flower-bedecked meadows, the vibrant culture and joyous festivals, the infinite variety of its flora and fauna makes it a holiday that is at once fascinating and challenging.

The crowning glory of Sikkim is Mt. Khangchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world. With magnificent snow and ice scenery it is often regarded as the undisputed monarch among the peaks of the world. But for the Sikkimese Khangchendzonga is much more than a mountain and is revered as the abode of their guardian deity Dzo-nga.

About Sikkim Language  

It is traditionally accepted that the Lepchas are the autochthonous tribe of Sikkim. After them came the Bhutias, from Tibet, followed by the Nepalese and finally the Indian business community from the plains. However, before one goes into the ethnic composition of Sikkim, it needs to be said that the Sikkimese, irrespective of the tribe, class or community they belong to, are essentially simple folk. Like most hill-tribes, the Sikkimese are thus far relatively untouched by consumerism. Cliched though it may sound, the Sikkimese truly exemplify how different communities can exemplify how different communities can coexist in peace and mutual

Sikkim is a multi-lingual state, where people of many communities reside harmoniously. Nepali can be termed as the most spoken language in Sikkim. However, English is also frequently used, though it is mainly spoken in municipal areas. Hindi, the national language of India, is also spoken at many places in the state. Besides these languages, there are numerous local dialects in Sikkim. Out of these dialects, Tibetan, Bhutia and Lepcha language are significant.

Lepcha language is generally spoken by the Lepchas, though the dialect is not used to a great extent in Sikkim. The Bhutias commonly speak ‘Sikkimese’ language and the dialect dominates the state in minority. The Nepalese, being in majority, dominates the major part of Sikkim with their dialect. The people, who migrated from Tibet, have joined the hoard of Lepchas and Bhutias; yet old people speak the language. English is used especially for official matters; nonetheless Hindi is spoken and understood by the maximum number of people.

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