Tharu languages

(not a linguistic group)
Native to Nepal, India
Ethnicity Tharu (incl. Bhoksa)
Native speakers
1.53 million in Nepal (2011 census)[1]
400,000 or more in India (1997–2007)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Tharuban of Nepal
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
thl  Dangaura Tharu
tkt  Kathoriya Tharu
thr  Rana Tharu
the  Chitwania Tharu
thq  Kochila Tharu
tkb  Buksa Tharu
soi  Sonha
Glottolog thar1284[2]

The Tharu (Tharu: थारु, Hindi: थरुवा) or Tharuhat (Nepali: थरुहट) languages are any of the Indo-Aryan languages spoken by the Tharu people of the Terai region in Nepal, and neighboring regions of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India.

Although their own precise classification within Indo-Aryan remains uncertain, Tharu languages have superficial similarities with neighbouring languages such as Awadhi, Maithili, and Bhojpuri. Moreover, the lexicon of certain Tharu households is indicative of an archaic, 'indigenous' substratum, potentially predating both Sino-Tibetan or Indo-Aryan settlement. Moreover, Tharu languages appear to be transitional within the context of Indo-Aryan. [3]

Chitwania Tharu is spoken by approximately 250,000 speakers east of the Gandaki River, in and around the Chitwan Valley. Chitwania, as a whole, has superficial similarities with Awadhi. Nevertheless, certain Chitwania variants appear to have considerable lexical similarities with Manchad, a Sino-Tibetan language.[4]

Dangaura, Rana, and Buksa refer to a triumvirate of mutually-intelligible Tharu variants spoken west of the Gandaki River, spoken by approximately 1.3 million people. Furthermore, an additional variant of Tharu, known as Sonha, is largely mutually intelligible with Dangauru.

Kochila, a diverse Tharu variant, is also spoken by approximately 250,000 people, in regions of eastern Nepal. Many ethnic Kochila have adopted Maithili.


  1. 1 2 Dangaura Tharu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Kathoriya Tharu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Rana Tharu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Chitwania Tharu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Kochila Tharu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Buksa Tharu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    (Additional references under 'Language codes' in the information box)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Tharuic". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity
  4. George van Driem, 2007, "Endangered languages of South Asia", in Matthias Brenzinger, Mouton de Gruyter
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