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Sherpa language

शेर्वी तम्ङे śērwī tamṅē,
ཤར་པའི་སྐད་ཡིག shar pa'i skad yig
Native toNepal, Sikkim, Tibet
Native speakers
170,000 (2001 & 2011 census)[1]
Tibetan, Devanagari
Official status
Official language in
 India (Sikkim)
Language codes
ISO 639-3xsr

Sherpa (also Sharpa, Xiaerba, Sherwa) is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken in Nepal and the Indian state of Sikkim, mainly by the Sherpa. About 200,000 speakers live in Nepal (2001 census), some 20,000 in Sikkim (1997), and some 800 in China (1994).

Days of the week in Sherpa
English Sherpa
Sunday ŋi`ma ( / ŋ / is the sound Ng')
Monday Dawa
Tuesday Miŋma
Wednesday Lakpa
Thursday Phurba
Friday Pasaŋ
Saturday Pemba

The above days of the week are derived from the Tibetan language ("Pur-gae").

Sherpa is a SOV language, written using either the Devanagari or Sambotas script.


Sherpa has the following consonants:[1][dead link]

Bilabial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Postalveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
plain aspirated plain aspirated plain aspirated plain aspirated plain aspirated plain aspirated
Stop voiceless p t̪ʰ ʈ ʈʰ k
voiced b ɖ g
Fricative s ʃ h
Affricate voiceless t͡s t͡sʰ t͡ʃ t͡ʃʰ
voiced d͡z d͡ʒ
Nasal m n ŋ
Approximant w l j
Trill r

Some grammatical aspects of Sherpa are as follows:

  • Nouns are defined by morphology when a bare noun occurs in the genitive and this extends to the noun phrase. Defined by syntactic co-occurrence with the locative clitic, comes first in the noun phrase after demonstratives.
  • Demonstratives are defined syntactically by first position in the NP directly before the noun.
  • Quantifiers: Number words occur last in the noun phrase with the exception of the definite article.
  • Adjectives occur after the noun in the NP and morphologically only take genitive marking when in construct with a noun.
  • Verbs may morphologically be distinguished by differing or suppletive roots for the perfective, imperfective, and imperative. They occur last in a clause before the verbal auxiliaries.
  • Verbal Auxiliaries occur last in a clause.
  • Postpositions occur last in a postpositional NP.
  • Sherpa is a tone language [3]

Other typological features: 1. Split Ergativity based on Aspect 2. SO & OV (SOV) 3. N-A 4. N-Num 5. V-Aux 6. N-Pos


  1. ^ Sherpa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Solu-Khumbu Sherpa". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ "Sherpa". Ethnologue. Retrieved 30 August 2019.

External links