Language Contexts

Language Contexts: Syuba, also known as Kagate (Nepal)



Syuba is a Tibeto-Burman language of the Central Bodic group spoken in the Ramechhap district of Nepal, and has long been known by the exonym Kagate. Syuba is part of the larger group of Yolmo dialects, and is mutually intelligible with the majority of them, however many Syuba speakers consider their variety to be a separate language. This paper provides an overview of the Syuba language and the community of Syuba speakers. I begin by tracing the history of Syuba speakers (Section 2), focusing on their migration away from the Melamchi Valley. I then look at the relationship of Syuba to Yolmo and other Tibetic varieties (Section 3) as well as the current state of Syuba language use (Section 4). I then outline the contemporary linguistic neighbourhood of the Syuba in Ramechhap (Section 5). This is followed by a discussion of the use of the names Syuba and Kagate by this community (Section 6) and an overview of key literature on Syuba (Section 7). This is followed by a discussion of social features that illustrate the relationship between the Syuba community and other Yolmo groups, or are relevant to ongoing language maintenance (Section 8).

Keywords: Tibeto-Burman languages, Syuba, Kagate, Nepal, Yolmo dialects, language maintenance

How to Cite: Gawne, L. (2017) “Language Contexts: Syuba, also known as Kagate (Nepal)”, Language Documentation and Description. 13(0). doi: