Their Kumaoni language forms the Central subgroup of the Pahari languages.
Kumaoni is one of the 325 recognized Indian languages, and is spoken by over 2,360,000 (1998) people in Uttarakhand, primarily in districts Almora, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Champawat, Udham Singh Nagar as well as in areas of Himachal Pradesh and Nepal. It is also spoken by Kumaonis resident in other Indian states; Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.
UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger designates Kumaoni as language in the “unsafe” category and which requires consistent conservation efforts.
Dialects of Kumaoni language
Although dialects of Kumaoni do not vary as greatly as neighboring Garhwali dialects, there are several dialects spoken in the Kumaon region. There is not single accepted method of dividing up the dialects of Kumaoni. Broadly speaking, Kali (or Central) Kumaoni is spoken in Almora and northern Nainital. North-eastern Kumaoni is spoken in Pithoragarh. South-eastern Kumapni is spoken in South-eastern Nainital. Western Kumaoni is spoken west of Almora and Nainital.
Johari of the Johar Valley
Askoti of Askot
Bhabhri of Ramnagar
Chaugarkhiyali of Chaugarkha
Danpuriya of Danpur
Gangoli of Ganai-Gangoli (Gangolihat)
Johari of Malla and Talla Johar
Khasparjiya of Almora
Kumaiya of Champawat
Pachhai of Pali-Pachhau (Ranikhet, Dwarahat)
Phaldakotiya of Phaldkot
Sirali of Sirakot (Didihat)
Soriyali of Sor Valley (Pithoragarh)
Bautadi of Baitada, Darchula and parts of Bajhang District in Nepal
Dotiyali of Doti
Scholars blelieve that Kumaoni has heavily influenced the Palpa language of Nepal. There are also several unrelated Tibeto-Burman languages spoken in the Kumaon region which have had some influence from Kumaoni.
Rang or Rung
These languages are typically spoken in Upper Reaches of Kumaon Himalayas.
With the aim to create a common platform for local communities of Supi in Uttarakhand, TERI launched ‘Kumaon vani’, a community radio service on 11 March 2010. Uttarakhand Governor Margaret Alva inaugurated the community radio station, the first in the state. The ‘Kumaon Vani’ aims to air programmes on environment, agriculture, culture, weather and education in the local language and with the active participation of the communities. The radio station covers a radius of 10 km reaching out to almost 2000 locals around Mukhteshwar