Language and Ethnicity


Communication plays a vital role in shaping one’s culture and culture is itself a communication. Bhutan has several languages and each is unique in their own ways. Dzongkha, which seems an auxiliary of the Tibetan language, is Bhutan’s national language. The written Dzongkha shares the Tibetan alphabets. Other popular dialects are tshanglakha (or Sharchokpa kha) which is spoken by the people in the east, lotshamkha by the people in the southern foothills and bumthap kha, mangduep kha and khengkha by the people in the central parts of Bhutan.


Bhutanese people can be generally categorized into three main ethnic groups. The Tshanglas, Ngalops and the Lhotshampas. The other minority groups are the Bumthaps and the Khengpas of Central Bhutan, the Kurtoeps in Lhuentse, the Brokpas and the Bramis of Merak and Sakteng in eastern Bhutan, the Doyas of Samtse and the Monpas of Rukha villages in Wangdue Phodrang. Together the multiethnic Bhutanese population number slightly more than 6,00,000.

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