Nepali is the official language of Nepal. It's related to Hindi, Punjabi, and other Indo-Aryan languages, and is normally written with the Devanagari script (as is Hindi). While most Nepalese people speak at least some Nepali, it is not the mother tongue of a large percentage of the population. An example of other languages spoken in Nepal are Tharu around Chitwan, Newari in the Kathmandu Valley, and Sharwa (Sherpa) in the Everest area.
Educated Nepalis can often speak English, because of the popularity of boarding school as public school can not compete for quality education. Learning even a few words of Nepali can be fun and very useful, especially outside of the tourist district and while trekking.
There are lots words of borrowed from other languages, especially English, so most of the Nepali people understand these words rather then its literal meaning in Nepali e.g. coat, TV, breakfast,basket etc.
h A superscript "h" indicates that the proceeding consonant is aspirated. "Aspiration" just means that the sound involves a more forceful breath. At first it will sound like everyone around you is always on the verge of laughing -- "c -ha!- t" "d -ha!- og!" For now it's just important to remember that "th" is not the "th" sound in "that" -- there is no "th" sound in Nepali.
n A superscript "n" indicates that the proceeding vowel is nasal. To the English-speaking ear (don't try to visualize that too hard) nasalized vowels just sound like they are followed by a "n." Listen to yourself say words like "injury," "animal," and "young."
! The trickiest sound for non-natives are the "retroflex" consonants. Usually they are represented by a dot under the letter or by bold text, but I find that too easy to overlook so I'm using an exclamation mark. The retroflex consonants are what make an "Indian accent" sound "Indian." Think of Apu the Kwik E Mart owner, from the Simpsons, then:
Find your tongue
Find the inside of your mouth
Use your tongue to poke at the roof of your mouth
Notice there's a kind of ridge behind your top teeth
Curl your tongue so that the bottom of the tip is touching this ridge
Look in a mirror
Do you see the gross bottom of your tongue? Good!
Now say "Doh!" like Homer
Now find someone you know who can make the sound and have them show you
All the Nepali words you'll see here are written in "Roman Transliteration" -- which just means using the Roman alphabet to try and represent sounds in the Nepali alphabet (which isn't really an "alphabet" per se, but that's another conversation).
In English we use a combination of letters to represent different sounds, so the "a" in "father" is different from the "a" in "made" or "bat". In the transliteration of Nepali, one letter pretty much equals one sound. There are no silent "q"s or "k"s or "e"s. K-n-i-e-f is "K-nief," m-a-d-e is "ma-de," etc.
Consonants, with the exception of the aspirated and retroflex variety are pretty much what you'd expect.
like 'a' in "apple",
like 'a' in "made", but longer
'e' in "bed"
like the 'y' in "Johnney"
like 'o' in "top"
like 'oo' in "coop"
like 'b' in "bed"
like 'b' in "bed," but with an extra puff of air, like "Bhuh-ed"
like 'ch' in "chat"
like 'd' in "dog"
like 'd' in "dog" but with an extra puff of air, like "Dhuh-og"
like 'f' in "frog"
like 'g' in "go"
like 'g' in "go" but with an extra puff of air "gh
like 'h' in "help" (often silent in the UK and other Commonwealth countries)
like 'dg' in "edge"
like 'c' in "cat"
like 'l' in "love"
like 'm' in "mother"
like 'n' in "nice"
like 'p' in "pig"
like 'q' in "quest" (with "u", almost always)
like 'r' in "row", like 'r' in "feather" (often silent in the UK and other Commonwealth countries at end of word)
like 'ss' in "hiss"
like 't' in "top"
at the beginning of a word, somewhere between the "v" in "vice" and "w" in "wives." In the middle of a word somewhere between the "v" in "vice" and the "b" in "bike." Spelling-wise, these are interchangable ("Shiva-Shiba" "Vishnu"-"Wishnu"). Err on the side of a "v" sound.
I Love you
Ma timilai maya garchu.
How are you?
Sanchai cha? (San-chai-CHA?) or Kasto cha? (Kas-tow CHA?)
Fine, thank you.
Sanchai cha,Dhanyabaad. (San-chai-CHA) or Ramro cha. (Ram-row CHA)
What is your name?
Hajur ko naam ke ho? (ha-jur ko na-m k ho?) or Tapai ko naam ke ho? (ta-pai ko na-m kay-ho?)
My name is ______ .
Meero naam ______ ho. (MAY-ro na-m _____ ho.)
indicated by using the polite form
Hajur. (HA-jur) or Ho. (HO)
Chaina. (Chai-NA) or Haina. (Hai-Na)
Excuse me. (getting attention)
Excuse me. (begging pardon)
maaf garnus. (MA-af-GAR-nus)
ma maafi chahanchu.
I only speak a little Nepali
ma ali-ali Nepali bolchu . (Ma all-ee all-ee nee-pa-li bowl-chu )
K ma hajur ko Phone prayog garna sakchu? (K ma ha-jur ko phone pra-yog gar-na sak-chu?)
ek saye (A-kh sai-ya)
dwi saye (Du-ee sai-ya)
tin saye (Tee-n sai-ya)
ek hazar (A-kh Ha-zar)
dwi hazar (Du-ee Ha-zar)
ek lakh (A-kh la-kh)
dus lakh (Daa-ss la-kh)
number _____ (train, bus, etc.)
number _____ (...)
one o'clock AM
bihana ko ek baje (...)
two o'clock AM
bihana ko dui baje (...)
one o'clock PM
diuso ko ek baje (...)
two o'clock PM
diuso ko dui baje (...)
_____ minute(s) (...)
_____ ghanta(haru) (gh-n-ta)
_____ din(haru) (dee-n)
_____ haptaa(haru) (hap-ta)
_____ mahina(haru) (maa-hee-na)
_____ barsa(haru) (ba-r-sha)
yo hapta(yo hap-ta)
asti ko hapta(as-ti ko hap-ta)
arko hapta(ar-ko hap-ta)
The Nepali Calendar, called Bikram Sambat or B.S., is a lunar calendar based on ancient Hindu tradition. It is roughly 57 years ahead of the Gregorian calendar (the year 2000 AD was equivalent to the years 2056-2057 BS). The beginning of the year usually falls on the 13th or 14th of April. Therefore, the months are not compatible with the Gregorian calendar.
Writing Time and Date
Give some examples how to write clock times and dates if it differs from Enlish.