The language spoken in Nepal is known as Nepali or Nepalese (नेपाली). It's roots lie in Indo/ Aryan history. It's written in Devanagari script, such as Hindi and Sanskrit are.
There are over 120 languages spoken in Nepal! However over two thirds of Nepal speak Nepali (Gorkhali) with the rest being made up variations such as Nepalese Bhasa.
Over 35% of the people in Bhutan speak Nepali. They are mainly located in the south. Due to an ethnic cleansing campaign in Bhutan in the 1980's over 100,000 were forced to leave. Many ended up in refugee camps in Eastern Nepal.
There are over 1, 400,000 Nepali speakers in North East India.
For the tourist to Nepal English is relatively well spoken in the main tourist areas. Most guesthouse in large cities and travel agents all speak English. Getting around is no problem.
However learning some basic phrases of Nepali is a great way to show respect and further your enjoyment when visiting Nepal.
It also ensures you know how to politely decline more food or local drinks! Best of all, basic Nepali is relatively easy to learn.
|What is your name?
||Tapaiko naam ke ho?
|My name is .....
||Mero naam___ ho
| How are you?
||Timlai sanchai cha?
| Thank you.
||Chaina or Haina
| Do you speak English?
||Tapaai Angreji bolnuhunchha?
| I don't understand.
| Where is the toilet?
||Toilet kata cha?
| How do I get to ___
||___ kasari jhaane?
| Straight ahead
| I'm lost
| Get lost! / Go away!
||Yaha bata haat!
| How much is this?
||Yes ko kati parchha?
| Do you have rooms available?
||K tapai sanga kunau kotha upalabda cha?
| I'm a vegetarian.
||Ma masu kandina
| I don't eat pork
||Ma bangoor khaadina
There are a few basic free Nepalese language courses/phrases to download that are quite good.
The first is from WorldNomads and the direct MP3 download is here. They also have an iphone app here.
There's a basic online Nepali course offered by Cornell here
Finally for those looking for something more intensive, expats or volunteers wanting to learn Nepali here's a 300+ page Nepalese language course.
There is also an extensive Nepalese online language resource located here.
If you are harassed by street kids simply put a hand up, keep walking and say Chaina or Haina (no). Making a fuss or saying some rude will only aggravate them.
Learning the basic numbers if you want to bargain in markets is important.
Downloading the MP3 Nepali phrases above and listening to them on your flight to Nepal or on a bus is a great way to get started.
If you are on a short stay holiday or vacation the chances are you'll be surrounded by Nepalese people who speak good English. Learning please and thank you in Nepali will work wonders on many an occasion!
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