Honorific Speech: Low Respect

You were briefly told about honorific speech in the lesson ’Honorific Speech: Introduction’. As I told, speech depends on the society that speaks it. As such, there are different ways on how to speak to different people. You don’t use the same level of speech when you talk to your friends as to when you talk with your elders. 


Low-Respect Speech is known as ‘निम्न आदर’ (nimna aadar) in Nepali. Some books also call it as ‘अनादरार्थी’ (anaadaraarthi). Both somewhat translate into as ‘Nil Respect’. You get the idea.

Speech using ‘low respect’ is often seen as being rude, informal, casual etc. Most books do not want you to learn this, because if you speak in this way, it sounds very rude (especially if you don’t know the person you’re speaking to!) It is a crude form of respect. It is often used to provoke a fight or to show dissent, disgust, anger etc.


The element of respect cannot be translated into English. That means, it just looks like an ordinary sentence in English. However, in Nepali, these sentences are devoid of any respect! It would be rude if you use them on someone with trained ears, so you may not try to imitate these sentences on someone like your boss or a stranger. These sentences are not sentences from Phrasebooks! 

(warning: Will contain cuss words and some humour devices, proceed at your own risk)

1. To talk about inanimate objects 

Because you don’t need to show honour towards rocks and trees! Of course, you always have the choice to, but who talks with rocks and trees unless you are on drugs…


त्यो ढुङ्गा ठूलो छ (tyo dhunga thulo cha)

= That rock is big.

2. To provoke a fight

This one seems obvious. You don’t say ’You killed my fiancé, so I humbly request thee to have a fight with me’, well…hope not. You use low respect when you want to pick up an argument or a fight. However, it should be something serious or something like that! Using low respect indicates you are very, very angry! Very strong language, indeed.


म तँलाई कुटेर छोड्छु! (ma talai kutera chodchu)

= I WILL beat you up!

3. Towards people with a social status lower than you (might be offensive)

This one is quite confusing. I wouldn’t talk this way to a person socially ‘inferior’ to me, because it is just disrespectful (at least to me). I think it is better if you just leave it here and opt for ‘Medium Respect’. If you use this towards such people, it expresses a strong (but scary-type) command.


तँ यहाँ आइज (ta yaha aija)

= You come here. [rude]

4. To sound rude and provoking 

If you work for Organized Crime, then you are likely to use this to sound more commanding and authoritative. It is quite effective but of course, not everyone works for government Organized crime. As such, if you speak using low respect ONLY, you might be seen as an arrogant, rude person. [note: The President does not speak this way]


के गर्दै छस् (ke gardai chas)

= What are you doing? 

5. Towards people you hate, dissent etc.

You meet your enemy at the street. Do you greet him or start cussing at him? Certainly not invite him to tea, unless you are planning to poison him/her! But of course, I do not advocate that. Anyway, when you talk about/ to people you do not like, you do not want to show respect, right? So, you use Low Respect in this case. Perfectly acceptable! 


तँ कुकुर, चुप लाग् !  (ta kukur, chup laag)

= You dog, shut the h*ll up!         [Strong language]

6. To display anger, disgust, sweat at someone etc.

Of course, who wants to show anger with honour and elegance. When you are irritated, angry etc. you tend to funnel out your anger using this. This point is somewhat similar to #5.


कस्तो जाँठा रहेछ! (kasto jatha rahecha)

= What an as****e!                         [not literal]

7. At non-human animates (dog, cat) etc.

People do not really use respect when calling their own pets, really! If you start calling your goldfish ’timi’, expect strange looks! You want to call your dog? Use this one instead of moderate respect, because it sounds more natural and native-y. Of course, you can always use whatever you want to use to call your pets. It is not considered rude to use this to your pets. 


टमी, छिट्टो आइज त (tami, chitto aija ta)

= Tommy, come fast, will you?        [Tommy is a stereotypical dog name in Nepal]

8. To show strong command

Low Respect does wonders if you want to express strong command; however the appropriation depends on the situation. If you say this to strangers, elders etc. then they will be very shocked and will take it as an offense. When will you use it then? I used to use it to make my younger brother do errands when I was younger (*wink*). When used to express command, you use it with people who are intimate with you. Like your close friends or your younger brother whom you can make them do a favour for you (*winks vigorously*). Of course, if you use it to strangers, then it is very, very rude. 


त्यो ल्याइदे त! (tyo lyaide ta)

= Bring that one!  

9. To sound casual with close friends

Now this is an interesting part! Close friends prefer using this when conversing with each other. For example, these generic chat phrases between two close friends are completely normal, even though they are rude to a stranger:

kata chas? = Where are you?    

khana khaais? = Had your lunch?

kaile school/ office jaanchas = When will you go to school/ office?

However, you should not talk this way if your ‘friend’ isn’t close. Usually, men (when speaking to other men) use low respect more, because it sounds ‘harsher’ and more ‘masculine’. It is also casual and natural if used as such. However, most females and males (when speaking to other females) do not use this, preferring the ‘Mid-Respect’ tier instead. Maybe they want to look polite and ‘charming’?



Some obvious situations where it should not be used:

1. To talk to/about seniors, parents, elders etc.

It is unspoken rule to use honorifics when you talk to or about your seniors, elders, parents etc. Not doing so is very disrespectful and rude. You many not want to speak this way to them! 

Inappropriate Sentence towards your Elder:

सञ्चै छस् ? (sancha chas)

= Fine?  [extremely rude]

2. Towards people with a high status than you in society/hierarchy 

Like your boss or not, you have to speak politely to them. Teachers, mentors count too. For example, the following sentence is VERY inappropriate to tell to your boss:

तैले खाना खाइस् ? (taile khana khais)

= Took your lunch?   [rude]

3. Towards employers, customers etc.  

You do not want to shoo off potential customers or get sacked by employers, do you? Enough said.


यो समान किनिस् भने राम्रो हुन्छ (yo saman kinis bhane ramro huncha)

= If you buy this, it will be good.      [rude]

4. In situations requiring humility, respect etc.

It means, you should not talk roughly in situations where humility or politeness is expected.


नमस्ते गुरुमा, तैले प्रश्नपत्र बनाइस् ? (namaste guruma, taile prashnapatra banais)

= Salutations, did you make the question paper?  [rude]

5. In formal writings 

Formal writings tends to focus more on humility. As such, you will usually not find low respect used in formal writings. It is not incorrect, it is just inappropriate. Very. 

News Reporter: १ जना मर्यो रे!  (ek jana maryo re)

= One person died, it seems!   [inappropriate]

6. Towards people you do not know

This one is a no-brainer! You should NEVER talk with strangers in this way. It is not only rude, it is very offensive! How would you feel if someone unknown came up to you and started to swear at you? You would feel bad, right? In Nepali, the respect is encoded in the words itself, so certain words are better to use in different situations. Long explaination short, you should not talk with strangers this way. Of course, once you’ve known each other quite well, who’s stopping from speaking casually, right? *wink*



Low Respect Speech contains words which denote low respect only. That means, these words are extensively low-respect branching. Use of such words, like mixing it with other forms of respect is usually incorrect. Some of the commonly used words are:

1. All swear words  [Eg. साले (sale)]

All swear words denote no form of respect. 

2. Pronouns like: तँ (ta)

तँ (ta) is a 2nd Person Pronoun, which denotes the least respect among the trio of 2nd Person Pronouns in Nepali. 

3. Some Verbs like: घिच्नु (ghichnu /to eat/)

This is an interesting word! The word घिच्नु (ghichnu) means ‘to eat’ but how does it differ from खानु (khanu)? The word ghichnu is an extremely vulgar version of ’to eat’. It is something like ‘To pig out’. If you ’ghich’ something, it means you pigged it out. If someone ’ghich’ something, then that person pigged it out. Anyway, it is the vulgar version of ‘khanu’ and hence, you cannot say ‘घिच्नुहोस्’ (ghichnuhos), because it sounds weird.


That’s all about Low Respect Honorifics! If you feel like some things needs to be amended or expanded, feel free to tell. I don’t really think I did justice to this lesson, but the final decision lies on your hands.