You now know how to greet someone in Nepali. Nepali is a language spoken in Nepal, India, and other places, and is the lingua franca and the official language of Nepal. Nepal is a small country located between India and China, and is home to the highest mountain in the world, the Mount Everest. Nepali is a fascinating language with a rich cultural heritage, and learning it will open doors to understanding Nepali literature, music, and traditions.
As you start your journey of learning Nepali, you’ll discover that it’s a language full of warmth and friendliness. Nepali people are known for their hospitality, and speaking their language is a sure way to make new friends and connect with the local community.
So let’s get ready to explore the beauty of Nepali, learn new phrases, and immerse yourself in a new culture. Let’s dive in!
FAMILY AND HISTORY
There are more than a thousand languages in the world. However, many of them share features with each other. This allows us to group them into categories called families. Just like how societies evolve, languages evolve over time as well. The same language now will be very different a hundred years from now, even if we still call it by its name; like people, languages constantly evolve, change and adapt according to needs and time.
Nepali is an Indo-Aryan language belonging to the Indo-European family. This family includes many languages spoken across the Indian subcontinent, Europe and the Americas, such as Hindi and Persian, and even English, Spanish and Croatian! A long time ago, people who spoke Proto-Indo-European (PIE) – the ancestor of all Indo-European languages – migrated from a common origin near the Caucasus Mountains and took their language with them. As time went on, PIE started to morph and change, giving rise to many prominent ancient languages like Latin and Ancient Greek. One of those languages was Sanskrit, whose vernacular form, Prakrit, eventually evolved into various modern Indic languages like Hindi, Marathi and of course, Nepali.
Thus, it is no surprise that the bulk of Nepali words and grammar comes from Sanskrit, so if you are familiar with other Indic languages, Nepali may appear very familiar to you. However, due to Nepal’s unique location, geography and diversity, other languages like Tibetan and Nepal Bhasa (the language of the Newar people) have shaped Nepali to become the unique language it is today. In this modern day and age, the influence of other languages (notably English) continues to shape how we communicate in Nepali.
LEARNING THE CULTURE
To learn a language is to also learn the culture, customs and idiosyncrasies of the society and the people who speak the language. As we learn Nepali, we will also learn bits and pieces of the culture in Nepal, either as snippets (example below) or as off-topic guffgaff, where we look at what makes Nepali people well…Nepali.
info | Did you know that Nepali is the only language that starts with an N– and ends with –epali?
IS NEPALI HARD TO LEARN?
Nepali is a category IV language, meaning it is fairly ‘medium-hard’-ish in learning difficulty (for a native English speaker). This would make it about as hard as learning Polish, Croatian, Thai etc. [source]
However, don’t let this deter you! No language is hard if you are fully committed to it. Nepali is fairly straightforward in many things and with enough practice and dedication, you will be able to master this language with ease. Remember that the key in anything is perseverance; no one will wake up one day and say “Hey, I now know the language fluently!” Like good wine, it takes time, but the effort will be worth it.
Everyone has a different approach when learning a new language; some prefer immersion, while others do better with flashcards and exercises. No matter what method you choose, the key to learning a language is simple: practice, practice, practice. There is no replacing where practice can take you, and a little Nepali everyday will take you a long way. Make sure you know your boundaries, never hesitate to speak even a little broken Nepali and have your Nepali friends help your practice. There are many ways to learn a language, so always give yourself patience, time, and a well-deserved break when things get too difficult or hard. Finally, always have fun when learning! 🙂