Basic Nepali Language

  • Jul 13, 2020
  • Annushree
  • 296

Table of Contents

Basic Nepali Language 

Nepali language is an indo-aryan language and it is official language of Nepal and India. More than 60% of total population of Nepal use Nepali as their first language and other languages are being endangered every day because they are not being used frequently. As per the 2011 Census of India, there were a total of 2,926,168 native speakers of the language in India, amounting to 0.25% of the total population. In Bhutan, more than 35% of population speaks language, they are called of Lhotshmpa. Other large speaking countries are Myanmar, Malaysia, Brunei, USA and diaspora worldwide.

The currently popular variant of Nepali is believed to have originated around 500 years ago with the mass migration of a branch of Khas people from the Karnali-Bheri-Seti eastward to settle in lower valleys of the Karnali and the Gandaki basin that were well-suited to rice cultivation. Over the centuries, different dialects of the Nepali language with distinct influences from Sanskrit, Maithili, Hindi and Bengali are believed to have emerged across different regions of the current-day Nepal and Uttarakhand, making Khasa the lingua franca.

However, the institutionalization of the Nepali language is believed to have started with the Shah kings of Gorkha Kingdom, in the modern day Gorkha district of Nepal. In 1559 AD, a prince of Lamjung, Dravya Shah established himself on the throne of Gorkha with the help of local Khas and Magars. He raised an army of khas people under the command of Bhagirath Panta. Later, in the late 18th century, his descendant, Prithvi Narayan Shah, raised and modernised an army of Chhetri, Thakuri, Magars and Gurung people among others and set out to conquer and consolidate dozens of small principalities in the Himalayas. Since Gorkha had replaced the original Khas homeland, Khaskura was redubbed Gorkhali "language of the Gorkhas.

The Khas people originally referred to their language as Khas kurā ("Khas speech"), which was also known as Parbatiya or Parbate language by local Newari people of Kathmandu valley. The Newar people used the term "Gorkhali" as a name for this language, as they identified it with the Gorkhali conquerors. Later, Gorkha Kingdom (Kingdom of Nepal) adopted the national language as Nepali. Meanwhile, the British Indian administrators had started using the term "Nepal" to refer to the Gorkha kingdom. In the 1930s, Nepal government also adopted this term fully.

How to pronounce Nepali? How to write Nepali?

Nepali is written in Devanagari script similar of Hindi and other languages based from Sanskrit language.

Vowels and consonants are mentioned in the tables below.

Nepali Vowels

Nepali Vowels in English
 FrontCentralBack
Close

i/ī

 u/ū
Mide o
Open a/āa

 

Nepali Consonants 

 

Nepali Consonants in English
 BilabialLabio-DentalDentalAlveolarRetroflexPost AlvelorVelarGlottal
Plosive

p  ph
b  bh

 

t   th

d  dh

 

ṭ   ṭh

ḍ  ḍh

 

k  kh

g  gh

 
Affricate   

c  ch

j   jh

    
Nasalm  n

ñ
Fricative   

s

ś h
Tap   rṛ   ṛh   
Approximant v   y  
Lateral
approximant
   l