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Thread: The language thread

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  1. #1
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    Aug 2004
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    Post The language thread

    Namaste! Welcome the the Nepali Language thread.

    One of the things that make it so easy to visit Nepal is that the locals are very good at speaking English so the language barrier is quite low. And much as the Nepali like to practice their English skills by chatting with tourists they are also very pleased when we try to speak their language. Just a few handy words and phrases can go a long way, this thread is intended as a place for us to share a few hints and tips.

    Please remember that I am just learning, not great expert in this field, if I make any mistakes then please feel free to correct me. And of course I'd welcome any other contributions with a few handy words of vocab or a short grammar lesson. As well as basic Nepali we might even have a few notes on other relevant languages, from Sherpa to Newari....

  2. #2
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    Default First and most useful

    The obvious place to start is the word "Namaste" (na-ma-stay), you will hear this said all the time. It is a common salutation and good for "hello" and "goodbye". Literally it means something along the lines of "Hail the jewel in the lotus" or "I salute the spirit inside you". If you are only going to learn one word of Nepali then this shall be the one. There is a more respectful version of the word, "Namaskar"

    One general purpose word is "Hajur" (ha-joor). It means "sir" and can be used in quite a variety of occasions - it can be a general expression of polite agreement, or "excuse me!", "pardon?". Another useful word is "Tik-cha", roughly meaning "OK" it can be used as the question and answer for "are you OK?" & "yes, I'm fine".

    It is nice to be able to say your name - "Mero nam ____ ho", "My name is ____" (my name _____ is).
    And to ask someone what is their name - "Tapaiko nam ke ho?" (ta-pie-ko nam kay ho), "What is your name?"

  3. #3
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    Default Feelings

    It is very useful and easy to convey a range of feelings and emotions - "I'm feeling happy", "I'm not hungry", "I'm cold", etc... just use the words "____ lagyo" (laag-yo) for "I am feeling ____", or "____ lagena" (la-geh-na) for "I am not ____", as appropriate. Here is a list of common feelings....

    • hot - garmi
    • cold - jado
    • happy - khusi
    • sad/sorry - dukhi
    • hungry - bhok
    • thirsty - tirkha
    • drunk - raksi
    • windblown - hawa
    • in a hurry - hatar
    • tired - thakai
    • sleepy - nindra

    Usually you should start the sentence with the word "Malai" (ma-lai) to refer to yourself, so for example "Malai khusi lagyo", "malai bhok lagena", "malai jado lagyo", etc...

  4. #4
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    Default Word order

    Nepali has a simple structure - the verb comes at the end, predeeded by the object and/or subject of the sentence. Adjectives precede the noun that they describe.

    "Ma ali-ali Nepali bolchhu", "I speak a little Nepali" (I little Nepali speak)
    "Ma maasu khaanna", "I do not eat meat" (I meat do not eat)
    "Yo piro khursani chha!", "This chilli is hot!" (this spicy/hot chilli is)

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Wink Re: The language thread

    Namaste. I reccomend Eurotalk Talk Now Nepali. While it has its faults its a pretty easy way to hear Nepali being spoken and to learn basic phrases and words. I learned how to tell time. directions , greetings and objects.

    http://www.languageresourceonline.com/group.asp?grp=439

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: The language thread

    The one I usually get - mostly from cheeky children and youths but sometimes from adults - is "Nameste, Baje" (Hello, Grandad!) I usually reply "Nameste neti " (Hello, grandson!) and this causes surprise at first followed by smiles and cheerful acknowledgement of my limited Nepali.

    I can manage a few other short phrases such as "Nepali derai ramro ho!" - "Nepal is very beautiful" and a few numbers, nouns and adjectives - "duita kalo bhirilo" - "two black cats". Just enough to have a bit of fun and to break the ice. Each time I go I manage to learn a little more.
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