Linguistically, Nepal is located at the boundary point of Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan Language Family

125 distinct languages crammed into such a small country is perhaps one of the reasons why nothing ever gets done here in Nepal for everything is just lost in translation. Jokes aside, the absolute diversity comes to light when you consider that China which is 65 times larger has just 2.5 times more languages than Nepal and India which is 22 times larger and is considered a rather diverse country has only 3.6 times more languages than Nepal!! And again this has all got to do with the meeting of the two worlds and also the fact that Nepal is a very rugged country which limits communication and movement.

However, most people here speak and understand Nepali which is not only the lingua franca but also the official language of Nepal.

What does this mean for you?

  1. Do you need to learn Nepali to visit Nepal? While knowing a few words other than “Namaste” will sure earn you smiles and perhaps some respect too, most people along the popular tourist areas understand English. So yes if you are going to hit it on your own, knowing English is the bare minimum. If you are from one of the non-English speaking countries, having a guide who knows your language will be essential.

Only in Nepal

  1. Back in the days it was very likely that dialects would differ just across the river, thanks to the ruggedness of the terrain and lack of bridges.
  2. A large chunk of the Nepali population is quadrilingual!! They know their native language like Newari or Tamang bhasa, the official language Nepali, the language of the silver screen, Hindi and the language you get taught in school, English.
  3. Nepali perhaps has one of the largest collection to onomatopoeia words. To describe certain action such as flowing of a river or blowing of the wind, we use words like sa-la-la and sar-ra-ra which do not mean anything other than represent the aural quality of the action. And believe us when we say this, there are many many such words in Nepali. Overhead any conversation in Nepal and you will realise how they seem to be singing rather than talking. Now you know why.

Little Secret no one will tell you

  1. While mother jokes and swear words involving mothers are sometimes acceptable in different cultures during casual conversation, it is completely unacceptable here. Actually the world’s highest brawl that we talked about earlier figures the M-word pretty prominently.
  2. While most Nepali phrasebooks give you the boring dead stuff, here is a hipper Nepali phrasebook. Let us know if you find this useful, we will add stuffs to it.
  • That girl is so hot. Tyo Keti kya chwaak che yaar.
  • That guy is so hot. Kya hero rahecha tyo keto ta.
  • Awesome!!! Daammi!!!
  • Piss Off!! Tero tauko.
  • You are right. Sahi ho.
  • I am bored. Jhyaau lagyo.