Basic Nepali language lesson

Are you planning a visit to Nepal and you want to learn some useful words in Nepali first? I’ve assembled a list of the most common expressions that tourists may need, as well as a basic lesson, in case you want to try to communicate in the local language.

The Nepali lesson was given to me as a part of a welcome to my three-months volunteering experience in Nepal, therefore is particularly focused on the expressions you may use to communicate with the family who is hosting you.

This post is part of a basic guide about Nepal for tourists and volunteers: ‘The ultimate guide to visit Nepal: everything you need to know’. As I’m currently writing it, the posts you have available right now are the following:

So, let’s get to work!

Useful sentences

Namaste – hello / goodbye

Namaskar – a polite ‘namaste’

Suva bihaani – good morning

Suva deen – good afternoon

Suva rattri – good night

Ho / aa – yes

Hoina / aaha – no

Dhanyabaad – thank you

Swagat chha – you are welcome (pronounced sagat ta)

Swagatam – welcome (pronounced sagatam)

Peri bhetaula – see you again (pronounced peri bitola)

Jam Jam – let’s go (pronounced zam zam)

Lala – OK

Mero naam Sila ho – My name is Sila (I was actually given this Nepali name because they thought mine was too difficult)

Tapaailai kasto chha? – How are you? (pronounced tapalai kasto ta?)

Malaai ramro chha – I’m good (pronounced malai ramro ta)

Malaai thik chha – I’m OK (pronounced malai tik ta, and be careful, because ‘zik’ means ‘fuck’ -the expression)

Pronouns

Ma – I / me

Tapaai – you (formal)

Timi – you (informal: for children, young people and close friends)

Wahaa – he / she

Haami – we

Tapaaiharu – you (formal plural)

Timiharu – you (informal plural)

Wahaaharu – they

Yo – this

Tyo – that

Yahe – here

Teha – there

Possessives

Mero – my

Tapaaiko – yours (formal)

Timro – yours (informal)

Wahaako – his / hers

Haamro – our

Tapaaiharuko – yours (formal plural)

Timiharuko – yours (informal plural)

Wahaaharuko – theirs

As you can see, you add ‘haru’ to make the plural form of the pronouns, and ‘ko’ to make them possessives. 

Verbs

Ho – to be

Hoina – not to be

Chha – to have

Chhaina – not to have

Maanparcha – to like

Maanpardaina – not to like

Chahincha – to need

Chahidaina – not to need

Lagyo – to feel

Lagena – not to feel

Feelings

Kushi – happy (pronounced kusi)

Dukha – sad

Bhok – hungry

Tirkha – thirsy

Nindra – sleepy

Alchi – lazy

Thakaai – tired

Rhys – angry

Avari – grateful

Birami – sick

Wak-wak – nauseous

Colours

Raato – red

Nilo – blue

Pachlo – yellow (pronounced pahelo)

Seeto – white

Kaalo – black

Hariyo – green

Payji – purple

Gulabi – pink

Rangi-changi – multicolor (pronounced rangi-tangi). It also means ‘drunk’.

Family

Bubaa / Ba – father

Ama – mother

Hajur bubaa / Hajur ba – grandfather

Hajur ama – grarndmother

Daai – big brother

Bhai – young brother

Didi – big sister

Bahini – younger sister

Keto – boy

Keti – girl

Ketaketi – children

Sathi – friend

Food flavors

Piro – chili / spicy

Nunilo – salty

Amilo – acid

Guliyo – sweet

Tito – bitter

Ekdam – a lot

Ali ali – a little

‘WH’ questions

They are called ‘K’ questions in Nepal.

Ke – what

Ko – who

Kasko – whose

Kina – why

Kaha  where

Kahile – when

Kun – which

Kati – how much

Kasto – how to feel

Kasari – how to do

Kinavano – because

Sentences construction

Tapaaiko aamako naam ke ho? – What’s your mother’s name?

Mero aamako naam Sila ho – My mother’s name is Sila.

Tapaaiko didiko naam ke ho?  What’s the name of your older sister?

Mero didiko chhaina – I don’t have an older sister.

Mero deshko naam Spain ho – My country’s name is Spain.

Yo ke ho? – What is this?

Yo ‘chair’ ho – This is a chair.

The word ‘laai’ is added to pronouns when they are used with the verbs like / dislike and feelings, and to nouns.

Tapaailaai kasto chha? – How are you?

Malaai ramro chha – I’m good.

Tapaailaai kun rang maanparchha? – Which colour do you like?

Malaai payji maanparchha – I like purple.

Tapaailaai kun rang maanpardaina? – Which colour don’t you like?

Malaai seeto maanpardaina – I don’t like white.

Tapaailaai bhok lagyo? – Are you hungry?

Malaai bhok lagyo – I’m hungry.

Malaai bhok lagena – I’m not hungry.

Malaai ali ali bhok lagyo / Malaai bhok ali ali lagyo – I’m a little hungry.