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)


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


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. 


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


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


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’.


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.

Do you want some help?

Lastly, do you want to visit the country and have real contact with the locals or get help on how to organise your activities? Please contact me or say so in the comments section. I will provide you with the contact information of the amazing and welcoming family that I stayed with in an orphanage in Chitwan. We spent a month together in which they even invited me to the wedding of one of the sisters that run the orphanage.

They have plenty of rooms for volunteers. You would be able to share their daily life and get to really know the Nepali culture. This is to these days my top life-changing experience. They can also organise trekking activities for you and if you do visit them, they will help you in any way possible to make the most of your experience in their country.

Home at Chitwan (Nepal guide)

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