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:
- Basic Nepali culture and customs lesson
- Basic Nepali language lesson
- Nepal Survival Guide: basics to know and how to behave
So, let’s get to work!
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
Piro – chili / spicy
Nunilo – salty
Amilo – acid
Guliyo – sweet
Tito – bitter
Ekdam – a lot
Ali ali – a little
They are called ‘K’ questions in Nepal.
Ke – what
Ko – who
Kasko – whose
Kina – why
Kahile – when
Kun – which
Kati – how much
Kasto – how to feel
Kasari – how to do
Kinavano – because
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.
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