Do you speak Nepali?

Hi everyone,

It is widely agreed that speaking Nepali is essential for a successful integration in Nepal. Do you agree? Share your experience!

Do you speak Nepali? If so, where did you learn this language? Where can one attend a language course in Nepal?

If not, how do you cope with daily activities? Is it easy to communicate in a different language with Nepalese?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


Actually, just learning a word well enough for the people to understand is difficult enough. It takes a long time and a penchant for learning languages in order to learn Nepalese. Additionally, there are about 70 other languages, including Newar that's spoken in the Kathmandu Valley. So, unless you are going to spend years here I wouldn't worry about learning anything more than 'thank you,' and how to order Nepali foods. Things like aloo/potato, pero/spicy, danuvad/thank you.

Nepali is a language with a different and difficult syntax and more difficult pronunciation. There are 52 letters in their script plus you have the half sounds. There are several aspirated sounds and they hear every tiny sound differentiation. Then there are several verbs that all mean the same thing so you will never be able to speak fluently or be understood.  The most difficult part is that they have no tolerance for mispronunciation. 

Another reason to not be too concerned is that these languages are becoming obsolete and the children need to learn English so they can get a job-no English=no job. So, should a person take the time to learn a dying language or teach a language that will be more empowering?

I am Nepalese and its easy for you to communicate with Nepalese on english too but it all depend on which community in Nepal are you communicating with .


People can communicate Nepalese in English or Hindi. It is understood by many Nepalese. As Nepal is a best place for mountain trek and other sporting activities, so country is exposed to the World and thousands thousands foreigners visiting Nepal to explore this beautiful Himalayan kingdom every year. Due to demand and interest of local people, they have started learning English long time back. So, it won't be much problem if you can communicate in English only.

I have learned some basic words and phrases. I have not decided if i will live here for the rest of my life so i have not taken formal lessons. It seems to be much easier to learn than Thai with 3 different tones giving 3 different meanings to a word.

Nepal is a multy language and multy cultural even though you can use english language in city area. If you want to learn nepalese language it's available in kathmandu bishwa bhasha campus.  It's to make easy your life in nepal.

As more and more Nepalese people learn English which is part of most if not every school in the country, you will find that the Nepalese language is not an absolute necessity. On the other hand, I fully agree it would be nice to be able to speak the local language, and even better to be fluent in it. Foreigners who spend limited time in Nepal do not have to learn the language, why so? It is not a necessity.  On the other hand it is clear that those who are planning to spend to live here as expats, or work with NGO's, or run a business or generally speaking intend to take an active part in the daily life and/or activities of the locals would do well to speak the language.
But this is where things get a bit more complex. I consider myself to be a very good linguist. I speak five languages, but not nepali! Let's face it, nepali is not an easy language to understand, and even harder for most (non-indian) foreigners to learn.  According to Wikipedia, there is no one mother tongue in Nepal, there are 123 of them which they refer to as "mother tongue in Nepal". Most of them belong to the Indo-Aryan and sino-Tibetan language families. These nepalese languages are of course all based on Sanskrit, with ten diphthong sounds, six oral vowels and five nasal vowels. So without going into more detail, it starts to explain why so few foreigners among the people I know in Nepal speak the language. I can't even remember of  single one among my friends who could write it!. Sanskrit is sanskrit, and obviously their writing bears no resemblance  to ours in the west, be they europeans or north or south americans etc. with a totally different alphabet!
I tried to learn it when I was much younger and even spent good money on a teacher who came to my house to give me private lessons,  but finally I had to capitulate! Others may find it easier, and I am the first one to admit I may have a hard skull; but whatever the reason was, that nepalese language just could not sink in!!
Others may find  the nepali easier to learn..... and I hope they least try!
Imagine the value of knowing the language? being able to read and understand any undertaking,  lease or other important paper such as court document etc in nepali language. No way the local people or any smartie can put one over on you! Best defense mechanism I know! In Nepal, believe me, knowing the language can be useful, particularly when a foreigner has interests at stake in that country. No longer have to rely completely on your lawyer...who in addition will never hesitate to charge you a lot of money per page.
Note: official translations in Nepal are not so well translated in english (or other) to be honest, and very costly. Ask any foreigner who has had to use official translators. It's a hassle.

Best to stick to the topic at hand - Do you speak Nepali?
And the moderator asked this very simple and very pertinent question, as follows:
Do you agree - or do you disagree that speaking nepali is essential to the successful integration of an expat in Nepal?
What's your answer?
Can you share your experiences with us, expats?

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