Learning the Nepali Language

It’s “only” been a little over 4 months, but of course it feels like ages since we left home. Both the shreemati and I are pretty much settled and adjusted to the Nepali culture, lifestyle, and language.

Without a doubt, we are learning new Nepali sabda’s (words) and phrases a day. Most of the time we have already heard them before but are hearing them again in a new context for the first time. Before coming to Nepal, we brought a few language resources with us but in retrospect some have been useful and some have been sitting on our bookshelf collecting dust. Finally, we were provided with a few great resources by our Nepali guru’s as well.

Below are a list of books/resources that we are using (and not really using) to date.

  • Lonely Planet Nepali Phrase Book – this little handy book is great to keep with you in your day pack when ever you are roaming or traveling around. There are many sections that contain phrases relating to going out, sight seeing, making small-talk with people you have just met, emergency situations, as well as a small dictionary/index in the back for commonly used words. However, I personally would use this book only as a guide and for situations when you really need to get a point/concept across. One of my Nepali guru’s quickly flipped through the book and found that some of the phrases and words used are quite formal and slightly out-of-sync in relation to “everyday” Nepali.
  • Ratna’s Basic Nepali Dictionary is a great resource and right on the ball with most English to Nepali and Nepali to English word translations. There are no phrases in the book but nonetheless would make a great companion to the Lonely Planet Nepali Phrase Book.
  • Teach Yourself Nepali Complete Course (Book + 2CDs) by Michael Hutt and Abhi Subedi is a great resource to have but to be honest it has been collecting dust on our book shelf. After 6 weeks of Nepali class, I couldn’t really dive back into self-learning more Nepali. I had a brief flip through the book and listened to some of the tracks on the CD. The examples and conversation scenarios are really well done.