Imagine that you are lost without a guide or a translator. How would you find your way back? Here are some of the Nepali words that might come in handy while interacting with the locals.
Are you going to Nepal? If you are reading this, then, the answer most probably is "Yes."
Nepali is the national tongue of Nepal. Despite this, it appears that many Nepalese can understand English. When closely listened to, even the illiterate man can speak broken English (words jumbled randomly). Why Nepali, then?
There is an easy solution. You may have a distinct edge if you can communicate with the Nepalese. If you talk in their language, people will be ready to assist you when you are in need and offer the knowledge they have. You might even get lost without a guide or a translator. Then, these phrases will come in handy. The Nepalese get very excited when they hear a foreigner speak their language. You can bond with them instantly.
While you might hear a lot of Nepali spoken in Kathmandu, Pokhara, or Chitwan, it's more likely that there are individuals who also speak Maithili, Newari, or an entirely different dialect altogether. It is their second language too. Don't worry too much about having to learn all of it. Just Nepali is enough. Simply try to enjoy using the language, and you'll notice how much the people there will appreciate your efforts to become familiar with them and their culture! It is seen as a huge respect to them and their country.
Alright! Starting with Nepali, let's have a go! Greetings first. Even if the majority of people understand a "Hi," saying "Namaste" would undoubtedly be more effective.
1. “Namaste”- Hello or Hi
When you first meet someone, it would be wonderful if you gave them a smile. In Western society, saying "Hi" and "Hello" is commonplace. In Nepali, we fold our two palms while saying the word "Namaste."
Namaste is a method to greet someone politely by joining your hands together. It's a certain style of mannerism that impresses Nepalis, especially the elderly, upon first meeting them.
So, if you run into someone during the day, all you need to do is smile and greet them with "Namaste." They will return the greeting by saying "Namaste" to you. “Namaste” is a salute made to the divine in you.
2. “Dhanyabaad”- Thank you
The best thing to display is gratitude, not just in Nepal but everywhere else in the world. It is best to say "Dhanyabaad", if you wish to express sincere gratitude for any good that has been done to you.
Next time you want to thank the Nepali people, say "Dhanyabaad." You only need to smile and say "Dhanyabaad" to someone when you accept their assistance or service.
3. “Kasto Cha?”- How are you?
It will be easier to become close to people if you enquire about their emotions.
Namaste is a universal greeting. But if you follow it with "Kasto cha?", people will immediately love you. I have no doubt that it will impress the Nepalese and they will be much kinder towards you than they already are.
You can use the more formal phrase "Namaste! Tapailai Kasto cha?"
4. “Huncha/Hudaina”- Yes or No
Nobody will likely come out with a yes/no quiz for you. I don't anticipate it.
But, depending on who is requesting you to do something, bow your head with "Huncha" or "Hudaina."
Huncha means “Yes”,
Hudaina means "No".
5. “Mitho Cha”- It’s delicious!
It goes without saying that when you enjoy the flavor of a delicacy, you will either let the cook or others know. So what is the Nepali word for ‘delicious’?
You will get the chance to sample dishes with distinctive flavors when you travel to rural areas of Nepal. Say "Mitho Cha" to indicate your enjoyment of the dish's flavor.
“Mitho Cha” is a Nepali saying that translates to "It's delicious." Your expression will make the locals, who served you the dish, very pleased.
6. “Yeslai Kati Paisa Ho?”- How much does this cost?
Perhaps the most crucial term is this one. This sentence will be helpful if you're in a market or a store, where you want to make a purchase.
It is simple to say. Try saying, "Yeslai Kati Paisa Ho?”
7. “Ramro Cha”- It’s good/nice.
Let's now study Nepali compliments. What would you say if you saw something lovely or appealing to the eye?
You either remark, "It's wonderful," or "It's good," don't you? So, in Nepali, you say "Ramro Cha" to show how much you like something.
Say "Ramro Cha" in response to the question "Kasto Cha?" The Nepali equivalents of the English phrases "How are things?" and "It's good" are "Kasto Cha?" and "Ramro Cha," respectively.
So, now, you understand the Nepali words for complimenting the majestic Himalayan ranges, correct?
8. “Maaf Garnu Hos”- Sorry
Even if you strive for perfection all the time, mistakes will still be made. Given that we are all human and make mistakes, it is not all that horrible (so to speak).
I'm not exaggerating, but it's always a good idea to admit to mistakes. Say "Maaf Garnu Hos" to apologize for any wrongdoing you may have committed. The people of Nepal will certainly overlook it.
It is important to keep saying this sentence over and again while also memorizing it. Errors are accidentally made.
9. Bhok Lagyo- I’m hungry.
Not being able to communicate your hunger to others will make starving all the more demoralizing, don't you think? So, how would one express their hunger in Nepali?
It is easy. Simply say "Bhok Lagyo." You call out to the other person, "Bhok lagyo," if you are hungry so that he can bring you food.
Walking for hours on end is exhausting while you are trekking. You might experience hunger at that time. You won't have the energy to travel farther if you didn't eat anything.
So, how could you tell your Nepali companions that you are hungry? Just say, "Bhok Lagyo." You can avoid starvation by doing this.
10. Madat Garnus- Help me, please!
Never hesitate to seek assistance, especially in a foreign land. Helping each other out prevents problems and strengthens relationships. Your guide and porter will assist you on your journey when you are with them.
You can beg for assistance by saying "Madat garnus", if you feel like it. This expression means "Help me, please" in Nepali.
Compiled By: Prashant Shrestha
photo credit: Samrat Khadka, Raimond Klavins, Travelbiznews, Sam Moghadam Khamseh, Érik González Guerrero