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Not to be confused with Nepal Bhasa.

"Khas language" redirects here. For native speakers of this language, see Khas people.

Nepali (Devanagari: खस भाषा),[5] also known by its endonymKhas-kurā, (खस कुरा) is an Indo-Aryan language of the sub-branch of Eastern Pahari. It is the official language of Nepal. It is spoken mainly in Nepal and by about a quarter of the population in Bhutan.[7] In India, Nepali is listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution as an Indian language with official status in the state of Sikkim and in West Bengal's Darjeeling district.[8] Nepali developed in proximity to a number of Indo-Aryan languages, most notably the other Pahari languages and Maithili, and shows Sanskrit influence. However, owing to Nepal's location, it has also been influenced by Tibeto-Burman languages. Nepali is mainly differentiated from Central Pahari, both in grammar and vocabulary, by Tibeto-Burman idioms owing to close contact with this language group.[9]

Historically, the language was originally called Khas (Khas kurā) and Gorkhali (language of the Gorkha Kingdom) before the term Nepali was adopted. The origin of modern Nepali language is believed to happened from Sinja of Jumla. Therefore, the Nepali dialect “Khas Bhasa” is still spoken among the people of the region.[10]

It is also known as Khey (the native term for Khas-Arya people living in the periphery of the Kathmandu valley), Parbate (native term meaning "of the hill") or Partya among the Newar people, and Pahari among the Madhesis and Tharus. Other names include DzongkhaLhotshammikha ("Southern Language", spoken by the Lhotshampas of Bhutan).

Literature[edit]

Main article: Nepali literature

Nepali developed a significant literature within a short period of a hundred years in the 19th century. This literary explosion was fueled by Adhyatma Ramayana; Sundarananda Bara (1833); Birsikka, an anonymous collection of folk tales; and a version of the South Asian epic Ramayana by Bhanubhakta Acharya (d. 1868). The contribution of trio-laureates Lekhnath Paudyal, Laxmi Prasad Devkota, and Balkrishna Sama took Nepali to the level of other world languages. The contribution of expatriate writers outside Nepal, especially in Darjeeling and Varanasi in India, is also notable.

In the past decade, there have been many contributions to Nepali literature from the Nepali diaspora in Asia, Europe, America, and India.

Number of speakers[edit]

According to the 2011 national census, 44.6 percent of the population of Nepal speaks Nepali as a first language.[11] The Ethnologue website reports 12,300,000 speakers within Nepal (from the 2011 census).[12]

Khas Nepali is traditionally spoken in the Hill Region of Nepal (Pahad, पहाड़), especially in the western part of the country. Although the Nepal bhasha language dominated the Kathmandu valley,Khas Nepali is currently the most dominant.खस Nepali is used in government and as the everyday language of a growing portion of the local population. Nevertheless, the exclusive use of Nepali in the courts and government of Nepal is being challenged. Recognition of other languages in Nepal was one of the objectives of the Communist Party of Nepal's long war.[13]

In Bhutan, those who speak Khas Nepali, known as Lhotshampa, are estimated at about 35 percent [14] of the population. This number includes displaced Bhutanese refugees, with unofficial estimates of the ethnic Bhutanese Refugee population as high as 30 to 40 percent, constituting a majority in the south (about 242,000 people).[15]) Since the late 1980s, over 100,000 Lhotshampas have been forced out of Bhutan, accused by the government of being illegal immigrants.[14] A large portion of them were expelled in an ethnic cleansing campaign, and presently live in refugee camps in eastern Nepal.

There are 2.9 million Khas Nepali language speakers in India, they reside in Sikkim, Darjeeling district and Northeast India.[16]

History[edit]

Around 500 years ago, Khas people from the Karnali-Bheri-Seti basin migrated eastward, bypassing inhospitable Kham highlands to settle in lower valleys of the Gandaki Basin that were well-suited to rice cultivation. One notable extended family settled in the Gorkha Kingdom, a small principality about halfway between Pokhara and Kathmandu. In 1559 AD a Lamjunge prince, Dravya Shah established himself on the throne of Gorkha with the help of local Khas and Magars. He raised an army of khas with the commandership of Bhagirath Panta. Later, in the late 18th century his heir Prithvi Narayan Shah raised and improvised an army of Chhetri, Thakuri, Magars and Gurung people and possibly other hill tribesmen and set out to conquer and consolidate dozens of small principalities in the Himalayan foothills. Since Gorkha had replaced the original Khas homeland, Khaskura was redubbed Gorkhali "language of the Gorkhas".[citation needed]

The most notable military achievement of Prithvi Narayan Shah was the conquest of the urbanized Kathmandu Valley, on the eastern rim of the Gandaki basin. This region was also called Nepal at the time. Kathmandu became Prithvi Narayan's new capital, from which he and his heirs extended their domain east across the Koshi River basin, north to the Tibetan Plateau, south into the plains of North India, and west across the Karnali/Bheri basin and beyond.[citation needed]

The Khas people originally referred to their language as Khas kurā ("Khas speech"), which was also known as Parbatiya (or Parbattia or Paharia, "language of the Hill country").[17][18] The Newar people used the term "Gorkhali" as a name for this language, as they identified it with the Gorkhali conquerors. The Gorkhalis themselves started using this term to refer to their language at a later stage. The Census of India used the term Naipali at least from 1901 to 1951, the 1961 census replacing it with Nepali.[19][20]

Expansion – particularly to the north, west, and south – brought the growing state into conflict with the British and Chinese. This led to wars that trimmed back the territory to an area roughly corresponding to Nepal's present borders. Both China and Britain understood the value of a buffer state and did not attempt to further reduce the territory of the new country. After the Gorkha conquests, the Kathmandu Valley or Nepal became the new center of political initiative. As the entire conquered territory of the Gorkhas ultimately became 'Nepal', in the early decades of the 20th century, Gorkha language activists in India, especially Darjeeling and Varanasi, began petitioning Indian universities to adopt the name 'Nepali' for the language.[21] Also in an attempt to disassociate himself with his Khas background, the Rana monarch Jung Bahadur Rana decreed that the term Gorkhali be used instead of Khas kurā to describe the language. Meanwhile, the British Indian administrators had started using the term "Nepal" (after Newar) to refer to the Gorkha kingdom. In the 1930s, the Gorkha government also adopted this term to describe their country. Subsequently, the Khas language also came to be known as "Nepali language". By the third decade, the Nepali state finally discontinued the use of the term Gorkhali, substituting it with Nepali, a move that provoked some stifled protest in Kathmandu from Newar intellectuals even during the autocratic Rana period.[22]

In all these years, Nepali has had influences from many languages. While Khas Nepali is technically from the same family as languages like Hindi and Bengali, it has taken many loan words. Words like dhoka "door", jhyāl "window", pasal "shop", and rāngo "water buffalo' have Tibeto-Burmese roots. Words like sahīd "martyr" (ultimately from Arabic) and kānun "law" (ultimately from Greek, came from Persian into Nepali, as the former functioned as the literary language of much of the Muslim world for over a millennium). Many English words are in use today due to the rising popularity of the United States of America in the region and the previous British aid at schools and other fields.

Khas Nepali is spoken indigenously over most of Nepal west of the Gandaki River, then progressively less further to the east.[23]

Dialects[edit]

Dialects of Nepali include Acchami, Baitadeli, Bajhangi, Bajurali, Bheri, Dadeldhuri, Dailekhi, Darchulali, Darchuli, Gandakeli, Humli, Purbeli, and Soradi.[12]Doteli (Dotyali) is a closely related language which is included in the macrolanguage Nepali.[24]

Grammar[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(February 2017)

Main article: Nepali grammar

Phonology[edit]

Main article: Nepali phonology

Vowels[edit]

Monophthongs[edit]

Nepali distinguishes six oral vowels and five nasal vowels. /o/ does not have a phonemic nasal counterpart, although it is often in free variation with [õ].

Diphthongs[edit]

Nepali possesses ten diphthongs: /ui/, /iu/, /ei/, /eu/, /oi/, /ou/, /ʌi/, /ʌu/, /ai/, and /au/.

Consonants[edit]

[j] and [w] are nonsyllabic allophones of [i] and [u], respectively. Every consonant except [j], [w], /l/, and /ɦ/ has a geminate counterpart between vowels. /ɳ/ and /ʃ/ also exist in some loanwords such as /baɳ/ बाण "arrow" and /nareʃ/ नरेश "king", but these sounds are sometimes replaced with native Nepali phonemes.

Writing[edit]

NumeralWrittenIASTIPAEtymology
0शुन्य/सुन्नाśūnya/ʃunjʌ/Sanskritśūnya (शून्य)
1एकek/ek/Sanskriteka (एक)
2दुईduī/d̪ui/Sanskritdvi (द्वि)
3तीनtīn/t̪in/Sanskrittri (त्रि)
4चारcār/t͡sar/Sanskritcatúr (चतुर्)
5पाँचpāṃc/pãt͡s/Sanskritpañca (पञ्च)
6cha/t͡sʰʌ/Sanskritṣáṣ (षष्)
7सातsat/sat̪/Sanskritsaptá (सप्त)
8आठāṭh/aʈʰ/Sanskritaṣṭá (अष्ट)
9नौnau/nʌu/Sanskritnáva (नव)
10१०दशdaś/d̪ʌs/Sanskritdáśaदश
11११एघारeghār/eɡʱar/
12१२बाह्रbāhr/barʱ/
20२०बीसvis/bis/
21२१एक्काइसekkāis/ekkais/
22२२बाइसbāis/bais/
100१००एक सयek say/ek sʌi/
1 000१०००एक हजारek hajār/ek ɦʌd͡zar/
10 000१००००दश हजारdaś hajār/d̪ʌs ɦʌd͡zar/
100 000१०००००एक लाखek lākh/ek lakʰ/See lakh
1 000 000१००००००दश लाखdaś lākh/d̪ʌs lakʰ/
10 000 000१०००००००एक करोडek karoḍ/ek kʌroɽ/See crore

Greetings[edit]

EnglishNepali khasTransliteration
Hello (informal/to someone of older age)नमस्ते / नमस्कारnamaste / namaskār
Nice to meet youतपाईंलाई भेटेर खुशी लाग्याेtapāī lāī bheṭera khuśī lāgyo
How are you?तपाईँलाई कस्तो छ ?tapāī lāī kasto chha?
My name is Bryan Butler.मेराे नाम ब्रायन बट्लर हाे ।mero nām brayan batlar ho
I am from America.म अमेरिकाबाट हुँ ।ma amerikābāṭ hung
Good morning to all of youसबैजनालाई शुभ-प्रभात ।sabejanālāī shubh-prabhāt
Goodnightशुभ-रात्रीshubh-ratrī
Dayदिन ।din
Eveningसाँझsāṃjh
I am feeling thirsty.म तिर्खाएकाे छु ।ma tirkhāeko chu
I am feeling hungry.म भाेकाएकाे छु ।ma bhokāeko chu
Tastyमिठो / स्वादिलोmitho / swadilo
I am sorry. (formal)म क्षमा प्रार्थी छु ।ma kṣamā prarthi chu
Where is the place to bath?नुहाउने ठाउँ कहाँ छ ?nuhāune ṭhāu kahā cha
Thank youधन्यवादDhanyavād

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • पोखरेल, मा. प्र. (2000), ध्वनिविज्ञान र नेपाली भाषाको ध्वनि परिचय, नेपाल राजकीय प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठान, काठमाडौँ।
  • Schmidt, R. L. (1993) A Practical Dictionary of Modern Nepali.
  • Turner, R. L. (1931) A Comparative and Etymological Dictionary of the Nepali Language.
  • Clements, G.N. & Khatiwada, R. (2007). “Phonetic realization of contrastively aspirated affricates in Nepali.” In Proceedings of ICPhS XVI (Saarbrücken, 6–10 August 2007), 629- 632. [1]
  • Hutt, M. & Subedi, A. (2003) Teach Yourself Nepali.
  • Khatiwada, R. (2009) ‘Nepali’, Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 39(3), pp. 373–380. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025100309990181
  • Manders, C. J. (2007) नेपाली व्याकरणमा आधार A Foundation in Nepali Grammar.
  • Dr. Dashrath Kharel, "Nepali linguistics spoken in Darjeeling-Sikkim"

External links[edit]

Nepali letters, transliteration and their pronunciation
  1. ^"Världens 100 största språk 2010" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2010), in Nationalencyklopedin
  2. ^Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Nepali [1]". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Nepali [2]". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^The full native name is khas Nepālī bhāṣā, to be distinguished from the unrelated Newar or Nepāl bhāṣā.
  5. ^Language Gulper: Languages and Ethnic Groups of Bhutan (2014).
  6. ^"Official Nepali language in Sikkim & Darjeeling"(PDF). CensusIndia.gov.in. 
  7. ^Hodgson, Brian Houghton (2013). Essays on the Languages, Literature, and Religion of Nepál and Tibet (Reprint ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 2. ISBN 9781108056083. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  8. ^The origin of Nepali language is Sinja of Jumla. Therefore, the Nepali dialect “Khas Bhasa” is still spoken among the people in this region., retrieved Feb 25, 2018 
  9. ^"Major highlights"(PDF). Central Bureau of Statistics. 2013. p. 4. Archived from the original(PDF) on 17 July 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  10. ^ ab"Nepali (npi)". Ethnologue. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  11. ^Gurung, Dr. Harka (19–20 January 2005). "Social Exclusion and Maoist Insurgency". Retrieved 13 April 2012.  Page 5.
  12. ^ ab"Background Note: Bhutan". U.S. Department of State. 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  13. ^Worden, Robert L.; Savada, Andrea Matles (ed.) (1991). "Chapter 6: Bhutan - Ethnic Groups". Nepal and Bhutan: Country Studies (3rd ed.). Federal Research Division, United States Library of Congress. p. 424. ISBN 0-8444-0777-1. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  14. ^"Census of India". Archived from the original on 13 May 2010. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  15. ^Balfour, Edward (1871). Cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, Commercial, Industrial and Scientific: Products of the Mineral, Vegetable and Animal Kingdoms, Useful Arts and Manufactures. Printed at the Scottish & Adelphi presses. p. 529. 
  16. ^Cust, Robert N. (1878). A Sketch of the Modern Languages of the East Indies. Routledge. p. 51. ISBN 9781136384691. 
  17. ^General, India Office of the Registrar (1967). Census of India, 1961: Tripura. Manager of Publications. p. 336.  
  18. ^Commissioner, India Census; Gait, Edward Albert (1902). Census of India, 1901. Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, India. p. 91.  
  19. ^Onta, Pratyoush (1996) "Creating a Brave Nepali Nation in British India: The Rhetoric of Jati Improvement, Rediscovery of Bhanubhakta and the Writing of Bir History" in Studies in Nepali History and Society 1(1), p. 37-76.
  20. ^"Languages of Nepal". 
  21. ^"Nepal". Ethnologue. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  22. ^"Nepali (nep)". Ethnologue. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 

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