The Nepali language, also called the Nepalese language, is an Indo-Aryan language of the Indo-European language family. Historically, the language of Nepali originated in the Hill Region of Nepal, in the Western parts of the country. Around five hundred years ago, mountain dwellers migrated eastwards and settling in the valleys of the Gandaki basin. The language moved with them, and developed over the next few hundred years to be the Nepali language that we can recognize today.
A very close relation to the Hindi languages, the Nepali language is often considered to be mutually intelligible. However, the Nepali language contains many more Sanskrit derivations, and considerably fewer English and Persian loanwords. Tibeto-Burman languages have also had an impact on the Nepali language, specifically in terms of grammatical compilation. These days, the Nepali language is used as an everyday language. It is also used as the dominant language by the government, and within the media.
The Nepali language is the official language not only of the country of Nepal, but is also one of the 23 official languages of India, where it is spoken in the states of Sikkim and West Bengal. There are estimated to be around 500,000 speakers of the Nepali language living in India today, with small amounts of speakers also living in the cities of Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai. The language is also spoken in Myanmar and Bhutan, where it is known at Lhotshampa. However, the Nepali language does not hold official language status in either of those countries.
In Nepal itself the Nepali language is spoken as a mother tongue by around a third of the population. There are around 14 million native speakers of the Nepali language, though there are very few speakers of the Nepali as a second language.
The Nepali language is, as the Hindi and Sanskrit languages are, often written in the Devanagari script. Devangari is written from left to right, and its most prominent and noticeable feature is the horizontal line that runs along the top of the words, through the letters themselves.
There are three main dialects to the Nepali language: Eastern, Central, and Western. However, these dialects are relatively indistinct from each other, and are primarily used to classify the geographical area of the speaker, rather than having a historically separate history.
The Nepali language uses two grammatical genders within its language, which are masculine and feminine, with no neuter pronoun. However, looking a little closer at the language, it can be seen that the male pronouns are more like neutral pronouns in terms of language, thus it can be argued that the two grammatical genders in the Nepali language are feminine and zero. If you need to denote a male or female person, in the Nepali language there are a variety of suffixes for this, instead of new words.
Why Learn The Nepali Language?
If you are a scholar or a follower of the Buddhist religion, then the country of Nepal is a great one for you to visit. There are three Buddhist traditions practiced here which are Himalayan Buddhism, Kathmandu Valley Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism. Interestingly, there are also considerably more practicing Hindus in Nepal than Buddhists, but often these two religions are considered to be interchangeable by the Nepali people. Buddhist and Hindu temples are prominent throughout the whole country.
The country of Nepal is a very mountainous one, so if you have a passion or interest in more adventurous vacations, then a hiking holiday in Nepal is an excellent idea. The countryside and views are absolutely spectacular, and the country itself is setting up the year 2011 to be one for tourism. Learning the Nepali language is a good way to learn more of the culture if you decide to travel there.