Nepali on the Language Forums
Very recently, new member, jimbagsh, a Peace Corps employee, opened a log to report his progress in the study of Nepali and, shortly thereafter, launched the Nepali Study Group. With the exception of jimbagsh’s latest posts and the language log of member electronicmonk, most references to Nepali on the LLORG and the HTLAL have appeared in long lists of languages representing wish lists and the like. Prompted by the more recent activity, I decided to create a list of resources for the study of Nepali / Nepalese.
Nepali (Devanagari: नेपाली [nepali]), also known as Nepalese, is an Indo-Aryan language of the sub-branch of Eastern Pahari. It is the official language of Nepal and one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. Also known by the endonym Khas kura (Devanagari: खस कुरा), the language is also called Gorkhali or Parbatiya in some contexts, It is spoken mainly in Nepal and by about a quarter of the population in Bhutan. In India, Nepali has official status in the state of Sikkim, and significant number of speakers in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Uttarakhand and West Bengal's Darjeeling district and Kalimpong. It is also spoken in Burma and by the Nepali diaspora worldwide. 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. istorically, the language was called Khas Speech (Khas Kurā) Initially spoken by Khas people of Karnali Region and Gorkhali (language of the Gorkha Kingdom) before the term Nepali was adopted. The origin of modern Nepali language is believed to be from Sinja valley of Jumla. Therefore, the Nepali dialect “Khas Bhasa” is still spoken among the people of the region. Source: Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepali_language)
Languages of Nepal
The 2011 National census lists 123 Nepalese languages spoken as a mother tongue (first language) in Nepal. Most belong to the Indo-Aryan and Sino-Tibetan language families. The official language of Nepal is Nepali, formerly called Khas-Kura then Gorkhali. According to the 2011 national census, the percentage of Nepali speaking people is about 44.6%. Maithili is the second most spoken language in Nepal at 11.67%. Most of the languages are written using the Devanagari script including indigenous languages. Source: Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Nepal)
Discussions of Nepali
As of this writing, the primary discussions of Nepali have taken place, or are projected to take place, in the following study group and/or member’s logs:
Nepali Study Group - LLORG - September 2019 to the present
electronicmonk's Nepali language log - LLORG - April 2019 to the present
Jim’s Nepali log - LLORG - September 2019 to the present
In preparing the list of resources below, I consulted the following websites: U.S. Government ERIC, Defense Language Institute (DLIFLC), National Foreign Language Center (NFLC), Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) Language and Culture Center, Indiana University CeLT Recorded Sound Archives, Yojik and Live Lingua (DLI, FSI, Peace Corp materials), a small number of American universities renowned for their language programmes, the commercial booksellers Amazon, AbeBooks, and eBay, as well as general searches of the internet.
What’s Not Included
Excluded from the list of resources below are phrase books, language guides (whether printed or online), grammars, verb books, dictionaries, videos whether on YouTube or elsewhere, most readers, and the surprisingly-large number of editions of the Bible or extracts thereof in Nepali.
The following usually reliable and widely appreciated “go to sources” of materials had no listings.
Assimil le Népali - NONE
DLI Nepali Basic – NONE
DLI Nepali Headstart2 – NONE
DLI Nepali GLOSS reading & listening files – NONE
ERIC Nepali – nothing other than what appears in the “legacy” materials, below.
NFLC Nepali reading & listening files – NONE
Routledge Colloquial Nepali – NONE
Spoken Nepali/Nepalese (Linguistic Society of America / Spoken Language Services) - NONE
NEPALI RESOURCES: LEGACY
Basic Course in Spoken Nepali (1974, 1988, 1999) 286 pages, by Tika B. Karki and Chij K. Shrestha – Several Publishers
Introduced in 1974 and revised a number of times, this basic course in spoken Nepali appears to have been once popular. Although it is possibly now out-of-print, used copies can still be found at reasonable prices. I have not come across any mention of audio recordings having been prepared to accompany this course. I suspect that most recent date of publication is that of a reprint. Given the availability of other materials, this course would NOT be my first choice.
Colloquial Nepali (1950, reprinted 2007) 132 pages, by G.G. Rogers - Asian Educational Services
This book is NOT associated with the Routledge Colloquial series of self-instruction language courses. The description of one reprint of this now seven decades’ old book reads as follows: “It is a very useful primer on the colloquial idiom of Nepali, for, while the formal and written variety of the language has received a great deal of attention from scholars, there is much less literature devoted exclusively to the spoken form even today. The first few chapters are devoted to the phonetics of Nepali sounds followed by lessons on grammar (along with English-Nepali translation exercises). Finally there is an extremely useful list of more than 1500 commonly used words in Nepali with, of course, their English translations. The author has not forgotten to introduce the learner to some of the more frequently used idioms and slang in Nepali. A very useful teach-yourself book on spoken Nepali.” The only Amazon Customer who has taken the time to post a review differed, commenting in 1999: “This book was written over 60 years ago, and its contents really show it. The condition of the book itself is terrible, and the pages smell like something out of my grandmother's attic. As far as the content itself, the pronunciation key is somewhat inaccurate and the writing system is not taught at all. The grammatical explanations are difficult to understand. I'd recommend you definitely skip this one and try "Teach Yourself Nepali" instead. You'll be glad you did.” Despite the out-of-stock notice on Amazon, used copies can still be found on the internet. Collectors, start your engines!
Course in Nepali (1992, revised 1998, reprinted 2013 as a Kindle edition) 356 pages, by David Matthews - South Asia Books
The editors’ description of the book reads, in part, as follows: “The aim of this course, which covers the whole grammar and all the constructions of modern Nepali, is to present a full description of both the spoken and written forms of modern standard Nepali, and to enable the student to understand, speak and read most types of Nepali he or she is likely to encounter. The earlier lessons concentrate mainly on the spoken style, and the conversation passages whilst the later lessons concern religious, political and literary topics.” Amazon Customer Reviews are quite positive for the printed editions. However, Kindle users should be aware that the electronic reproduction has not met with favour. The book is till in print. Audio recordings: 5 x C60 audio cassettes, as corrected by aravinda (avec remerciements!)
FSI Nepali Basic (1960s) 0 pages - audio recordings only (at present)
The Yojik and Live Lingua websites host the audio recordings which were prepared to accompany the FSI Nepali Basic course which I assume was published in the 1960’s. As of this writing, the course manual is not available. Perhaps an Intermediate Level student of the language, or a native speaker, will volunteer to create a transcript (Nepali with English translations) of these recordings and submit them for hosting on the Yojik website. Astute Beginner-to-Intermediate students would be able to use the audio recordings and the transcripts for aural/oral practice in conjunction with a grammar of the language. Any volunteers?
Nepali Newspaper Reader (1984) 274 pages, by Champa Jarmul, John D. Murphy - Dunwoody Press
The much-regretted Dunwoody Press was renowned for publishing high-quality materials for the studying of numerous “remote” languages. Although this book, apparently a collection of extracts from newspaper articles for study of Nepali at the Intermediate Level, appears to be out-of-print, a few copies are still available on the internet. The website of Multilingual Books includes a copy having three C90 audio cassettes. With the audio recordings, this item would be on my “A” list !!!!
Nepali Self-Taught (2nd ed., 1985) 208 pages, by Yubaraj S Pradhan - Educational Enterprises
I would assume that this self-instructional course book is now out-of-print. I doubt that audio recordings were prepared to accompany it and, even if they were, locating them today would be an unlikely proposition. For collectors only, IMO.
Peace Corps Lessons in Nepali (1965) 298 pages, by Joseph Connors et al
Peace Corps Nepali Supplements (1962) 92 pages by annonymous
This now-ancient introduction to the Nepali language is hosted on the Yojik website. Regrettably, the audio recordings are not available.
NEPALI RESOURCES: CURRENT
Intensive Course in Nepali (2011) 547 pages, by Syamala Kumari B & Gokul Sinha - Central Institute of Indian Languages
The only information that I have been able to locate on this course is that it is in Bengali with an English translation. Clearly, from a reading of the title, it was conceived as an intense course of study. Plan “B”?
Introduction to Basic Nepali Language (4th ed. 2013) 142 pages, by Sushila Shrestha - Share Nepal, Kathmandu
This 142 page textbook includes one CD and a one hour Skype Lesson. The author’s description reads as follows: “This course is divided into four parts: The first part contains Nepali Phrases which are also on the CD. The second part contains the grammar section. The third and fourth part contain Nepali Script and introduction to Nepali Culture sections respectively. This course is designed to fulfill the immediate need of the Nepali language learners.” Amazon Customer Reviews are generally quite positive. Nevertheless, the nay-sayers might have a point! Whom are we to believe ???
Introductory Spoken Nepali (online) by Yasoda Suvedi – University of Michigan
This apparently freely-available online course appears to me to be a phrase book or language guide. As such, under ordinary circumstances, I would exclude it from this list of resources. However, as it is hosted on the website of the University of Michigan, I felt that an exception should be made. It is quite possible that this little course was created to support a more expanded course offered by the university. I will leave it to the curious amongst the readers of this file to pursue the matter.
Nepali: A Beginner's Primer Conversation and Grammar (3rd ed., 2004) 225 pages, by Banu Oja and Shambhu Oja, -- Cornell University Press
There are several references on the internet to this beginners’ course for the study of Nepali. The book is available for purchase at a nominal price from Cornell University and is available for free download in PDF format, apparently authorized, from numerable websites. Audio recordings were prepared to accompany the course book. Member electronicmonk, who apparently enjoyed working with the book, reported that the link to the recordings on the Cornell University website has been deactivated. I made several unsuccessful attempts at locating the recordings. Perhaps someone could assist? UPDATE: Daristini kindly posted the following advice: "The audio to the Cornell University book "Nepali: A Beginner's Primer Conversation and Grammar" can, at least currently, be downloaded here: https://travelandcommunication.com/nepali-language-learning-pack-updated-library/02%20Nepali%20A%20Beginner's%20Primer%20Conversation%20and%20Grammar%20Audio.rar
Nepali in Context: A Topical Approach (4th ed., 2006, 2018) 490 pages by D.Watters and N.Rajbhandary - Vajra Books and Publications
I came across an offer for a used copy of this course book on eBay along with a separate offer for an accompany CD specifying that the it was CEFR B1. At 490 pages accompanied by audio recordings, the course seems interesting. The Amazon Customer Reviews are, for the most part, quite positive. Nevertheless, there seems to be some confusion of whether or not all editions include the CD. I located the publisher’s website but it seemed to be inoperative at present. What to do? What to do?
Parlons Népali (1996) by Jacques Chazaud, Evelyne Chazot - L'Harmattan
One of the very few self-instructional courses for the study of Nepali from a French base, this one is reasonably popular amongst Amazon.FR customers. The book is available both in printed form and as a downloadable PDF format from the publisher. A CD is available for separate purchase.
Practical Nepali: Learning Nepali the Easy Way (2013?) 524 pages, by Virginia Dixon – Vivid Publishing, Amazon Kindle
This book promises to assist the student “ communicate adequately on a wide range of everyday subjects”. Amazon Customer Reviews are generally quite positive, but warrant close reading. I could not find any reference to the existence of audio recordings.
Teach Yourself Nepali (2003) / Complete Nepali (1st ed. 2010) 448 pages, by Michael Hutt, Abhi Subedi – Teach Yourself Books
The Teach Yourself series of self-instructional language courses is renowned for delivering a balanced mixture of dialogues and grammatical notes capable of bringing the user within the CEFR A1+ area of competency. Amazon Customer Reviews for both the initial and the most recent editions of this publisher’s Nepali course are, on balance, quite positive. A good place to start one's studies, but don’t expect miracles.
U.S. Army Special Forces 200-Hour Nepali Familiarization Courses
The U.S. Special Forces 200-Hour Familiarization Language Courses cover the basic communication needs of someone who will be living in a region where the target language predominates. Although these courses were designed for the language instruction of members of the U.S. Special Forces, as illustrated by the Lesson Titles, the focus is on daily life in a non-military setting. The approach to teaching in the course manuals is quite conventional. Nevertheless, the materials have been prepared with great care, they include sufficient examples and exercises as well as an Answer Key and they could very easily serve in an independent-learning context. An additional point in favour of these courses is that they cover a broad range of less-frequently-studied languages for which substantial materials are often difficult to find. A CEFR A1 level is likely possible with these materials. Here are THREE LINKS (thank you, Pinecone and Daristani!):
NEPALI RESOURCES: READERS
PLEASE NOTE: As a matter of general practice, I do not want to assume the responsibility of even attempting to maintain lists of grammars, dictionaries, readers, phrase books, language guides, television and radio stations, podcast, videos, films, books, newspapers, and online sources for the study of foreign languages. This is a one-time exception. Other members all always free to open a new section devoted to readers, copy/paste the items below into it, and to keep their list up-to-date using the edit mode.
Contemporary Nepali Social and Cultural Anthropology: a Reader (2018) by Laya Prasad Uprety (editor) et al - Tribhuvan University
Himalayan Voices : An Introduction to Modern Nepali Literature (1991), 352 pages, 352 pages, by Michael J. Hutt - University of California Press
Intermediate Nepali Reader: Volumes 1 & 2 (1979), 416 pages total, by M.K.Verma – Manohar
Intermediate Nepali Structure and Intermediate Nepali Reader (1979) by M.K.Verma, T.N. Sharma – Manohar
Modern Literary Nepali: An Introductory Reader (SOAS Studies on South Asia) (new edition, 2000), 302 pages, by Michael J. Hutt - Oxford University Press
Nepali Newspaper Reader (1984) 274 pages, by Champa Jarmul, John D. Murphy - Dunwoody Press
Use of Language in the Nepali Press (1999), pamphlet, by S. Subedi Rayamajhi - Aero's
links4languages - Nepali
LLORG Nepali Study Group
Pinecone wrote: … As far as readers go, one of the best option is the मेरो नेपाली (Mero Nepali) series that the government of Nepal publishes for use in schools here. There is one for each class. They contain grammar exercises and stories. PDFs of the books can be downloaded from various places, but the newest editions I am finding online are at E-Pustakalaya (https://pustakalaya.org/en/). A search for 'मेरो नेपाली' will turn up the titles. Here are links to the first three classes:
Class 1: https://pustakalaya.org/documents/detai ... 9f9da7de7/
Class 2: https://pustakalaya.org/documents/detai ... 2405f8a2c/
Class 3: https://pustakalaya.org/documents/detai ... 8a0ffbae6/
(Note: In Nepal, if you want a hard copy of the मेरो नेपाली books, you will find them at stationary stores rather than book stores.)
As I was looking up where to download the मेरो नेपाली books I came across the Government of Nepal's curriculum development center and noticed they had a nice collection of children's books available in PDF form here:
http://nkcs.org.np/cdc/library/opac_css ... brique=120.
Should anyone respond to this thread by suggesting additional materials or by adding their own assessments of the materials listed above, I would strongly encourage anyone referring to this file to read those additional comments as they might very well contain some information that you would not want to miss!
Typos, as always.
Correction to "Course in Nepali": audio cassettes (avec remerciements à aravinda)
Update to "Nepali: A Beginner's Primer Conversation and Grammar" (audio recordings)