Nepali is not an easy language though. It has altogether 36 letters. Writing those curvy letters and properly pronouncing them is a constant struggle for many.
Nepali is spoken as a lingua franca in Nepal and, as Nepali immigrants are everywhere, nowadays in many parts of the world. Apart from Nepal’s 30 million people, Nepali is spoken in some parts of India, Bhutan, Myanmar and Tibet, China. Nepali language was first known as Khas language and later on it became Gorkhali language spoken in the Kingdom of Gorkha. Eventfully it came to be known as Nepali language and has remained so for a few years.
Living in Nepal, talking to native Nepalis and attending a language school would be ideal for learning the Nepali language quickly. However, there are plenty of online resources that you can make use of and learn Nepali at your ease. We briefly review some of the best resources available online that you can use to learn or brush up your Nepali skills.
- NepalGo Lessons: With an extensive collection of Nepali grammar, vocabulary, audio, forum, phrase book and word of the day, NepalGo site has some of the best free resources available online to learn Nepali. The site does not offer any direct teaching, but you can ask the blogger online incase of any confusion. “I like languages and as a general curiosity, I used to search for sites that taught Nepali but there weren’t any good ones. So, if you cannot find one, then you build one! And here it is, Nepalgo,” says Nissim R.A., a native Nepali who originally planned to name the portal as Nepal Bhasa, Bhasa meaning language in Nepali, but since it would have been difficult for many to remember, he went on with NepalGo. He says that Go means ‘language’ in Japanese and NepalGo is a combination of one Nepali and one Japanese word.
- Polymath Nepali lessons: Polymath is a cool site for learning any new languages, just not Nepali. Its Nepali section is pretty awesome too. What we most liked about this site is its visual interface. Color combination is really cool and fonts are amazing. You just feel like staring at those round, sexy words! While this is not recommended for serious and advanced learners, for tourists and beginners, it’s a gem!
- Bipanah’s Youtube Lessons: This is a collection of Nepali lessons produced and uploaded by a German student of Social Anthropology, Hanna, who has visited Nepal several times, lived there and conducted her fieldwork in Nepali. She is a charming girl who can speak Nepali nearly fluent. To learners who prefer audiovisual learning experience, Hanna’s Youtube Channel is the way to go! As of April 2015, her channel has more than a thousand subscribers and nearly a million views.
- University of Cornell Nepali lessons: This is an extensive collection of resources related to Nepali language. It is more grammar focused and hosts audio pronunciation and supplementary videos. Some parts of the lessons are only in Nepali, so if you already know some Nepali, this can be a really helpful site.
- Android and iOs apps for learning Nepali: Well, well…there are quite a few apps that promise to teach you Nepali, but their claim at times does not deliver well. If you use an Android device, such as an android phone or a tablet, then you can you download Nepali Guru: Learn with Fun app from GooglePlay store. The app is very popular and has many five-star ratings. If you use an iOS device, such as an iPhone or an iPad, then give it a try to Nepali Language Guide & Audio app developed by Word Nomads. This is a free app and if you don’t like it, you know what to do!
- WikiTravel Phrasebook: This wisely compiled collection enlists all everyday phrases that you can use to make your Nepali more informal and show-off that you can actually use the words that locals do. This is constantly updating, so it’s worth checking every now and then.
- Google Translate: Love it or hate is the big G’s translation service is simply awesome. While it’s awesome, it’s not accurate! Google has recently included Nepali in its translation portal and you can use it with ease for any simple translations. While highly recommended for single words and short sentences, this is a no-no for long and complex sentences.
- A practical dictionary of modern Nepali: This seems to be the most comprehensive English-Nepali-Nepali dictionary we found online. This dictionary was updated in June 2005 with a partial funding of the U.S. Department of Education and really does the job what it was built to do.
This is what we all have. Have you come across a great website or an app that makes learning Nepali easier? Please do not forget to comment below and let us know! We will update this list if your recommendation is genuinely noteworthy! (Article written on 18 April 2015 and updated on 18 April 2015)