Monday, October 21, 2013

Language Profile: Nepali

In this week's language profile we're going to take a brief look at Nepali, also known as Nepalese. It is a member of the Indo-Aryan language family that includes many languages, including Gujarati, Oriya, Sinhala, Assamese, and Hindi.

Nepali is the official language of Nepal, where it is used as a lingua franca and is the native language of nearly half the population. It is also an official language of Bhutan, where it is spoken by about just over a third of the population. Nepali is also recognized as an official regional language in the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal.
Mount Everest in Nepal

It is written using Devanagari script, a common characteristic of Indo-Aryan languages. The language contains 27 consonants as well as 11 vowels, including 5 nasal vowels. 

The three major dialects of Nepali correspond to different geographical areas, but generally differ very little in terms of phonology. As with other Indo-Aryan languages, Nepali contains several loanwords from Sanskrit.