Nepali Ann's Itty-Bitty, but darn good Nepali Language Primer

Learning a few of the basics is really opens up a country to the traveler, visitor, tourist... Just a little of the language will help you to get around, to meet people and to really deepen your experience of a culture. It shows the locals that you want to learn about them and care about their country and culture. So start with these basics...

note: Underlined words are shown as samples only, you should substitute as necessary

Basic Greetings and Pleasantries

Nepali Tranliteration  English Translation
Namaste  Hello, Greetings, I bless the divine in you
Namaskar The more respectful version of Namaste
Hajur All purpose term meaning yes? Pardon, Excuse me?
(Tapaiilai) Kasto Cha? How are you?
(Malai) Thik Cha I am fine
Khana khannu bhaiyo? Have you eaten? (used often as informal greeting)
Dhanybhad Thank you
Tapaiiko naam ke ho? What is you name?
Mero naam Ann-Marie ho My name is Ann-Marie
Maaph garnuhos Excuse me/ pardon me/ sorry
Maile bhujhina I don’t understand
Maile bhujhe I understand
Pheri bhetaunla I hope we meet again


Addressing People / things

Ann-Marie-ji Formal way to address someone using their name
Aama / Buwa Mother / Father, but also friendly term men/women roughly in your parents generation
Didi / Bahini Older / Younger sister, but also friendly term used to refer to other women roughly in your generation
Dhai / Bhai Older / Younger brother, same as above
Nanu / Babu Young girl / boy child
Ma / Hami I / We
Tapaii You
Yo / Tyo This / That


Verb bases (infinitive form) & Verb Conjugation

Janu                 To go  

Bolnu               To speak         
Aunu                To come     Roknu              To stop 
Basnu               To sit Hidnu               To walk
Khannu            To eat     Khelnu             To play
Rakhnu             To put    Sutnu                To sleep
Garnu               To do     Hernu               To see
Dinu                 To give Pewnu              To drink
Linu                  To take      Oothnu rise/wake up   
Kinnu               To buy  
Note: the order of sentences is reversed in Nepali. The conjugated verb is always last.
To politely ask someone to do something, add a ‘s’ to the verb base. Ex. Aunus / Basnus / Khannus - Please come / Please eat
Add ‘na’ at the beginning to make it negative Ex. Chinni narakhnus - Please don’t put sugar in (ex. the tea)
For first person action, drop the ‘u’ and add ‘choo’ and add ma ( I ) at the beginning Ex. Ma janchoo/ aunchoo/ baschoo - I am going / coming / sitting. It can also be understood for future action. I will go / come / sit.
For respectful past tense but not first person (I) just add bhaiyo to the verb base Ex. aunu bhaiyo / khannu bhaiyo - came / ate
For informal way of asking someone if they want to do something, drop ‘u’ and add ‘e’ ex. momo khanne? / Thamel jane? - Want to eat momos? / Want to go to Thamel?
Informal way of asking someone to join you in doing something, drop ‘nu’ and add ‘am’ Ex. Jaam / Basaam / Khaam - Let’s go / let’s sit / let’s eat
To combine two verbs, drop ‘u’ & add ‘a’ to first, and drop ‘u’ & add ‘chu to second. Ex. Ma auna sakchu - I can come


Useful Adjectives

Mahango / Sasto Expensive / Cheap
Ramro / Naramro Good / Bad
Sapha / Phohar Clean / Dirty
Thulo / Sano Big / Small
Sajilo / Gahro Easy / Hard
Thada / Najik Far / Close
Chito / Dhilo Fast / Slow
Tato / Cheeso Hot / Cold (for food)
Garmi / Jaado Hot / Cold (for weather)
Naya / Purano New / Old
Dhani / Garib Rich / Poor
Add ‘dherai’ to show ‘very’
Ex. Trekking dherai gahro cha Trekking is very hard
Question Words
Ke What
Kahaang Where
Kati How much
Kina / kinabhane Why / because
Kasko Whose
Kahile When
Kun Which
Kasari How
Kasto How (of quality)


Food adjectives
Mitho / namitho Tasty / Not tasty
Bhuteko Fried
Umaaleko Boiled
Noonilo Salty
Gooliyo Sweet
Amilo Sour
Tito Bitter
Piro Spicy
Food Items
Tarkari / Vegetables Gajur / Carrots
Kaulee / Cauliflower Bandakobi / Cabbage
Alu / Potato Makai / Corn
Saag / Spinach Kerau / Peas
Parsi / Pumpkin Pyaaj / Onion
Lasun / Garlic Kaankro / Cucumber
Simee / Beans Coursani / Chili
Adhuwa / Ginger Bhatamas / Soybean
Golbheraa / Tomato Dhal / Lentil
Bhadam / Peanut Kaju / Cashew
Mohar / Honey Bhat / Rice
Dudh / Milk Daihee / Yogurt
Pauroti / Bread (Loaf) Chapati / Bread (flat round)
Tel / Oil Noon / Salt
Chinni / Sugar  
Syaau / Apple Keraa / Banana
Nariwal / Coconut Angur / Grapes
Kagati / Lemon Aanp / Mango
Suntalaa / Orange Mewaa / Papaya
Masu / Meat Andaa / Egg
Macha / Fish Kukhura / Chicken
Kasi / Goat Sungur / Pork
Kalo chiya / Black tea Kagatiko chiya / Lemon tea
Dudh chiya / Milk tea Adhuwa chiya / Ginger tea
Kalo coffee / Black coffee Dudh chiya / Milk tea
Pani / water Umaleko pani / Boiled water
Raksi / Alcohol Toomba / Millet beer
Chyang / Rice beer Ras / Juice


Useful nouns

Bato / Road Pul / Bridge Des / Country Bajar / Market
Kotha / Room Gau / Village Khola / River Pasal / Shop
Khanna / Food Ghar / House Mithai / Sweets Koseli / Gift
Topee / Hat Jhola / Bag, pack Git / Song Kitaab / Book
Manche / Person Mancheharu / People Chorachori / Children Bideshi / Foreigner
Pariwar / Family Dharma / Religion    
1 / ek 6 / cha 15 / pandhra 50 / pachaase
2 / dui 7 / saat 20 / beece 60 / sathi
3 / tin 8 / aath 25 / pacheece 70 / sattari
4 / char 9 / nau 30 / teece 80 / assi
5 / panchs 10 / das 40 / chaleece 90 / nabbe
100 / ek saye 200 / dui saye 1000 ek hazar  
Expressions of Time
Aaja / Today Hijo / Yesterday Bholi / Tomorrow Ghanta / Hour
Din / Day Haptaa / Week Mahina / Month Barsa / Year
Bihaana / Morning Diunso / Afternoon Beluka / Evening Raatri / Night
Subha raatri Good night    
Kati bhajyo? What time is it? Ek bhajyo One o' clock



Add ‘ko’ to a formal name, pronoun to show possession Tapaiiko / Ann-Marie-ko / Didi-ko - Your / Ann-Marie’s / Didi’s (older sister’s)
Some pronouns have special forms Ma – Mero / Hami – Hamro - I – mine / We - Ours
______maa  / At, in, on          ex. Kathmandumaa / in Kathmandu
______baata / From ex. Kathmandubaata / from Kathmandu
______sanga / With ex. Ann-Mariesanga / with Ann-Marie
Baahira / Bhitra Outside / Inside
pachhi After
ra / and ani / and then
kinabhane / because tara / but
Idiomatic use of Bhaiyo
If someone asks is something was done, to indicate it was, simply answer ‘bhaiyo’
If someone is serving you food, to indicate enough, answer ‘bhaiyo’
Ke bhaiyo What happened?
Abera bhaiyo It’s late

Different ways to say Yes / No

1. Cha / Chainna To Locate something on you, to have something
ex. Chiya Cha? ex. Chiya Cha?
2. Ho / Hoina To state facts, truths, to define, to be or not to be
ex. Yo Thamel ho? Is this Thamel (tourist area of Kathmandu)?
3. Huncha / Hunna To agree to do/not do something, some action
ex. Momo khanne? Huncha. Shall we eat momos (dumplings)? Yes, let’s eat.
Cha / Chaiina & Ho / Hoina are also the active verb form for ‘to be’ conjugated as ‘I am / You are / He is. You can add ‘ho’ or ‘cha’ to make simple sentences.
Simple sample sentences
Thamel, kahaang ho? Where is Thamel?
Kahaang jane? Where are you going?
Esko kati parcha? How much does this cost? (useful in stores)
Kati ho? How much? (useful for asking taxi drivers)
Kahile jane? / kahile khanne? When are we going? When are we eating?
Tapaiiko ghar kahaang ho? Where is your home?
Mero ghar America-ma ho My home is in America
Ma ali-ali Nepali bolchu I only speak a little Nepali
Bistaari bhannus Please speak slowly
Tapaiiko bihe bhaiyo? Are you married? (your marriage happened?)
Mero bihe bhaiyo / bhayeko chaina? I am married / not married.(My marriage happened)
Ma American hun I am American
Jomsom jane baato kun ho? Which is the road to Jomsom? (Jomsom going road)
Ali sastoma dinus Please give it a little cheaper
Dherai mahango bhaiyo It’s very (too) expensive
Yo / tyo ke ho? What is this / that?
Ek raatiko kati ho? How much for one night?


Feelings and Emotions
Ma ______ lagyo / lagena. I feel / don’t feel ______.
Birami / sick Bhok / hungry
Raksi / drunk Thirkaa / thirsty
Khushee / happy Dukha / sad
Thakai / tired Alchee / lazy
Dar / scared Nindra / sleepy
Jaado / cold Garmi / hot
Other simple sentences
Tapaiilai ______ man parcha? Do you like ______?
Malai ______ man parcha. I like ______.
ex. Malai Nepali khanna man parcha. I like Nepali food.
To express that you like to do something, use a verb, drop the ‘u’ and add ‘a’
ex. Malai aath ghanta sutna man parcha. I like to sleep eight hours.
To express that you can do something, use a verb, drop the ‘u’ add ‘a’ and sakchu
Ex. Ma kotha herna sakchu. Can I see a room.
Malai ______ chahincha. I need ______ .
Malai ______ chahindaina I don’t need ______ .

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