Tag Archives: language

Hello Friend (Multi-lingual Edition)

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Someone found their way to my site today by Googling “hello friend in many languages” and although I’ve already addressed “hello friend” in Nepali, I thought I would address this in every language I can say this phrase in.

“Namaste Saathi” -Nepali

“Namaste Mitra” – Hindi

“Hola, Amigo(a)”- Spanish

“Bonjour mon Ami” – French

“Jambo, Bwana” – Swahili

“Ni Hao, Pengyou” – Mandarin

“Hallo, Freund” – German

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Nepalimaa “you are sweet” bhannata?

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Another day to answer a question of “how do you say____in Nepali?” Today’s google search was how to say, “you are sweet.” This is a tough one because the word sweet “gooliyo” only applies to taste in Nepali. To say “timro gooliyo ho,” would make you sound like a canibal, or terribly inappropriate at best.

So, lets focus on the likely intention of the English phrase, “you are sweet.” in this context, the speaker is usually saying, “you are kind” or “you are generous”. In this case, I believe the best phrase to use is “Timi kasto daya chhau.” I am not sure if you should use daya or dayalu in this phrase, so please chime in, Nepali speakers. Dayalu definitely has a greater lean towards the meaning “generous” than just kind. I hope this answers the seeker’s questions.

update: “Timi kasto dayalu chhau” is the best way to do this.

Singing to Learn Nepali

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I am a strong believer in singing to learn. I believe that singing embeds material in your mind in a way that you can’t even comprehend. Anytime I am learning anything new, I try to sing it. I still know all the presidents of the US in chronological order thanks to a song I learned in the 11th grade to pass my AP American History exam. If it wasn’t for singing, my Nepali and Hindi pronunciation wouldn’t be nearly as decent as it is.
I’ve had native speakers of Nepali, Hindi, Mandarin, French, and Spanish tell me that my sing pronunciation sound so much more authentic (less American) than they would have presupposed. It helps that part of my job is singing songs from other cultures so I am working on loosening that tongue. Today I accidentally found a great resource for learning Nepali songs: http://lyricsofnepalisong.blogspot.com/ and I am sharing it with you for your joy. Some of the songs listed were already in my iTunes library. Happy singing!

Rang Seeksha: A Lesson in Color

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ImageI’m writing to share some of the fun and joy of my new job. The lesson plan I did for Nepali was for colors. This is my display for the parents with examples of Nepali writing. I hope I didn’t make any mistakes. I explained to them how the words were pronounced and even made a video with the pronunciations that went on our school website. This is so exciting! So there you have it, Nepali for infants and toddlers! 😀

ImageI even wrote all the student’s names in Nepali and hung them on the wall to see if parents could pick them out with what they learned in the class. My parents were paying attention because many of them were able to figure out their child’s name on the first try. How awesome is that?!

Writing a Nepali/English Children’s Book

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I’m putting this idea as a sounding board for ideas (and hopefully language corrections). As part of my teaching position, I am incorporating the Nepali language. My first lesson on this is in three weeks. I will be teaching basic colors. The colors I am teaching are black (Kalo), blue (nilo), green (hariyo), yellow (pahenlo), red (rato), and orange (suntala).

Since this is a baby book, think those thick board books that babies chew on, I’m planning on keep it very very simple. With hopes that nobody steals my book and sells it to a publisher, here’s the idea of the text.

Little baby on the first page, thinking to himself. “I am lonely, I am going to find some new friends.”

Next page, little baby meets a new baby and says “Hello baby, I see you are wearing a green shirt. I like hariyo. Let’s be friends.”

Opposing page.
Green shirt baby says to first baby. “I see you are wearing a kalo shirt. I like black. Yes, lets be friends.”

Turn page.
Green shirt baby meet a new baby. One says, “Hello saathi. I see you are wearing a pahelo shirt. I like pahelo. Let’s be friends.”

Opposing page.

“You like my yellow shirt? I like your hariyo shirt and your kalo shirt. Yes, lets be friends.”

Turn page.

Babies meet new baby. One says “K cha, saathi. I see you are wearing an orange shirt. Malai suntala rang man parcha. Let’s be friends.”

Opposing page.

“Timilai mero suntala rang ko shirt man parcha? I like your kalo shirt and your hariyo shirt and your panhelo shirt. Ho, lets be friends.”

turn page.

Babies meet new baby. One says, “Namaste bao. I see you are wearing a rato shirt.” Malai rato man parcha. Sathi haru garaam.”

Opposing page.

“You like my rato shirt? Malai timro kalo shirt , timro hariyo shirt and timro pahelo shirt pani mann parcha.  Sathi haru garaam.”

Last page.

First baby says. “Malai mero naya sathi haru man parcha, Yes I really like my new friends.”

So, my biggest question is…would “sathi haru garaam” be the best way to say, “let’s be friends”? Is bao the best way to spell baby in Nepali? And because I ALWAYS get mixed up between Malai, Timilai, and Maile, Timle…are those right? Is it right to use timi, or should I be using tapaii? Any other words of advice?

Copyleft: 2012
Creative Commons License
Timro man partun by Padmini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://padminisvorga.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/writing-a-nepalienglish-childrens-book/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://www.facebook.com/padmi.shivaya.

Butterfly effect of a baby born in Kathmandu and 32 infants now learning Nepali.

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Here’s the chain of events. 

Newari boy born to a set of parents in Kathmandu back in the 80’s, right around the same time a girl is born in a southern state of the US. 

Newari boy grows up to be a daring, America loving guy that graduates at the top of his boarding school class and jumps on a plane to the US for two more years of high school.

Same boy comes back for college and meets that American girl (me).

Boy charms girl and girl falls in love with boy and his Nepali/Newari heritage. 

Girl gets a cool job after college working with babies and is told by her boss to incorporate any languages she knows. 

Thanks to Newari boy, girl now has a little bit of Nepali knowledge and a tiny bit of Newari. Boss, says go for it, develop some lessons incorporating Nepali and Newari. 

So, almost thirty years after boy and girl are born, a set of babies and their parents are now learning Nepali children’s songs, lullabies, and words for body parts, colors, animals, and commands like “eat, drink, sleep”. 

Boy thinks he came to the US to learn at American schools. Now he’s inspired American kids to learn about Nepal, maybe in 20 years, just one of these American babies will find themselves in Nepal charming a Nepali youth the way the boy in this story charmed an American. I love the butterfly effect. 

Svorga means Heaven

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One of the first Nepali words I was ever taught was Heaven. I don’t remember all the details of this particular exchange. My very first word was “Buddha” as in, the person. I was talking about Buddha one day with Shiva (former lover) and he informed me that I was saying “Budah” which I was told meant, husband. This is how our relationship began, with weeks, no months of him staring at me placing his tongue in the right spot to show me how to make the right “dha” sound and me staring him right back, never making the right “dha” sound and always making the wrong “Da” sound.
Perhaps it was staring at each others lips, tongue, and overall mouth for three months that led to the first kiss, but it was that first kiss that led to the first trip. And it was on that trip, I was introduced to Svorga. We stumbled across a paradise. A place to sleep that had its own spring, a waterfall, rope beds in the trees for us to sleep and play in. And we both were certain that we’d died and found our own Svorga. The whole trip just fell into being, not being an exact certainty until the day we found each other in my car driving to…um…paradise? We weren’t even sure when we got in the car, where we’d be, where we’d go, where we’d sleep. We just knew that we were together and we needed nothing else in the world.
That word has stayed in my head ever sense. There is a small possibility its a Newari word, because I was taught many on both sides of the Nepal Bhasa and Nepali Bhasa fence. All I know, is that I’ve fallen from Heaven and ache to return home. And since Heaven is only a place in my mind, all I’ve got is my own Svorga to exist in.