Chet-Ji's Nepali Language Classes

By 5 years ago
Categories Pokhara

Coming to a country and barely speaking a word of the language can be an incredibly intimidating experience.  Luckily for us, we were able to take two Nepali language classes with Chet –Ji, who proved to be knowledgeable and remarkably patient teacher- necessary qualities when your students are so unfamiliar with the language.   

Chet-Ji taught us some basic Nepali phrases to get us started here, such as:

Hajur – a very useful all-purpose word meaning yes, pardon or a response to being called.

Dherai ramro or ali ali ramro – very good or a little good

Mitho cha – It’s delicious (one of our most used phrases, given the amazing food we’ve been eating!)

As well as basic introductions:

Mero naam­ ___________ ho – My name is __________

Mero ghar ____________ ho – I’m from ____________

Our lessons with Chet – Ji didn’t just help us with Nepali language, they also helped us to understand Nepali culture a little better and saved us from making some embarrassing cultural faux pas. For example he taught us what items we should bargain for, such as tourist goods, clothing and souvenirs and which we should pay full price for. He also taught us about ‘Nepali Time’. Here in Nepal, time is a little more relaxed, and it’s common for people to be over an hour late without causing offence. In fact, to get annoyed with someone for being late would be more likely to cause offence.

Another important part of our Nepali lesson was learning how to pronounce some of the sounds in Nepali that were unfamiliar to us. Subtle differences in what seemed to us to be the same word completely change the meaning. One of our favourite stories Chet – Ji told us about a foreign doctor working in Nepal. After asking a patient to return in two days, he was surprised to see her back the following day carrying a pumpkin. It turns out ha had pronounced the Nepali word for the day after tomorrow wrong and instead said pumpkin!

So, to use our new favourite Nepali phrase: Pharsi betaulaa (see you pumpkin!)

From Lovisa (8wks), May (12wks) and Alison (4wks) volunteers