Nepal Language and LanguagesEdit This Page
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The national language of Nepal is known as "Nepali". According to the most recent official census, conducted by His Majesty's Government of Nepal (HMG) in 2001, Nepal is home to around 20 million speakers of Nepali. Nepali is the mother tongue for 11 million people, and a lingua franca for many more. Outside of Nepal, Nepali is also spoken in northeast India and in much of Bhutan. On account of its widespread use in the states of West Bengal (particularly in the district of Darjeeling) and Sikkim, the Indian Constitution recognizes Nepali as a major language of India. In Bhutan, while Dzongkha is the national language, Nepali is widely spoken by people from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Nepali is an Indo-Aryan language, and thus part of a linguistic grouping which includes other South Asian languages such as Hindi, Bengali, Marathi and Gujarati. Modern Indo-Aryan languages are related to Sanskrit, much as modern European languages are related to Latin. To find out more about South Asian languages, visit the South Asian Linguistics website maintained by Dr. John Peterson. Nepali is written in the Devanagari (or 'Nagari') script, which is also used for Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit. Nepali Devanagari has 11 vowels and 33 consonants. The script is essentially phonetic, meaning that the pronunciation closely resembles the writing system. The script is written from left to right, with a top line indicating the word boundaries. In order to view or input the Devanagari script in a digital context, it is necessary to have a Devanagari font installed on one's computer or to have a computer which is Unicode compliant.