As I am learning Nepali I have decided to write about what I am learning so others can share in the lessons and I can learn by teaching. A great student once taught stating that the greatest way to learn is to teach. Therefore, since learning Nepali is important to me, I would like to teach the lesson to you my fellow readers and writers.
It is important for pronunciation to be the foundation of learning a new language. When building a house you must lay the foundation first. In a language it is the same. You need to learn the pronunciation of the alphabet before you can attempt to learn the word. Without the proper pronunciation you may begin speaking Greek when your real intention is to speak Nepali.
Firstly, most of the pronunciation of the Nepali language is like the English language because the vowels and consonants are nearly the same.
There are 6 vowels in the Nepali language and two vowel combinations. The nasal vowels make up the rest of the vowels totaling at 15; whereas, the English language has five vowels.
The difference between nasal vowels and regular vowels are how they appear and how they are pronounced. When viewing the text you will see a Tilde(~) over the word. In order to pronounce this word, you must use your airstream, and speak out your nose.
Most musicians say not to be nasal sounding when you are singing but in this case you want that nasal sound. If you form a very weak “n” at the end of the syllable you may be able to form the nasal vowel better.
The vowels within the Nepali language are as follows:
Please note: I have no ability to make the tilde. So the tilde to the side represents a tilde over the letter(s.
A or is pronounced as in the “u” in cup
Ah or ~ ah is pronounced as in the “a” in father
I or ~ I is pronounced as in the “ee” as in see but pronounce the “ee” shorter
u or ~ u is pronounce as in the “u” in put
e or ~e is pronounced as in the “e” in bet
o is also pronounced as in the “o” in hot
Diphthongs are also known as vowel combination. These combinations consist of two vowels that are placed together and pronounced as a single syllable .these in the Nepali language may also need to be pronounced with a nasal sound.
These diphthongs in Nepali are:
Ai or ~ai is pronounced as in the “ai” as in aisle
au or ~ au is pronounced as in the “ow” as in vow but it is pronounced a bit shorter.
Now that you have read this, get out some flash cards and write the Nepali vowel on one side and highlight the pronunciation on the back. Study the pronunciation so that way you can pronounce the words right once you learn them.