Nepalese (Nepali)

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Swayambhu Maha Chaitya, Katmandou, Népal
Swayambhu Maha Chaitya, Katmandou, Népal © Igor Ovsyannykov‎

Discover the language

Nepali is the official language of Nepal, as well as that of the Indian state of Sikkim and the district of Darjeeling (West Bengal) in the northeast of the Indian Union. It is also spoken in the Indian states of Assam and Meghalaya, as well as in large parts of Bhutan. Nepali is spoken by over thirty-five million people, only a third of whom are native Nepalese. Although originally the language of the Indo-Nepalese Khas population group, Nepali, with its wide influence, serves as lingua franca throughout the Himalayas, and its study is able to provide access to the exceptional cultural diversity of much of the Himalayan range and its southern foothills.

Nepali is an Indo-Aryan language related to the languages of the northern Indian subcontinent, notated as hindi using the devanāgarī alphabet. It is partly derived from sanskrit, from which it borrows part of its lexicon, but has its own structure influenced by regional dialects. Possessing many registers of language, from the more sustained used in the press, education and administration, to the more popular used in everyday life, it is a language with rich and varied possibilities of expression.

Studying Nepali at Inalco

Studying Nepali at Inalco's South Asia and Himalayas Department gives you access to a thousand-year-old culture of great social and religious complexity: codified social exchanges, a rich family and community life, numerous festivals that punctuate the year... It also gives you an insight into an abundant artistic and intellectual production. Numerous traditional arts are perpetuated, not only the visual arts, but also the performing arts (music, song, dance, theater), which continue to punctuate gatherings. Nepalese literature, little-known in the West, has continued to evolve since the XIXth century, with the emergence of original and innovative talents. Moreover, the search for a new multi-ethnic system of government is the scene of unprecedented political and social experimentation, giving rise to numerous debates that animate the whole of society.

Course objectives and career opportunities

LLCER training in Nepali enables the acquisition of advanced oral and written language skills, complemented by a sound knowledge of the contemporary and past Himalayan cultural milieu, extended to the Indian subcontinent. At the end of a three-year course, the graduate will:

  • have acquired the linguistic means and cultural knowledge necessary for prolonged immersion in a Nepali-speaking environment,
  • be able to interact with ease in conversation about material, cultural, political and social life.
  • will be able to read the mainstream press and literature.

He/she will also have acquired supporting training that will enable him/her to use methodological and disciplinary tools necessary in professional life as well as in the pursuit of Master's studies.