What Is The Language Spoken In Nepal?

language of nepal

What Is The Language Spoken In Nepal?

What Is The Language Spoken In Nepal?

(Last Updated On: December 19, 2023)

Language Locals Speak In Nepal

If you’re planning on traveling to Nepal, you might be wondering what language the Nepali people speak in Nepal. While there are multiple languages spoken in Nepal, the official language spoken in Nepal today is Nepali, which belongs to the Indo-Aryan family of languages and was first used as a written language in the 17th century. The Nepali language is predominant among the Nepalese population and serves as a unifying factor in this beautiful country. In the Himalayan region, Nepali speakers constitute a significant portion of the population, contributing to the rich linguistic diversity within Nepal Mandala. Despite various languages spoken, Nepali remains the single language that unites the Nepalese people across different ethnicities and regions. Jumla Sign Language is also used within specific communities, but Nepali, as an Indo-European language, holds prominence among Nepalese speakers across the nation.

So, to satisfy you curiosity and give answers to your questions, below, we take a look at the languages that you’ll hear when traveling through the various regions of Nepal. If you need any kind of document translation service read out this blog post.

History of the Nepali language

Nepali is the national language of Nepal, spoken by around 17 million people. It is closely related to Hindi and shares many features with other South Asian languages. Nepali has a long history, with roots in Sanskrit and Pali. The language was first spoken in the 7th century and has been through many changes over the centuries.

In the 18th century, it became the administrative language of Nepal. The first Nepali grammar was written in the early eighteenth century, and the first Nepali newspaper was published in 1814.

In the 19th century, Nepali was made the official language of Nepal. Today, it is one of the 23 official languages of India. Alongside its use as a local and regional language, Nepali is used as an Indo-Aryan language throughout much of the Indian subcontinent. The Nepalese people take immense pride in their beautiful country, Nepal Mandala, nestled in the Himalayan Region. The Nepali population comprises speakers of this single language, forming a significant part of the Indo-European language family.

Historically, Nepali has had strong ties to Maithili and Avadhi; however, today these languages are largely limited to their own regions of northern India and Nepal respectively.

Due to its close similarity to Hindustani (Hindi), most speakers of Hindustani can understand Nepali when they hear it on the radio or see it on television or read a headline in the paper. In 2008, a Language Commission was formed to promote linguistic diversity in Nepal.

language spoken in nepal

Classification of Languages in Nepal

Nepal has three main language groups – Nepali, Maithili, and Bhojpuri. There are also many minority languages spoken in Nepal, such as Tharu, Tamang, Newari, and Gurung.

The language you hear spoken most often in Nepal will depend on which part of the country you are in. In the capital city of Kathmandu, for example, Nepali is the most commonly spoken language.

languages spoken in nepal

The Official Language of Nepal

Nepali is the official language of Nepal. It is an Indo-Aryan language and one of the 48 Indo-European languages.

Nepali is the national and common language of Nepal and is spoken by native speakers of Nepali History. In the 20th century, Nepal saw a shift from its indigenous languages to Nepali as the common language.

Other Major Languages Spoken in Nepal

Even though Nepali is the official language, not all people speak it fluently. There are also other major Nepalese languages such as Tibetan languages (spoken by about 2% of people) and Sino-Tibetan languages (spoken by about 8% of people).

Other common native languages include Newari, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tharu, and others. However, there are also many other languages spoken in Nepal, such as Sherpa, Tamang, Pahari, and Gurung. English is also widely spoken, especially in business and tourism. Each of these languages and series of dialects have its own unique history and culture.

Do Many People Learn English As A Second Language In Nepal?

There are many languages spoken in Nepal, and the native tongue of the Nepal people is just one of them. English is also spoken by many people in Nepal, as it is the language of commerce and education. However, there are also many people who learn English as a second language.

When you visit the country for the first time, you might be surprised to find that Nepali is not the only language you will hear! English speakers will be able to communicate easily with the locals because English is taught in schools from an early age. In addition to Nepali and English, various mother tongues are heard, reflecting the multilingual diversity ingrained in Nepalese culture. This linguistic variety showcases the rich tapestry of Dravidian languages coexisting harmoniously, enhancing the intricate fabric of communication. The language barrier is somewhat mitigated by the prevalence of bilingualism, creating a more inclusive environment where language skills are celebrated. This linguistic plurality is akin to the multilingual countries where different dominant languages coexist, resembling the linguistic diversity observed in regions like West Bengal. Despite Nepali holding the official language status and being the primary language, the federal level also acknowledges and respects the prominence of Dravidian languages, emphasizing their cultural and historical significance. A common greeting in Nepal might not just be in Nepali, but could be exchanged in any of the Dravidian languages, emphasizing the depth of linguistic heritage within the country.

nepal official language
what is the language of nepal

Useful Words and Phrases in Nepali

Here are some useful words and phrases in Nepali that you can use when traveling in Nepal. It’s a foreign language, but you’ll be able to figure it out with these words!

Om = I bow to you
Hello = Hello
Namaste = I bow to the divine within you
Yes = Yes
No = No
Thank You = Thank You


Which language is mostly spoken in Nepal?

The majority of people living in Nepal speak Nepali. However, there are over 100 different languages spoken throughout the country.

What are the top 3 languages spoken in Nepal?

The three most common languages are Nepali, Maithili, and Bhojpuri. Nepali is the national language and is spoken by the majority of the population.

Is Nepali the same as Hindi?

No, Nepali is not the same as Hindi, though it has many loan words from Hindi. However, Nepali and Hindi are not mutually intelligible neither can they be said to the same language.

How many languages are spoken in Nepal?

Nepal is a linguistically diverse country, with 123 different languages spoken. About 44.6% of Nepal’s population spoke Nepali as their first language. While many people in Nepal speak more than one language, Nepali is the language that unites the country.

Is Nepali an Indian language?

Nepali is part of the Indo-Aryan family of languages, which means it shares a common ancestry with Hindi and other Indian languages. However, Nepali has been heavily influenced by Tibetan and Sanskrit, so it sounds quite different from its Indian cousins.

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