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 Nepalese Accent !!!

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Posted on 06-19-09 4:06 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Lets talk about our accents.

What causes it and is there a way to improve it?

 Is there a need to improve one's accent to the accent of the country he is in?

Why do Nepalese act like they have a better accent than other foreigner's, lets take an example of Indian accent although both may sound the same for a Native?

Why do Nepalese take their own language lightly. We were never taught to pronounce our own words correctly by our teachers or parents. For eg we do not know Rashwa and Dirgha or the difference between SH and S, YA and A, O and WO and such.

By no means i am trying to be a smartass or demeaning to anyone with this thread. Lets see if we can make this thread informative or entertaining.


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Posted on 06-23-09 2:20 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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this thread is getting really interesting. I am very glad to learn that we actually are ready to take a step towards linguistic intelligence. In my opinion, optimal and correct pronunciation of letters display elegance, maturity and language discipline.  This makes you wanna express more with higher confidence, thereby presenting ourselves on an international arena with great enthusiasm.

I agree with dyamn on what he says about english being our secondary language, we naturally have accent problem. If corrected in childhood its ammendable orelse adulhood correction becomes really difficult. But I have to disagree with dyamn again when he says saying santi is nepali way. and saying shanti is an indian way. You can cross check asking to pronounce 'shanti' to any other language speaker. He/she will definately say शान्ती not सान्ती. Moreover, this defeats the purpose of having श in our own वर्णमाला. The very existence of श in our own nepali language has been ill-used and that misuse can't be called a nepali way in my point of view.

Posted on 06-23-09 4:41 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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If we closely look at the history of languages in the world, it is quiet apparent that languages and pronunciations evolve differently in different cultures and over the time. Accents and pronunciations are often trends of a culture and sometimes such trends do not necessarily follow the book of its originality. Although it would be nice to maintain the standardization to its originality for ease of communication, it is almost impossible to do so when people practicing the language are not interacting in a daily basis. An example of such difference would be British ways of pronouncing words Vs American ways of pronouncing the same words. I think the wise thing to do would be to pronounce the foreign words or at least humbly try to pronounce them as a native speaker would do when if you in their country.

             As far as pronouncing Sha goes, yes I believe one should try to say shanti if speaking Hindi. There are lots of words in English where letters are silent or pronounce differently than they are spelled. I am sure there must be lots of words like that in Hindi as well. Since the native speakers accept such pronunciations, they become trends and they almost become unwritten rules of the language. I believe that if an Indian corrects a Nepali on how he should be saying Shanti in Hindi, then the Nepali should appreciate his effort to correction and try to say Shanti as the Indian would. However if he trys to tell you that you should be saying Shanti while using the word santi in Nepali then he is forgetting the fact that Nepali is not Hindi and Nepali language can have its own trends.

Last edited: 23-Jun-09 04:43 AM

Posted on 06-23-09 8:07 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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I completely agree with you about the correct usage of 'sa' and 'sha' in our barnamala'. Nepali language in its spoken form is quite corrupted as it is now. That correcting Indian guy was indeed right about pronouncing the word "Shanti" with a "sh".

There is only one way to pronounce each word in the Nepali language (in Hindi and Sanskrit language too, for that matter) because we have separate consonants (ka, kha, ga ...31 letters) and separate vowels (uh, aa, e, ee, u, uu, eh, ai ..12 letters) that we couple each consonant against each vowel to capture every possible sound of words in the language. Thus we get, ka kaa, ke, kee, ku, kuu....and then kha, khaa, khe, khee...and so on until the rest of the consonants get their turns. Thus again, the bottom-line is - there is one and only one way to correctly pronounce each word in Nepali, Hindi or Sanskrit. So next day, if a Indian Guy with this knowledge comes and reads the Gorkha-patra before you, he should be able to pronounce it just like Nepali-perfect you, even though he may not be able to understand every word.

Americam English language is adopted as a primary language by the immigrants from every corner of the world who had grown up writing and speaking a different mother-tongue they tend to simplify the language so that they can learn it easily. Probably that's why so many difficult or redundantly spelt British English words evolved into simpler ones- like "cheque" in British English got modified to "check" in American English. There are so many others like Colour Vs Color, Catalogue Vs Catalog. Similarly, a big chunk of the Nepali households have a tribal language other than Nepali. Therefore the ones who did not undergo proper Nepali education tend to corrupt or over-simplify the language to the point where the grammar or usage of vocabulary gets screwed up.
Even that popular song '"paani khaane nihule (or niule) timro ghar-maa aaulaa, mauka miley raani bun-maa ghumna jaaulaa...". "Paani pani katai kasaile khaanchha?, sirif paani piuchha po ta".

I have a belief that cuisine and language are two of the most authentic characteristics of any culture and tradition. Therefore, when an adopter comes along, he or she needs to start from learning the letters of the alphabet, then grammar and then go from there. That's a great foundation to build upon to learn, and preserve the authenticity of the language both in written and spoken forms. In general, even though, one might have learned to speak a new language fluently, if there is no written knowledge of the language, sooner or later that person is going to run into constant road blocks as he proceeds along.

And to each Sajhaite who spell the word "loser" as "looser", you are a loser indeed!
Just like that correction-happy Indian guy, I can't help correcting the next person once in a while.

Last edited: 23-Jun-09 10:04 AM

Posted on 06-23-09 8:43 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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You have a point there. I don't have an MA in English but I gotta tell you this about that guy who was insulting you by saying you speak like a dhoti
I have done my schooling both in India and Nepal. What I have noticed might come as a surprise to our egos on the contrary. Indian people in general have better pronunciation of English words than our Nepali counterparts do even though I thought they have a much heavier accent. I don't blame Nepalese for that because India has been exposed to English since the Nineteenth century. At that time there was hardly any school in Nepal for the common people let alone colleges.

Posted on 06-23-09 9:57 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Thanks for participating on this thread actively and constructively.

When i originated this thread i was afraid to get few hate responses
back as some of us tend to associate English Language Skill as a
reflection of their intelligence. I have seen people trying to trying
to imply the level of their English language as the level of their
intellectualism and their wisdom. Our culture has directly correlated
English language with Education.

In my personal opinion, Learning English is nothing different as
learning Maithali, Newari, Hindi, French, or German. Of course these
other languages are not as popular and lucrative than English language
for us Nepalese but its nothing special than any other language. I have
seen Nepalese who are shy speaking broken English but never shy whatsoever to speak bad Hindi or Bad Newari, or even German or French.

After a boring speech above....coming back to the point


I agree with your sentiments. But the main issue i have with our
language, teachers, parents, and culture has was, if the DEVNAGARI
provided the letters such as S, SH, and SHA why arent we using it. If
we had vowels like e, ee, yi, u, oo, o, wo, in our Devnagari letters
why weren't we taught of those??? Why did the culture accept the corruption of speech?? Why did the teachers didn't bother to teach???
why didn't the parents raise questions????

Someone brought up the issue with English and American accents, again i
have no issue with the accents with an exception to some vowels among English speaking countries....but my issue has been pronouncing the
letters...regardless of what accents each country has they still
pronounce the letters correctly. The initial sound of the letter is
always the same.


I agree with you that Indians really do have better pronunciation than
us Nepalese, have you noticed how a Gore understands an Indian at the
first attempts but it takes him several attempts to understand a
Nepali. Indians have the pronunciation steps down. We adapt the the
local Accent Rhythm faster but we lack pronunciation skills.


Posted on 06-23-09 1:35 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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TM, your information is hilariously informative. You have brought up couple of interesting analogies, like "eating water", its become a part of our culture now. Can something be done about it? at least for the future generations?, we adults are all doomed to choose the corrupted way but I think bringing awareness at this time would benefit our future generations. Every school and teaching institutions in nepal have to be regulated to be taught in proper way.

Dyamn, I really dont like the way an indian speaks english, but at least they have to be rewarded for discipline in correct pronunciation.  Many ancient hindi speakers may have had the same problems that we have now(my random guess), but gradual exposure and influence of urdu, english and lots of other languages in india might have shaped up urban hindi speakers to pronounce properly in today's context. Similarly foreign language exposed nepali speakers are also following the trend now. Language is dynamic and keeps evolving as you said but to choose and accept whats already proven wrong and to folllow the trend would be not so beneficial while we want to learn more. As sidster says

 "but my issue has been pronouncing the letters...regardless of what accents each country has they still pronounce the letters correctly. The initial sound of the letter is always the same." 

suggests a very strong point and should be paid heed upon.

Last edited: 23-Jun-09 01:47 PM

Posted on 06-23-09 3:57 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Once we have a mass exodus of Neps into the US some fine day into the future, and we end up having a few million peeps here then the Nepali accent would surely not seem outta the norm anymore.  Damn, we've come into terms with Ebonics and Spanglish (can hear Hispanics call each other "stooopid" ever time I ride the 7 to Jackson Heights), so who cares what is the right American way to pronounce words anymore??  Stick to pronouncing your words with the "ks" before the "sk" (decks instead of DESK) and also "sooj" instead of SHOES as  I or anyone out there could care less...We've much more to worry about than how someone else goes to a restaurant and orders "fiss" instead of FISH1

IMO, Just present your words with confidence as I could really give a damn about what anyone would think.  Confidence reeking outta you is what makes any "accent" out there sexay for the opposite sex!!!

Posted on 06-23-09 4:12 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Posted on 06-23-09 7:43 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Great post in Sajha!

I'm having the same problem here. I try and get how to distinguish the pronunciation of two words (e.g. "S" & "SH" , "O" & "WA"  ) but I completely forget it after a day. Sometimes I feel so pathetic.

Posted on 06-23-09 7:54 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Nepalese have been known to make common mistakes using the word "LOSE" and "LOOSE" eg. You are a LOSER (not a LOOSER)
"THEN" and "THAN" eg. I am better THAN him (not better THEN him)
"Anyways" is wrong it should be "Anyway"

Posted on 06-24-09 12:27 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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deleted for double posting... see below

Last edited: 24-Jun-09 12:28 AM
Last edited: 24-Jun-09 12:29 AM

Posted on 06-24-09 12:27 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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nice thread. what about these... spoken differently from written. short cut? i've always wondered.

write चाबहिल (as in place) but say चाबेल्. i've hardly met any nepali who says
चाबहिल. but it's always written that way.

बिया (marriage) garyo/bhayo. we never write बिया in nepali but say it all the time. as we all know, it is usually written as विवाह्.

सरकार is written that way but people always say
सरखार. when king birendra used to give speeches (budget or something like that) he used to say "mero sarkhar le..."

i am sure there are many more.

Posted on 06-24-09 5:24 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Thanks sidster for such a great thread and for all those who are participating on it actively.

It had been a while that a good subject had not been debated here in sajha without degenerating it into an exchange of insults. 

Anyway, TM, you are completely right to say that a strength and depth of a culture is highly measured by it's language and cuisine. Look at french people, their culture is/was one of the best known and copied in the world. One of the reasons is due to their highly rich and famous language and cuisine. While living in France for a while few years ago, I realized how seriously they took their language. I was told by almost every french I met that seeing and hearing a badly written french with an exception from a foreigner was very bad to the taste. And it could even disgust people and show a level of one's intelect.

I think in Nepal, we have a greater need to enforce proper learning of nepali langauge. Everything in our language is greatly ignored as long as it gets you through.

As for nepalese having difficulty with english pronouncation, Sh and Sha, as in "shower" and "sour" seems to be a common one.

The other one is "edge". We tend to pronounce it as "ege" while completely forgetting the "d".

Posted on 06-24-09 6:29 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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यो धागो धेरै नै ज्ञानवर्दक छ ।

Keep enlighting confused souls like me

thank you all 

Posted on 07-01-09 8:22 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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I was not stressing on having a similar accent as Americans, Brits, or Aussies. I wanted to debate on the misuse of Pronunciation of the letters that are there in Devanagari, For most of us i think the reason why we cannot pronounce the letters correctly is because we are accustomed to bad pronunciation from our own Devanagari. You are correct no one should  feel ashamed for saying "stoopid" vs "Stewpid". But sometimes you may run into a position that expects you to say "Stewpid" and not "Stoopid" in that case saying it right pays more that saying it wrong. Other than that we are only trying to see if we have a fun/informational debate on linguistics.


Your comment leans more towards Wrong English than Accent or  bad pronunciation.


I understand what you are saying. We do have some sort of " Manpari" in our spoken language. Not that the other languages don't have it either, for eg: Americans saying Gonna and Wanna. But in our case it seems that we go the " manpari" route excessively. In additions sometimes we do not even know the original word, for eg Chabahil for Chabel.

As a general comment, i would say that the "manpari" in our own first language also reflects the "manpari" we do in the second language we try to learn.

Some more words that are often heard differently

Work/ Ork


Yatch/ At


One/ Own




Posted on 02-20-11 4:47 PM     [Snapshot: 4749]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Since we have bunch of new threads on languages, sounds and Accents...i thought it would be a good time to revive this thread to see if there would be any new thoughts on it.

Posted on 02-20-11 8:23 PM     [Snapshot: 5011]     Reply [Subscribe]
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 This thread is hilarious and very interesting. I would like to share a couple of things too.
1. Some of my friends always pronounced 's' before the 'k' in every word when it is supposed to be the other way around. e.g. Riksha (rishka), vicks (vishk) and some do it the other way like desk (deks) and disk (dicks) like someone mentioned above.

2. I had a friend who pronounced "e" in the word "pet" long and it sounded like "I like to keep a पेट . 

3. About mistaking one word for another like the awful/awesome example above. A friend of mine who happens to be a doctor had a peson say to him," डाक्टर साहब, मेरो श्रीमतीलाई pregnant बनाइ दिनुपर्‍यो। (he meant to say delivery). 

4. i have a distant niece who happens to be half white and one day she said to her dad and me, "You guys cannot pronounce "s" by itself." I told her it's a South Asian thing and had to show her the "ispider man" song on youtube for verification.Luckily, I happen to have adapted to the hissing sound in school, style, sprite, schedule etc.

5. about "shanti" and "santi", here's what I have to say. The Nepali language itself does not contain any श and ष. We only have paatalo "sa" in Nepali and all the words that contain श and ष are तत्सम words from Sanskrit. eg. If you say ten in Sanskrit, it is दशम् but when you convert it in Nepali it is दस and not दश. These are called  तद्भव words. A pure Nepali word will only have "paatalo sa" e.g. कोसिस and not कोशिश. But having said that, I believe that, we Nepalese should try to pronounce "Sh" and "S" correctly when we are speaking Hindi and "Shanti" being a "tansam" should be pronounced with a "Sh". Thats the whole reason of having श and ष in Nepali "Varnamala".

6. There is a difference between how Nepalese and Indians pronounce and write some words. I don't think we Nepalis are necessarily wrong in every case although there are few places where we seem to require some adaptation. 
e.g. When asked to write "fax" in our language to an Indian friend and me at work, here's how each of us wrote it. 
me: फ्यक्स 
indian: फैक्स 

7. I think there many words that are widely misspelled by many Nepalese with various frequencies. "Loser" (misspelled nearly by 90% my guess) is by far the best example. Some other are definately for definitely(50%), then for than (30-40%), judgement for judgment (60%) collage for college (10-20%), grammer for grammar (10-20%) etc. 

8. Some words like बिहे, ह्याँ, चितौन, उकील (वकील) etc. are some commonly used that they are accepted as a correct alternative form.

Thanks for making this post so great. Cheers!

Posted on 02-20-11 10:37 PM     [Snapshot: 5186]     Reply [Subscribe]
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here's one more:

r u ishtupid?

Posted on 02-21-11 10:50 AM     [Snapshot: 5612]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Look at the Prime Minister of Nepal saying uttering "SH"  (moto SHA) sound for every single "S" sound that is out there. Remember how much fun media use to make for Bush not saying the words properly. This PM has no shame on uttering his mother tounge so wrong and rampantly. He probably does not even know he has this problem. It is just insane..to hear him talk like that and even more insane that there is not one entity that points the issue. I bet if some comedian picks this up and makes fun of him he would be aware of his problem.


< title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LiTD1vBzqj4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

Last edited: 21-Feb-11 10:54 AM

Posted on 02-21-11 10:28 PM     [Snapshot: 5951]     Reply [Subscribe]
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 at 12:50 on that video, the girl is saying "pardhanmantri" :)

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