Lowlands-L Anniversary Celebration

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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...


Nepali (Nepalese)

Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, where India meets Tibet

Language information: Nepali (also known as “Nepalese,” “Gorkhali,” “Gurkhali,” “Khaskura” or “Parbatiya”) is the main language of Nepal, currently being used by nearly twelve million people. It is the native language of about half of Nepalis, namely of those that inhabit the country’s lowlands. Other Nepalis, most of whom are native speakers of Tibeto-Burman languages, use Nepali as a second language.
     In addition, Nepali is used as a lingua franca in the Darjeeling region of Western Bengal, in Sikkim, in Bhutan and in parts of Tibet. It came into its own right as a literary language in the 19th century as Literary Sanskrit was losing ground.
     Nepali is one of the eastern members of the Pahari subgroup of Indo-Aryan. Like its Indo-Aryan cousins Hindi, Marathi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Bihari, Bhili, Konkani, Bhojpuri and their ancestor Sanskrit, it is written with the Devanāgarī (“devine royal city”) script (seen on the inital Nepali translation page).

Most languages of the Indian subcontinent have a dental and
a retroflex consonant series where European languages have
only one. Most Germanic and Slavonic languages have only
an alveolar series for t, d, n, r and l, most Romance and
Celtic languages only a dental one.

               Like closely related languages, Nepalese has two noteworthy phonological features: aspiration of both voiceless and voiced plosives and, probably owing to an ancient Munda or Dravidian substrate, a retroflex series of consonants. Furthermore, it has two contrastive series of consonants where European languages have only one. It has a dental series (in which the tip of the tongue touches the front teeth) and a retroflex series (in which the tip of the tongue is bend back or ALL languages and dialects are beautiful, precious gifts. So cherish yours and others! Share them with the world!upward to touch an area behind the alveolar ridge). They lack a corresponding alveolar series, which is the default in Germanic languages. In rendering loanwords and names from English and other Germanic languages, speakers of Nepalese and related languages thus must choose dental or retroflex substitution. Interestingly, they tend to choose the retroflex series since it sounds more closely related to them. This is why retroflexion is a striking characteristic of South Asian “accents” in English.

Genealogy: Indo-European > Indo-Iranian > Indo-Aryan > Northern > Pahari > Eastern

Historical Lowlands language contacts: English

    Click to open the translation: [Click] Click here for different versions. >

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn

© 2011, Lowlands-L · ISSN 189-5582 · LCSN 96-4226 · All international rights reserved.
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