Nepali Language Classes at Oxford

Language classes in Nepali are offered as part of the M.Phil in Modern South Asian Studies and the M.Phil in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies.

Nepali belongs to the East Pahari (Pahad. i) group of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family, and is the official language of the Kingdom of Nepal, which is situated in the Himalayas. Nepali is also spoken in the neighboring countries of Bhutan and India.

The term “Nepali” started being used in the 20th century. Before that the language was known as Gorkhali or Khas-Kura. Nepali is believed to have developed from a certain variety of Śauraseni Prakrit, a middle Indic language, from which also modern Hindi and Urdu developed. Śauraseni Prakrit was spoken in India, and its certain varieties spread to the territory of modern Nepal around or before the 10th century AD (cf. Hutt 1994). The oldest Nepali texts (inscriptions) date back to the 13th century.