SOAS University of London

South Asia Department

Nepali Language 1 (PG)

Module Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate…

  1. knowledge and understanding of basic Nepali grammar
  2. knowledge and understanding of essential Nepali vocabulary
  3. knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of basic Nepali structures and expressions in a given context
  4. the ability to understand short passages in written Nepali on everyday topics
  5. the ability to produce short passages in written Nepali on everyday topics
  6. the ability to understand spoken Nepali and to engage in short spoken discourse on everyday topics
  7. knowledge and understanding of the role of language in general, and Nepali in particular, in language-based scholarship and research (specific learning outcome for PG students)


This course will be taught over 22 weeks with 4 hours classroom contact per week in language classes. 10 research seminars to be taken within SOAS.  Attendance to be proven by signature from chair and to be submitted to the Associate Dean for Masters by the last day of term 2.

Scope and syllabus

The course provides an introduction to Nepali language with emphasis on practical written and spoken Nepali. Communicative practice is established through learning language around dialogues dealing with a range of everyday situations.

The course provides students with a basic knowledge of Nepali and practice of using Nepali in a variety of everyday situations. It allows students to interact with Nepali speakers in Nepali and to use original Nepali language sources within the level covered in the course. This provides students with a basis to approach research topics relating to Nepali language and the histories, societies and cultures associated with Nepali.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (40%); a language learning portfolio consisting of a set of marked homework, short in-class tests, translation projects (30%); one oral examination of 10 minutes taken in May/June (10%); two x 1 hour tests to be taken in week 2, term 2 (10%) and the week after reading week, term 2 (10%).

Suggested reading

The course will be based on

  • Hutt, Michael and Abhi Subedi, Teach Yourself Nepali (London, 2000)
  • plus the Nepali on-line dictionary, flexipack and other materials posted on the Nepali language Blackboard site.

2) Additional Nepali References

  • Ruth L Schmidt et al, A Practical Dictionary of Modern Nepali.  New Delhi: Ratna Sagar, 1993.
  • Michael Hutt, Himalayan Voices: an introduction to modern Nepali literature. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.
  • Michael Hutt,  Nepali.  A national language and its literature chaps. New Delhi and London: Sterlking Publishers/SOAS, 1988.

Reading List (ctd.)

3) Additional resources relating to language-based scholarship discussed in the PG lectures

  • Austin, Peter, ed., 2008, 1000 Languages: The world-wide history of living and lost tongues, London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Baker, Mona, 1992, In Other Words: A coursebook on translation, London: Routledge.
  • Duranti, Alessandro, 1997, Linguistic Anthropology, Cambridge: CUP.
  • Geertz, Clifford, 1973/2000, The Interpretation of Cultures: selected essays, New York: Basic Books.
  • Pinker, Steven, 1994, The Language Instinct: the new science of language and mind, London: Allan Lane.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules