Prof Alex Bullen
Language is common to all the humans. Many social scientists state, the ability to use language symbolically is what makes us human. Even though it is a universal human attribute, it is hardly simple because in some ways, it is surprising that languages change as they are passed down through the generations, reliably enough for parents and children to communicate with each other. All language changes over time – but at different rates. Languages change for a variety of reasons such as social, economic and political pressure. Languages usually change after the invasion, colonization and migration. The development of new items drives language change. New technologies, industries, products and experiences simply require new words. Nepal has 123 languages as the mother tongue, most belonging to Indo-Aryan and Sino-Tibetan language families. According to Kulper and Pauls, The official language of Nepal is Nepali and the percentage spoken as the mother tongue is 44.6% Out of 123 languages, 121 are living and 2 are extinct. Of the living languages 11 are institutional, 20 are developing, 26 are vigorous, 56 are in trouble and 8 are dying. Language is an important part of culture and peoples value.
Before Nepali came to be known as Nepali, the language, during different stages of its development, was called various names such as Khas-kura, Parbate or Parbattiya and Gorkhali. Nepali is originally an Indo-Aryan language, but as it passed through history, it incorporated number of words from the speeches of Tibeto-Burman family, Maithili, Rajasthan, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Hindi, Bengali, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Portuguese, and English according to Priat Giri in Origin and Development of Nepali Language and also, according to Brian H. Hodgson, a scholar of repute and British resident in Nepal. He counted thirteen distinct and strongly marked dialects in the mountainous parts of the limits of the modern kingdom of Nepal. They were the Khas, the Mangar, the Gurung, the Sunwar, The Kachari, the Haiyu, the Chepang, the Kusunda, the Murmi, the Newari, the Kiranti, the Limbuan, and the Lepchan. Except the Khas, all the other speeches belong to the Tibeto-Burman family. Khas was the language spoken in the great kingdom or empire of Khasas which was established in 12th century. The name Khas-Kura was used for the language by the Tibeto-Burman speaking Mongoloids, particularly by the Newars of the Nepal valley, which is present day Kathmandu.
As the speaker of Khasa language moved eastward, it gave rise to number of dialects. The speeches of Khasas were adopted by the new immigrants and their influence of the speeches on Khas language. Parbat was the pre-dominant one and explains why Khas-Kura came to known as Parbate. With the help of high caste Brahmans and Gorkha’s conquest of the kingdoms of Nepal valley, language was being spread. Prithivi Narayan Saha conquered all the other kingdoms and joined them into one. He took over the Nepal valley in 1768-69 thus shifting the capital from Gorkha to Kathmandu. The Khasa speech was spoken in Gorkha, and Gorkha gave a new importance to this language as it came into wider official use. The language then came to known as Gorkhali. Khas-Kura didn’t spread only as the result of conquests of Gorkha but it was spreading even before conquerors began their campaign. The language during its transition from Khas-Kura to Parbate to Gorkhali to present Nepali has transformed words from multiple dialects.
Edited By: Araceli, Jason, Susana
Map of Nepal
Basnet, Dev B. “Online Nepali Literature Forum.” Online Nepali Literature Forum. Online Nepali Literature Forum, 5 Nov. 2005. Web. 22 Nov. 2013. <http://www.sahityaghar.com/modules/detail.php?ID=434>.
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