Nepal is a landlocked country in the Himalayas in South Asia, bordering India and the Tibet autonomous region of China. It has eight of the world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest, the world's tallest, on the border with Tibet, as well as Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. In 2008, Nepal was declared a republic and abolished its monarchy.
The great biological and cultural diversity of present-day Nepal is matched by its linguistic diversity. Nepal boasts a variety of living languages many of which are remnants of the traditional Asiatic cultural amalgamation in the region, it has an impressively large number for a country with such a small land mass. Nepal has more distinct and individual languages in one country than the whole of the European community. The official language of Nepal is Nepali. It's related to Hindi, Punjabi, and other Indo-Aryan languages, and is normally written with the Devanagari script (as is Hindi), originated from "Sanskrit". While most Nepalis speak at least some Nepali, a large percentage of the population has as their mother tongue another language, such as Tharu around Chitwan, Newari in the Kathmandu Valley, and Sherpa in the Everest area. Although Nepal was never a British colony, English is somewhat widespread among educated Nepalis. Nevertheless learning even a few words of Nepali is fun and useful, especially outside of the tourist district and while trekking (porters often speak very little English and the inquisitive children in the tea houses are delighted to hear a few words of Nepali from their house guests). As Asian languages go, Nepali has to be one of the easiest to learn, and the traveller making the effort isn't likely to make worse blunders than many natives with a different first language. The locals are also happy to help with your burgeoning language skills. See: Nepali phrasebook A disturbingly large number of Nepal’s mother tongues are severely endangered and will likely be reduced to symbolic identity markers within a generation. See: Tamang phrasebook|Thami phrasebook|Majhi phrasebook
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