Homophones are everywhere. You know puns? They are punny. Here is a list of some common homophones in Nepali. A homophone is a group of word which sound (almost) the same but have different meanings and have different spellings. For example, new and knew, euthanasia and youth in Asia…
Homophones are called ‘श्रुतिसमभिन्नार्थक शब्द’ (shrutisambhinarthak sabda) in Nepali.
अन्न (anna) = Grain; Crop
अन्य (anya) = Other than; other
आँट (aaT)= Courage; bravery
आँत (aat) = the part Inside of the body
Note: The above one has a retroflex ’t’ sound, the one in the bottom has a dental ’t’ sound
आधी (aadhi) = Half
आँधी (aadhi) = Storm
आदि (aadi) = Early; Former; the first
Note: The second one has a nasalized ‘aa’. As for the third ‘aadi’, an example sentence (it’s use is a bit vague) would be: ‘Nibandha ko aadibhag ma bhumika khanda huncha’ (The first part of the essay contains the background-story section). Did you know that ‘aadi’ can also be used as ‘etc.’?
किर्ति (kirti) = Philosophy; Thoughts of Wisdom
कृति (kriti) = Composition; Work of Literature
गर्व (garva) = Pride
गर्भ (garbha) = Stomach; Tummy (actually womb)
जाति (jaati) = Caste; Creed
जाती (jaati) = Well-Being; the Best
जुन (jun) = which
जून (jun/ joon) = The moon
Note: On the first one, an example sentence would be ’Jun bata lieko thiyau, tei bato jau’ which means ‘Which road you took, go that way’.
दिन (din) = Day
दीन (din/ deen) = Needy; Underprivileged
खाली (khali) = Empty
खालि (khali) = Only
Note: On the second one, an example sentence would be: ’Khali malai matra hepcha’ which means ’(He) hates only me’
बास (baas) = Home; A place where we stay
बाँस (baas) = Bamboo
Note: The top one is not nasalized but the bottom is.
भाडा (bhada) = Rent; Fare
भाँडा (bhada) = Utensil
Note: The top one is not nasalized when we say it, but the bottom one is nasalized.
प्रदान [गर्नु] (pradan [garnu]) = [To] grant/ [to] give
प्रधान (pradhan) = Principal; Chief; Primary; Main
विष (bish) = Poison
बीस (bis) = Twenty
सब (saab) = All
शव (saav/ saab) = Corpse
होस् (hos) = A form of the verb ‘hunu’
होस (hos) = Consciousness
महिना (mahina) = Month
मैना (maina) = A bird belonging to the starling family
सित (sita/ situh) = With
शित (sit/ seet) = Mist
गुण (gun/ goon) = Speciality
गुन (guun) = Beneficence
फुल (phul) = Egg
फूल (phul / phool) = Flower
Even though they sound the same (almost), their spellings are different. Nepali does not differentiate between all three ’s’ and the two diacritic marks ‘ु’ and ‘ू’. So in those two, there is no ‘lengthening or shortening if you have read it somewhere else. Same with ‘ ि’ and ‘ ी’.
If you need example sentences from the above words, then please send a message!