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It is always good to speak a few words in the language of your host’s country. Ladakhi – the language of the people of Ladakh – isn’t that easy to learn, but on the other hand you do not have to know it perfectly. It is enough to speak a few words and you will quickly make friends. Also you show by speaking a few words in Ladakhi that you appreciate the host’s culture. 

 

The 20 most important words and phrases in Ladakhi

 

abi-happy

Especially Ladakhi, who do not know English, really appreciate if someone knows a few words in Ladakhi.

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JULLEY  [dschu-leh]
The most powerful word of the ladakhi language. It is so much more than one word in english. It means:
HELLO, BYE, THANK YOU, PLEASE.  A simple, yet strong word to build friendships. 


KHAMSANG-IN-A-LEY? [or short: khamsang-ley?]
How are you? Note: The suffix “ley” at the end of a sentence makes everything sound a bit more polite. You can use it as often as you like! You can not do anything wrong with it!


KHAMSANG-LEY!
I am fine.


DON-LEY!
Please eat/take! Especially when invited by ladakhi families you will hear this term very often. It is part of the ladakhi etiquette to “force” their guests to eat/drink.

don-ley

The Ladakhi are great hosts and like to spoil their guests.


MAN-LEY.
No, thanks!


D(r)IK-LEY.
It is enough!


DANGS-LEY.
I am full.


O-LEY.
Yes, please.


TSAPIK-LEY.
A little bit, please.


SHIMPO RAK-LEY!
It is delicious.

shimpo

Many dishes in Ladakh are “ma shimpo” – very delicious. Photo: Preparing of Momos.


NYERANGI-MING CHI IN-LEY?
What is your name?


NGE-MING … IN-LEY.
My name is …


NYERANG KANE IN-LEY?
From where are you?


NGA Germany/Austria/Switzerland-NE IN-LEY.
I am from Germany/Austria/Switzerland.


KULE-KULE!
Slowly-slowly!

lam-weg

Especially during treks it is important to walk “kule-kule”.


NGA GO-A ZUMO RAK.
I have headache.


NGA TODPA-A ZUMO RAK.
I have tummy ache.


NGA TUTU-A ZUMO RAK.
I have throat pain.


LAM (place)-A KANE INOK-LEY?
Where is the way to (place)?


(LADAKH)MAA LDEMO DUK-LEY.
(Ladakh) it is beautiful.

demo-duk

It is not diffult to use the phrase “demo duk-ley”, as Ladakh is at many places very beautiful.