The kuirini talking Nepali

At every Nepali gathering, I am always the only ‘kuirini’.

The word ‘kuirini’ means foreigner, or white girl, in Nepalese language.

Some say it’s a bit derogatory, but on the whole, it’s a simple way to refer to a foreigner.

I went to a Nepalese party recently and all the guests who’d I never met before were fascinated by me talking Nepali.

I didn’t say much because I don’t what to sound like a show-off and because I’m shy and think they will think I sound stupid.

I said simple sentences like “malai poogiyo”- I’m full, “dhanyabad” – Thank you and “tapai lai raksi lagyo”- you are drunk.

One of the guests said to me, “You are so cute when you talk Nepali. But when we talk English, we sound weird, not cute like you”. Rabindra said it was true.

But when I mentioned that Rabindra calls me “kuirini”, the room erupted into laughter.

Every single person thought it was hilarious and were holding their stomachs so hard as apparently the amusement was all too much.

Sometimes I think it’s bad that he calls me ‘kuirini’, but then again he has a very joking personality and I think it’s just him being silly.

 One guy there was so young and drunk and he kept coming up to me saying “sister, please say something rude in Nepali”. I didn’t.

Anyway I think I’ve discovered that to impress any Nepali person, man or woman, young or old, it’s to talk in Nepali. They absolutely love it.

To all Nepalis out there, do you think kuirini is a rude word or is it acceptable?

What is Nepali people’s perceptions of kuirinis?

And to all you ladies with Asian partners, Nepal/ Indian/or another, what has been your experience when you talk you partner’s language? Who loves it the most?

Have you ever been called a ‘kuirini’ or something along the same lines?

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This entry was posted in Communication, Cross-cultural, Culture, Differences, Funny, Intercultural, Intercultural Relationship, Language, Nepal, Nepalese language and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to The kuirini talking Nepali

  1. luckyfatima says:

    If someone puts me on the spot like, “Say something in Urdu, pleeeeeaaazzzze say something” just to hear me talk, I usually say, “Accha, bandar nachaana hai…” (Make the monkey dance, like those guys who keep a performing monkey who dances for tips) It usually makes them stop.

    My ILs exaggerate my abilities and say I speak excellent Urdu, like Ghalib (Urdu poet). I am not even remotely close to that.

    I have been called mzungu by Swahili speakers. Usually, Pakistanis call me Amerikan or Amkreekan, not gori. I had an Indian friend in Dubai who kept telling everyone I was from London, because to her, America and London were the same thing 😀

  2. suman luitel says:

    Interesting writing but it is better to use KURIRAHANI then KURIRINI.

  3. Bibi says:

    I’m sure there are worse things to be called than ‘Kuirini’ ! I don’t really know how to say a lot of ‘rude’ things in Nepali, ‘Tsoop!’ means ‘shut up!’, ‘Nare’ (rhymes with pare) means ‘go away’ , ‘Tsao!’ means ‘REALLY go away (like you are speaking to an animal).

  4. kay says:

    kuirini is more of a slang term than a real word. i think they started using kuire and kuirini during the hippie era when tons of white foreigners came to nepal to smoke weed and get high. lots of people in nepali society tend to identify others based on caste quite a lot–so you’ll hear a lot of people referred to as baunis, newarnis, etc etc (the nis indicates that the person is a female). It’s not meant to be rude in that way.

  5. e-Nomad says:

    I’ve seen many lads being abusive once they get out of Nepal. People just freak out on the streets, thanx to the catalyst and them being not so used to drinking habits. My friends here apparently found a website with swearing words in all languages, I told them it was not funny. It isn’t. F* word can come out easily than the corresponding word in my mother-tongue. But its not the case for everyone. Another Nepali blogger in Australia once wrote how she was embarrassed with her parents visiting from Nepal when fellow natives became abusive in a public transport. Cant find the link now, but I still remember it. But thats about a few insensitive people.
    Normally, between couples and close pals numerous words like “Kali”, “Kalu” “Sani”, “Sanu” (small) etc. tend to add a flavour in their expression. But when the same words come from someone else, it becomes offensive. So Rabindra calling you “Kuireni” shouldnt be a big deal, icing with his sense-of-humor as you say. But when others do, they deserve some eyebrow raising. ^ – *

  6. Well, when I was in Nepal, I don’t remember that people called me ‘kuirini”. Nor my husband or his friends every called me like that….(I think so) So I wouldn’t know if it rude or not. I remember that in Nepal people referred to me as “bideshi” which means foreigner (this was used a lot), gori meaning is clear, angreji (English girl), Ameriki (american girl) Of course I don’t know how they reffered to me behind my back.

    I know that people that don’t know me and meet me for the first time are always stunned about the fact that I understand Nepali. I am bit to oshy to speak nepali in front of stangers (because my grammar is somewhat a mess). So I only speak Nepali, with my husband, his family and his good friends. They are used to it. However sometimes they also need to laugh with my pronounciation. The funniest thing is chatting with someone in Nepali but the English written Nepali. I wouldn’t know how to write it, so one time I mess up jaach (exams) and jaad (a kind of alcohol). So it’s not smart to want to say at that moment, I had a lot of exams but I finished them all. (Instead of that I said I had a lot of alcoholic drinks but I finished them all…) 🙂

  7. Abby says:

    My mother-in-law is most impressed by my Chinese skills. More so than my husband I think, LOL. Actually the older generations are usually most impressed by foreign language skills in my experience.

    I guess kuirini might be a bit like gaijin in Japanese. (It literally means outside/foreign person.) People can put a negative slant on it, but then again, foreigners use it to describe themselves too.

    There’s a saying in Japan about gaijin speaking Japanese. When people constantly tell you how good your Japanese is, you should take it to mean that you’re doing OK but need improvement. But when they stop telling you how good you are, you know you’ve become REALLY good. I don’t know if I really believe it but it’s funny.

  8. americanepali says:

    I don’t think I’ve been called “kurini” before. I’m not even really that familiar with the word. To be honest the Nepalis I know don’t really use the term “gori” either. If they want to gently tease me it’s usually with the word “American”– as in “you’re such an American!” or “what a white American!” or “can the American do this?”

    Because of my experience and stories in East Africa, occasionally they will use “mzungu” as well– as in “delicate mzungu.”

  9. renxkyoko says:

    In the Phiippines, it’s that “white guy”….. In tagalog, “puti”, or all white guys are called “Joe”. It’s not derogatory. It just is. You will be called by your name if they know it.

  10. Gregory Cowan says:

    Case! I’ve been getting on google translate to learn Finnish and I’ve learned some awesome sayings – all of course are completely inappropriate! x

  11. keti says:

    first i will start by saying i wouldnt say “kuirini” is a rude word.. the thing you have to understand about nepalese people is that when they use the word, they do not mean any kind of insult, they are basically calling you white, it does not have any other connotations to it. personally ive never called anyone a kuirini or a kuire( male equivalent), im not comfortable with using those words. its like someone calling be brown in australia. In my opinion, its not the most polite way to refer to someone but it certainly isnt rude.the important thing is they dont mean anything bad by it.
    I am a nepali girl by the way.

  12. keti says:

    and also i agree with e- Nomad about the meaning of the word being different if it comes from your husband/boyfriend, etc. the same word becomes a term of endearment. i think its quite sweet that Rabindra calls you that! 🙂

  13. Ash says:

    I’m married to a Telugu speaking south indian. I have learned most of the few words in Telugu from my brother and sister in law. The main words I know are all relationship words like Amma- mother, Anna- older brother and so on. When I learned one sentence paandu kavaala chinna pandhi – Would you like some fruit you little pig? Because we were feeding my baby some banana and if he had teeth he probably would have bitten my sister in laws fingers of to get it, my mother in law was the most amused. She thought it was the cutest funniest thing. It also probably added to to the amusement that the first time I repeated to her over the phone I transposed the pig and fruit.

  14. ABhi says:

    Kuirini comes from the word Kuiro which means “fog”.

    So Kuirini would would mean some one who has the color of the fog.

    It is not specific to foreigners. Nepalis also refer to each other affectionately as kaale (dark), gore (white) and so on….

  15. Gurung says:

    I really don’t know how I stumbled on this blog, but it’s really interesting and I am glad I did. I really do appreciate you learning Nepali or for that matter anyone learning another’s language. It shows ones appreciation of another culture. Me being a “Chinese” looking Nepali in South India, I learnt one of the local Dravidian languages there and I could see people appreciated that.

    It’s funny how very innocent words in one language can mean something totally different in another language. I’d tell renxkyoko’s not to use the tagalog word “puti” with Nepali people, for it means something else totally!! Rabindra can perhaps help Casey with the explanation 🙂

    One of my relatives (and Nepalis have a LOT of relatives no matter how distantly they are related ! ) married an American guy (“kuirey”). A very affable man, he told me about he mentioned to his in laws that he lives in a “condo” in Chicago and they all burst out laughing to their seams. For the uninitiated, “condo” – the shortened version of condominium – means a person’s rear end !

    And yes, “kuirey” and “kurini” are totally harmless words.

  16. anima says:

    I learned the work kuirey when my moms friends parents were visiting their daughter and her American husband and they used the word kuirey joisaab (sq) to refer to him. Not in a mean way of course.

  17. khagendra bc says:

    the term kuireni is blended with Nepalese love.so don’t get disheartened.

  18. khagendra bc says:

    great experience

  19. Suraj says:

    I dont think that this is bad word……Kuirini is the normal and simple word to xpress white girl.

  20. Amber says:

    I havent been reffered to kurini but my nepali boyfriend calls me biralli as a teasing name. Just fun reasons. But hes stopped now that i call my cat biralli more often than her actual name, so much that its weird to call me biralli. Lol.

  21. Chuda says:

    Hello. I’m Nepali. This is Nepali perspective of the word kuirini.
    kuirini is derivative of the word kuiro meaning thin white cloud or fog. So it is most likely that the word simply means a white girl (kuire for white boy). It is also so widely used to refer to foreigner or outsider, sometimes even visitors with black skin colour are called kuire/kuirini in villages. if the person still knows your name and call you kuirini, it could be because he is being silly, stoned or is offending you if he is angry with you. In nutshell, it is just like calling Asian an Asian in Australia.

  22. she says:

    “kurini” or “khairini” just means brown, or pale, not in a rude way though. I know we are the “browns”, but it probably indicates the color of most white people’s hair, rather than face. (guessing). It’s mostly used jokingly, or simply to refer to a foreigner. I think I’m writing too much comments already

  23. Alok Malla says:

    Kuirini (also Khaireni or Gori)is never a derogatory term as stated above by many it just means a white girl with blonde hair…..sometimes a nepali girl with similar complexion also called Kuirini. It is informal word.
    It’s like LAHURE called for the person ( Nepali males) who joins British /Indian army or Singaporean police..actually this word is used for the people who went to join army of Ranjit Singh (Punjabi king) in Lahore (then india)… today all the people going for employment out of the country (Nepal) informally referred as lahure…

  24. bideshi in ktm says:

    I’ve been called “kuiri” and it didn’t feel affectionate, a little more like it was derogatory. *I think* all R’s friends laughed because they do know that it is a bit rude, but it was kind of cute that he called you that because of what you mean to him.

    Now that you are in Nepal, do you think any differently about being called “foggy?!”

  25. Pratyush says:

    I’m searching something else and end up in this blog. Yes it’s true that Kuireni / Kuire we are more famous these days then Amrikan. As Abhi already said it might have derived from the word Kuiro (Fog) to represent someone as white as fog. But there is another word also which is getting more popular or equal to Kuireni it’s Khaire / Khaireni. Usually Khaire represent man with Blond Hair but still used to represent white or western people.

    I don’t think it’s bad word but still we have exprience since I used to work phone support and someone called western lady as kuireni she was so furious…

  26. JYadav says:

    How did you learn Nepali? I want to learn desperately but my husband is no help. Its hard to find an affordable solution. I wish Rosetta Stone did a Nepali series.

  27. sarah says:

    I don’t get offended by it. Usually when a new friend of theirs meets me I can at least understand them asking who I am to my friends. And then they always ask me all the words and sentences I know. I’m the same with when they ask if I know any bad words. Always tell them I know a few but I don’t want to say then.

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