|Spoken in||India and Pakistan. (Hindustani).|
|Total speakers||First language: ~ 490 million (2008)
Second language: 120–225 million (1999)
|Writing system||Devanagari, Kaithi, Latin, and
several regional scripts.
|Official language in|| India (Standard Hindi, Urdu, Maithili)
|Regulated by||Central Hindi Directorate (India),
Hindi (Devanāgarī: हिन्दी or हिंदी, IAST: Hindī, IPA: [ˈɦɪndiː] ( listen)) is the name given to an Indo-Aryan language, or a dialect continuum of languages, spoken in northern and central India (the "Hindi belt").
Native speakers of Hindi dialects between them account for 41% of the Indian population (2001 Indian census). The Constitution of India accords Hindi in the Devanagari script as the official language of India (English being the subsidiary official language). It is also one of the 22 scheduled languages specified in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. Official Hindi is often described as Standard Hindi which, along with English, is used for administration of the central government. Hindustani or Standard Hindi is also an official language of Fiji.
The term Hindi is used from multiple perspectives of language classification; therefore, it must be used with care. Standard Hindi and standard Urdu are considered by linguists to be different formal registers both derived from the Khari Boli dialect: Hindi being Sanskritised and Urdu being additionally Persianised (written with different writing systems, Devanagari and Perso-Arabic script, respectively).
Hindi evolved from the Sauraseni Prakrit. Though there is no consensus for a specific time, Hindi originated as local dialects such as Braj, Awadhi, and finally Khari Boli after the turn of tenth century (these local dialects are still spoken, each by large populations). During the reigns of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire, which used Persian as their official language, Khari Boli adopted many Persian and Arabic words. As for the ultimately Arabic words, since almost every one of them came via Persian, their form in Hindi-Urdu does not preserve the original phonology of Arabic.
Hindi is the most widely spoken of India's official languages. It is spoken mainly in northern states of Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar. It is the second major language in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and it is also spoken alongside regional languages like Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi or Bengali throughout north and central India. Hindi is also understood in a few other parts of India as well as in the neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Hindustani is spoken by all persons of Indian descent in Fiji. In Western Viti Levu and Northern Vanua Levu, it is a common spoken language and a link language spoken between Fijians of Indian descent and native Fijians. The latter are also the only ethnic group in the world of non Indian descent that includes majority Hindi speakers. Native speakers of Hindi dialects account for 48% of the Fiji population. This includes all people of Indian ancestry including those whose forefathers emigrated from regions in India where Hindi was not generally spoken. As defined in the Constitution of Fiji (Constitution Amendment Act 1997 (Act No. 13 of 1997), Section 4(1), Hindi is one of the three official languages of communication (English and Fijian being the others). Section 4(4)(a)(b)(c)(d) also states that 4) Every person who transacts business with: (a) a department; (b) an office in a state service; or (c) a local authority; has the right to do so in English, Fijian, or Hindustani, either directly or through a competent interpreter.
Hindi and Urdu are understood from a linguistic perspective to indicate two or more specific dialects in a continuum of dialects that makeup the Hindustani language (also known as "Hindi-Urdu"). The terms "Hindi" and "Urdu" themselves can be used with multiple meanings, but when referring to standardized dialects of Hindustani, they are the two points in a diasystem.
The term Urdu arose as far back as the 12th century and gradually merged together with kharhiboli (the spoken dialect). The term Hindawi was used in a general sense for the dialects of central and northern India. Urdu is the official language of Pakistan and is also an official language in some parts of India.
Linguistically, there is no dispute that Hindi and Urdu are dialects of a single language, Hindustani/Hindi-Urdu. However, from a political perspective, there are pressures to classify them as separate languages. Those advocating this view point to the main differences between standard Urdu and standard Hindi:
Such distinctions, however, are insufficient to classify Hindi and Urdu as separate languages from a linguistic perspective. For the most part, Hindi and Urdu have a common vocabulary, and this common vocabulary is heavily Persianised. Beyond this, Urdu contains even more Persian loanwords while Hindi resorts to borrowing from Sanskrit. (It is mostly the learned vocabulary that shows this visible distinction.)
Some nationalists, both Hindu and Muslim, claim that Hindi and Urdu have always been separate languages. The tensions reached a peak in the Hindi–Urdu controversy in 1867 in the then United Provinces during the British Raj.
With regard to regional vernaculars spoken in north India, the distinction between Urdu and Hindi is insignificant, especially when little learned vocabulary is being used. Outside the Delhi dialect area, the term "Hindi" is used in reference to the local dialect, which may be different from both standard Hindi and standard Urdu. With regard to the comparison of standard Hindi and standard Urdu, the grammar (word structure and sentence structure) is identical.
The word Hindi has many different uses; confusion of these is one of the primary causes of debate about the identity of Urdu. These uses include:
The rubric "Hindi" is often used as a catch-all for those idioms in the North Indian dialect continuum that are not recognised as languages separate from the language of the Delhi region. Punjabi, Bihari, and Chhattisgarhi, while sometimes recognised as being distinct languages, are often considered dialects of Hindi. Many other local idioms, such as the Bhili languages, which do not have a distinct identity defined by an established literary tradition, are almost always considered dialects of Hindi. In other words, the boundaries of "Hindi" have little to do with mutual intelligibility, and instead depend on social perceptions of what constitutes a language.
The other use of the word "Hindi" is in reference to Standard Hindi, the Khari Boli register of the Delhi dialect of Hindi (generally called Hindustani) with its direct loanwords from Sanskrit. Standard Urdu is also a standardized form of Hindustani. Such a state of affairs, with two standardized forms of what is essentially one language, is known as a diasystem.
The term "Urdu" (which is cognate with the English word "horde") descends from the phrase Zabān-e-Urdū-e-Mu`Allah (زبانِ اردوِ معلہ, ज़बान-ए उर्दू-ए मुअल्लह), lit., the "Exalted Language of the [military] Camp". The terms "Hindi" and "Urdu" were used interchangeably even by Urdu poets like Mir and Mirza Ghalib of the early 19th century (more often, however, the terms Hindvi/Hindi were used); while British officials usually understood the term "Urdu" to refer solely to the writing system and not to a language at all. By 1850, there was growing use of the terms "Hindi" and "Urdu" to differentiate among different dialects of the Hindustani language. However, linguists such as Sir G. A. Grierson (1903) continued to recognize the close relationship between the emerging standard Urdu and the Western Hindi dialects of Hindustani. Before the Partition of India, Delhi, Lucknow, Aligarh and Hyderabad used to be the four literary centers of Urdu.
The colloquial language spoken by the people of Delhi is indistinguishable by ear, whether it is called Hindi or Urdu by its speakers. The only important distinction at this level is in the script: if written in the Perso-Arabic script, the language is generally considered to be Urdu, and if written in Devanagari it is generally considered to be Hindi. However, since independence the formal registers used in education and the media have become increasingly divergent in their vocabulary. Where there is no colloquial word for a concept, Standard Urdu uses Perso-Arabic vocabulary, while Standard Hindi uses Sanskrit vocabulary. This results in the official languages being heavily Sanskritized or Persianized, and nearly unintelligible to speakers educated in the other standard (as far as the formal vocabulary is concerned).
Hindi is written in the Devanagari script. To represent sounds that are foreign to Indic phonology, additional letters have been coined by choosing an existing Devanagari letter representing a similar sound and adding a dot (called a 'nukta') beneath it. For example, the sound 'z', which was borrowed from Persian, is represented by ज़ , which is a modification of the letter which represents the sound 'j' ([ɟ] in IPA). The nukta is also used to represent native sounds, such as ड़ and ढ़, modifications of the characters ड and ढ respectively. These modify the voiced retroflex plosive characters ड and ढ to retroflex flap sounds.
Hindi is a subject-object-verb language, meaning that verbs usually fall at the end of the sentence rather than before the object (whereas in English it is often Subject Verb Object). Hindi also shows split ergativity so that, in some cases, verbs agree with the object of a sentence rather than the subject. Unlike English, Hindi has no definite article (the). The numeral one (एक "ek") might be used as the indefinite singular article (a/an) if this needs to be stressed.
In addition, Hindi uses postpositions (so called because they are placed after nouns) where English uses prepositions. Other differences include gender, honorifics, interrogatives, use of cases, and different tenses. While being complicated, Hindi grammar is fairly regular, with irregularities being relatively limited. Despite differences in vocabulary and writing, Hindi grammar is nearly identical with Urdu. The concept of punctuation other than the full stop having been entirely unused before the arrival of the Europeans, Hindi punctuation uses western conventions for commas, exclamation points, and question marks. Periods are sometimes used to end a sentence, though the traditional "full stop" (a vertical line) is also used.
In Hindi, there are two genders for nouns. All male human beings and male animals (and those animals and plants that are perceived to be "masculine") are masculine. All female human beings and female animals (and those animals and plants that are perceived to be "feminine") are feminine. Things, inanimate articles and abstract nouns are also either masculine or feminine according to convention, the same as Urdu and similar to many other Indo-European languages such as, Serbian, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.
Besides the standard interrogative terms of who (कौन kaun), what (क्या kyā), why (कयों kyõ), when (कब kab), where (कहाँ kahã), how and what type (कैसा kaisā), how many (कितना kitnā), etc, the Hindi word kyā (क्या) can be used as a generic interrogative often placed at the beginning of a sentence to turn a statement into a Yes/No question. This makes it clear when a question is being asked. Questions can also be formed simply by modifying intonation, as some questions are in English.
Hindi has pronouns in the first, second and third person for one gender only. Thus, unlike English, there is no difference between he or she. More strictly speaking, the third person of the pronoun is actually the same as the demonstrative pronoun (this / that). The verb, upon conjugation, usually indicates the difference in the gender. The pronouns have additional cases of accusative and genitive, but no vocative. There may also be binary ways of inflecting the pronoun in the accusative case. Note that for the second person of the pronoun (you), Hindi has three levels of honorifics:
Imperatives (requests and commands) correspond in form to the level of honorific being used, and the verb inflects to show the level of respect and politeness desired. Because imperatives can already include politeness, the word "kripayā", which can be translated as "please", is much less common than in spoken English; it is generally only used in writing or announcements, and its use in common speech may even reflect mockery.
The standard word order in Hindi is, in general, Subject Object Verb, but where different emphasis or more complex structure is needed, this rule is very easily set aside (provided that the nouns/pronouns are always followed by their postpositions or case markers). More specifically, the standard order is 1. Subject 2. Adverbs (in their standard order) 3. Indirect object and any of its adjectives 4. Direct object and any of its adjectives 5. Negation term or interrogative, if any, and finally the 6. Verb and any auxiliary verbs. (Snell, p93) Negation is formed by adding the word नहीं (nahī̃, "no"), in the appropriate place in the sentence, or by utilizing न (na) or मत (mat) in some cases. Note that in Hindi, the adjectives precede the nouns they qualify. The auxiliaries always follow the main verb. In general, Hindi speakers or writers enjoy considerable freedom in placing words to achieve stylistic and other socio-psychological effects, though not as much freedom as in heavily inflected languages.
Hindi verbal structure is focused on aspect with distinctions based on tense usually shown through use of the verb होना (honā - to be) as an auxiliary. There are three aspects: habitual (imperfect), progressive (also known as continuous) and perfective. Verbs in each aspect are marked for tense in almost all cases with the proper inflected form of होना. Hindi has four simple tenses, present, past, future (presumptive), and subjunctive (referred to as a mood by many linguists). Verbs are conjugated not only to show the number and person (1st, 2nd, 3rd) of their subject, but also its gender. Additionally, Hindi has imperative and conditional moods. The verbs must agree with the person, number and gender of the subject if and only if the subject is not followed by any postposition. If this condition is not met, the verb must agree with the number and gender of the object (provided the object does not have any postposition). If this condition is also not met, the verb agrees with neither. It is this kind of phenomenon that is called mixed ergativity.
Hindi is a weakly inflected language for case; the relationship of a noun in a sentence is usually shown by postpositions (i.e., "prepositions" that follow the noun). Hindi has three cases for nouns. The Direct case is used for nouns not followed by any postpositions, typically for the subject case. The Oblique case is used for any nouns that is followed by a postposition. Adjectives modifying nouns in the oblique case will inflect that same way. Some nouns have a separate Vocative case. Hindi has two numbers: singular and plural—but they may not be shown distinctly in all declensions.
The Hindi literature, is broadly divided into four prominent forms or styles, being Bhakti (devotional - Kabir, Raskhan); Shringar (beauty - Keshav, Bihari); Veer-Gatha (extolling brave warriors); and Adhunik (modern).
The medieval Hindi literature is marked by the influence of Bhakti movement and composition of long, epic poems, and written in Avadhi and Brij Bhasha dialects. During the British Raj, Khadiboli became the prestige dialect of Hindi. Khadiboli with heavily Sanskritized vocabulary or Sahityik Hindi (Literary Hindi) was popularized by the writings of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Bhartendu Harishchandra and others. The rising numbers of newspapers and magazines made Khadiboli popular among the educated people. Chandrakanta, written by Devaki Nandan Khatri, is considered the first authentic work of prose in modern Hindi. The person who brought realism in the Hindi prose literature was Munshi Premchand, who is considered as the most revered figure in the world of Hindi fiction and progressive movement.
The Dwivedi Yug ("Age of Dwivedi") in Hindi literature lasted from 1900 to 1918. It is named after Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, who played a major role in establishing modern Hindi language in poetry and broadening the acceptable subjects of Hindi poetry from the traditional ones of religion and romantic love.
In 20th century, Hindi literature saw a romantic upsurge. This is known as Chhayavaad (shadowism) and the literary figures belonging to this school are known as Chhayavaadi. Jaishankar Prasad, Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala', Mahadevi Varma and Sumitranandan Pant, are the four major Chhayavaadi poets.
Uttar Adhunik is the post-modernist period of Hindi literature, marked by a questioning of early trends that copied the West as well as the excessive ornamentation of the Chhayavaadi movement, and by a return to simple language and natural themes.
Hindi films play an important role in popular culture. The dialogues and songs of Hindi films use Khari Boli and Hindi-Urdu in general, but the intermittent use of various dialects such as Awadhi, Rajasthani, Bhojpuri, and quite often Bambaiya Hindi, as also of many English words, is common.
Alam Ara (1931), which ushered in the era of "talkie" films in India, was a Hindi film. This film had seven songs in it. Music soon became an integral part of Hindi cinema. It is a very important part of popular culture and now comprises an entire genre of popular music. So popular is film music that songs filmed even 50–60 years ago are a staple of radio/TV and are generally very familiar to an Indian.
Hindi movies and songs are popular in many parts of Northern India, such as Punjab, Gujarat and Maharashtra, that do not speak Hindi as a native language. Indeed, the Hindi film industry is largely based at Mumbai, in the Marathi-speaking state of Maharashtra. Hindi films are also popular abroad, especially in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Iran and the UK. These days Hindi movies are released worldwide and have good viewership in the Americas, Europe and Middle Eastern countries.
The role of radio and television in propagating Hindi beyond its native audience cannot be overstated. Television in India was introduced and controlled by the central government until the proliferation of satellite TV made regulation unenforceable. During the era of control, Hindi predominated on both radio and TV, enjoying maximum air-time than any other Indian language. After the advent of satellite TV, several private channels emerged to compete with the government's official TV channel. Today, a large number of satellite channels provide viewers with much variety in entertainment. These include soap operas, detective serials, horror shows, dramas, cartoons, comedies, Hindu mythology and documentaries.
Hindi हिन्दी is an Indo-European language spoken in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and throughout the Indian diaspora in Fiji, Singapore, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Trinidad, Suriname, Guyana, South Africa, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius, Germany, etc.). Of the 22 national languages and over 1,000 dialects of India, Hindi is promoted by the government and viewed by over half the population as a "link-language."
Hindi is descended from Sanskrit, sometimes called "the mother of all languages," or "Latin of the East." Hindi developed from the proto-Hindi खड़ी बोली Khaṛī Bolī (lit. "Pure language"). A mixture of Hindi and Urdu, called Hindustani (though this name is also applied to the Caribbean dialect of Hindi), is the form heard in most Bollywood films, that try to appeal to the widest audience possible. Hindustani is different than what is taught at the literary level and what is used by news programs and the government in India.
A striking fact is that, depending on the source, Hindi is listed anywhere from the 2nd-5th most widely spoken language in the world. In contrast to languages such as Mandarin or Spanish, there has not been much stress outside of India in promoting Hindi education. In 2006, however, President Bush brought education of India's languages, including Hindi, to the forefront in the United States through the National Security Language Initiative, thus highlighting the need for closer ties and understanding between the two countries.
Hindi is written in the Devanāgarī (देवनागरी) script, shared with Nepali, Marathi and a number of other Indian languages. Learning Devanagari is not quite as difficult as you might think at first glance, but mastering it takes a while and is beyond the scope of most travellers. See Learning Devanagari for a primer.
Most English speakers find Hindi pronunciation rather challenging, as there are 11 separate vowels and 35 separate consonants, employing a large number of distinctions not found in English. Don't let this intimidate you: for most of its speakers, Hindi is not a mother tongue, and many native speakers are quite used to regional accents and mangling in various degrees.
The key distinction is the difference between short and long vowels. In this phrase book, long vowels are noted with a macron (ā), which short vowels are listed without one. You will often come across non-standard romanizations, noted in parentheses below when applicable.
|अ||a||as in about|
|आ||ā||as in father|
|इ||i||as in sit|
|ई||ī (ee)||as in elite|
|उ||u||as in put|
|ऊ||ū (oo)||as in flute|
|ऋ||ṛ||as in Scottish heard, trip.|
|ए||e||long e. It is not a diphthong; the tone does not fall.|
|ऐ||ai||as in Mail, sometimes a longer ए. As in bright (IPA ıj).|
|ओ||o||not a diphthong; tone does not fall.|
|औ||au||as in town.|
Many Hindi consonants come in three different forms: aspirated, unaspirated and retroflex.
Aspiration means "with a puff of air", and is the difference between the sound of the letter "p" in English pin (aspirated) and spit (unaspirated). In this phrasebook, aspirated sounds are spelled with an h (so English "pin" would be phin) and unaspirated sounds without it (so "spit" is still spit). Hindi aspiration is quite forceful and it's OK to emphasize the puff: bharti.
Hindi retroflex consonants, on the other hand, are not really found in English. They should be pronounced with the tongue tip curled back. Practice with a native speaker, or just pronounce as usual — you'll usually still get the message across.
|क||k||as in skip.|
|ख||kh||as in sinkhole.|
|ग||g||as in go.|
|घ||gh||as in doghouse.|
|ङ||ṅ||as in sing. Used only in Sanskrit loan words, does not occur independently.|
|च||c||as in church.|
|छ||ch||as in pinchhit.|
|ज||j||as in jump.|
|झ||jh||as in dodge her.|
|ञ||ñ||as in canyon. Used only in Sanskrit loan words, does not occur independently.|
|ट||ṭ||as in tick. Retroflex, but still a "hard" t sound similar to English.|
|ठ||ṭ||as in lighthouse. Retroflex|
|ड||ḍ||as in doom. Retroflex|
|ढ||ḍ||as in mudhut. Retroflex|
|ण||ṇ||retroflex n. Used only in Sanskrit loan words.|
|त||t||does not exist in English. more dental t, with a bit of a th sound. Softer than an English t.|
|थ||th||aspirated version of the previous letter, not as in thanks or the.|
|ध||dh||aspirated version of the above.|
|प||p||as in spin.|
|फ||ph||as in u'ph'ill.|
|ब||b||as in be.|
|भ||bh||as in abhor.|
|म||m||as in mere.|
|य||y||as in yet.|
|र||r||as in Spanish pero, a tongue trip. Don't roll as in Spanish rr, German or Scottish English.|
|ल||l||as in lean.|
|व||v||as in Spanish vaca, between English v and w, but without the lip rounding of an English w. (IPA: ʋ).|
|श||ś||as in shoot.|
|ष||ṣ||almost indistinguishable retroflex of the above. slightly more aspirated. Used only in Sanskrit loan words.|
|स||s||as in see.|
|ह||h||as in him.|
For emphasizing words don't stress them by voice (which would be regarded as a sign of aggressiveness) but add a to after them.
Voice should always be very low and with few changes in pitch, loudness and stress, so please: relax!.
One of the only stresses found in Hindi is the last long syllable prior to the last syllable (e.g. in "dhānyavād" stress "dhā"). But it is a mild stress which occurs naturally, so don't force it. Don't even think about it!
शुभकामनाएँ! / śubhkāmnāen! / Good luck
Greetings: There are no time elemental greetings in Hindi such as good morning, good afternoon, etc. And each religion has its own greetings. It is considered very gracious to address a person by their respective greetings, but not necessary. Namaste is the most ubiquitous greeting, and though of Hindu origin is now mostly secular. It is said with hands folded and a small gesture of bowing – but don't go overboard Japanese style! Namaste literally means "I bow to you." Namaste The original religious significance was of bowing to the soul (ātmā) within another. It is custom to touch the feet of someone older than you when saying Namaste. Namaskār has the same meaning, but is used less often in Hindi, though it is common in other Indian languages such as Gujarati and Bengali. Namaskār is thought of as more formal, and as such is used more often when addressing a group or a person of importance. The Sikhs also fold their hands and bow, but have their own greetings. Sat srī akāl is the most common, which comes from the Punjabi ਸਤਿ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲ meaning "God alone is Truth." Though Sikhism is mostly centered in the Punjab region of India, Punjabi greetings are used by Sikhs all over the world, as Punjabi is the language of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Scripture. After meeting someone for the first time āpse milkar bahut khuśī huī. may be said, meaning "after meeting you much happiness has happened (to me)."
Civilities: In Western cultures saying phrases like please, thank you, you're welcome, excuse me, sorry, etc. are so ingrained into us from a young age that we say them without a second thought. Not so for Indians. Saying such phrases in an inappropriate circumstance might even embarrass the person, or cheapen the gravity of the phrase itself. These phrases are only said in a sincere sense. For example, don't say धन्यवाद (thank you) after a clerk hands you your grocery bag, but when someone goes out of their way to do something nice for you. Sometimes English words themselves are used; due to the British colonial influence, especially in urban areas and among the upper class. In this case use them as you would in English. Just remember that like Germans, and the French, they sometimes have trouble with English th sounds and therefore pronounce th as थ. When someone is in your way, instead of saying excuse me, or zara suniye, just let out an aspirated ts sound with your tongue behind your teeth to attract their attention. This might seem rude, but is no more rude than children saying "pssst" to get a friend's attention during class! In conclusion, though Hindi has corresponding words to ours, this does not mean that the context in which they are used also correspond likewise. Don't let all of this lead you to believe Indians are cold though – nothing could be further from the truth! These sentiments are merely communicated through body language rather than verbally. To show your thanks, a simple smile will do the trick. Other common gestures include the infamous "head bobble"; and a hand gesture made by swiftly swinging the wrist so your palm is facing the sky and your forefingers slightly elongated. Before travellling to India, rent some Bollywood films so that if a spontaneous Bhangra breaks out in the streets, you'll be ready to join in! All kidding aside, they can demonstrate body language and customs far better than any book is able to, all while acclimatizing you to the language as well.
Prefixes & Suffixes: With the words for "yes" and "no" jī (जी) may be added before to give it a more polite tone. Sometimes speakers will simply reply with jī, as an affirmation of something someone says. Jī is added to a person's name as a sign of respect. For example; in India Mahatma Gandhi is known simply as Gandhiji (गांधीजी). Another suffix which is indispensable is vāla (-वाला), often rendered in English as "-wallah". Many books devote whole chapters to vāla. With nouns it gives the meaning "the one or thing that does" and with verbs, it indicates something is about to happen. Examples:
English Loan Words: The British Empire's influence spread into the language itself, and this continues today with American culture being exported throughout the world. So, an English word or phrase may almost always be inserted into any Hindi sentence. You will often hear Indians, whom while talking in Hindi, pepper their sentences with English words. Sometimes they'll even alternate sentences, going from Hindi to English, and back to Hindi! Upon meeting an Indian, many times you may not even get to practice your Hindi, because they want to practice their English on you! English loan words are particularly used for modern inventions/technologies, so words like TV, computer and microwave are the same as in English apart from the slight change of accent. However; this is mostly in the cities, and learning some Hindi will have been all the more rewarding when in rural or non-tourist areas, as well as allowing you to communicate with a wider variety of people in the cities.
Gender & The 2nd Person Pronoun: Certain words have different endings depending on your gender. If you are a man say these with an -a suffix, and if you're a woman, -ī. However; when addressing the person respectively with āp (आप), the masculine ending takes the plural form. This is not all that different from the behavior of other Indo-European languages, c.f. German Sie, which like āp is also both the respectful 2nd person pronoun and plural form of address. The other two forms are the familiar tum (तुम) and intimate tū (तू). These change the forms of certain words. Tum is for friends and peers, tū for small children (within the family); between 'significant others' in private; traditionally to lower castes; in the past, slaves; and, paradoxically, when supplicating to the gods/God (c.f. Greek mythology). As a general rule, stick with āp, until you become more familiar with the language and culture. Forget about tū altogether, at the best using it would be a faux pas and at the worst, very offensive. For those reasons as well as practical ones, this section will only use the āp form.
Accha! OK? TK!
One of the most useful words to know is accha. It is both an adjective and interjection. Its meanings include (but are not limited to!): good, excellent, healthy, well, OK, really?, awesome!, hmm..., a-ha!, etc.! If you learn no other word, remember this one.
Another common all-purpose word is ṭhīk hai, pronounced and occasionally even spelled out as "TK". It is used in the same manner, meaning: OK/all right, yes/understood (affirmation), right/correct, etc. Sometimes shortened to just ṭhīk.
|Hello (used esp. when answering the phone)||हेलो||helo|
|Hello/Goodbye (Hindu, respectful)||प्रणाम||praņām|
|Hello/Goodbye (Hindu, colloquial)||राम राम||rām rām|
|Hello/Goodbye (Sikh)||सत श्री अकाल||sat śrī akāl|
|Hello/Goodbye (Sikh, formal)||वाहिगुरू जी का खाल्स||vāhegurū jī ka khālsa|
|Hello/Goodbye (Sikh, reply)||वाहिगुरू जी की फ़तह||vāhegurū jī kī fateh|
|See you later||फिर मिलेंगे||phir milenge|
|How are you?||आप कैसे/कैसी हैं?||āp kaise/kaisī hain?|
|How are you?||आप ख़ैरियत से हैँ?||āp khairiyat se hain?|
|I am fine||मैं ठीक हूँ||main ṭhīk hūn|
|OK/fine (colloq.)||ठीक है||ṭhīk hai|
|Fine, and you? (more formal reply)||ठीक, आप सुनाइये||ṭhīk, āp sunāiye|
|What is your name?||आपका नाम क्या है?؟||āpka nām kya hai?|
|My name is ___ .||मेरा नाम ___ है।||mera nām ___ hai.|
|Nice to meet you (formal).||आपसे मिलकर बहुत ख़ूशी हुई।||āpse milkar bahut khushi huī|
|Nice to meet you too (reply).||मुझे भी||mujhe bhī|
|Do you speak English?||आपको अंग्रेज़ी आती है?||āpko angrezī ātī hai?|
|Is there someone here who speaks English?||क्या किसी को अंग्रेज़ी आती है?||kya kisī ko angrezī ātī hai?|
|I don't speak Hindi.||मुझे हिन्दी नहीं आती है।||mujhe hindī nahīn ātī hai.|
|I can't speak Hindi||मैं हिन्दी नहीं बोल सकता हूँ।||main hindī nahīn bol sakta hūn.|
|I speak some Hindi.||मुझे कुच हिन्दी आती है।||mujhe kuch hindī ātī hai|
|I don't understand.||मैं समझा/समझी नहीं।||main samjha/samjhī nahīn|
|Speak more slowly||धीरे धीरे बोलिये||dhīre dhīre boliye|
|What does "..." mean?||"..." का मतलब कया है?||"..." ka artha/matlab kya hai?|
|How do you say "..."?||"..." कैसे कहते हैं?||"..." kaise kahate hain?|
|Where are you from?||आप कहाँ से हैं?||āp kahan se hain?|
|I'm from ...||मैं ... से हूँ||main ... se hūn|
|Thank you||धन्यवाद / शुक्रिया||dhanyavād/shukriya (Hindustani/Urdu)|
|Thank you very much||बहुत बहुत ...||bahut bahut ...|
|You're welcome||आपका स्वागत है||āpka svāgat hai|
|You're welcome (lit. don't mention it)||कोई बात नहीं||koī bāt nahīn|
|Excuse me (getting s.o.'s attention)||सुनिये||suniye|
|Pardon me||क्षमा कीजिये||kṣama kījiye|
|Pardon me/I'm sorry||माफ़ कीजिये||maaf kijiye|
|Where is the toilet?||टॉयलेट कहाँ है?||ṭāyaleṭ kahan hai?|
|Where is the toilet?||शौचालय कहाँ है?||śaucālay kahan hai?|
|Good!, really?, nice, etc.||अच्छा||accha|
|Just one minute||एक मिनट||ek minaṭ|
|Mr. (Sikh, ਸਰਦਾਰ)||सरदार||sardār|
|Mrs. (Sikh, ਸਰਦਾਰਨੀ)||सरदारनी||sardārnī|
|how/of what kind?||कैसा?||kaisa|
The numerals used to write in decimal are called Indo-Arabic numerals. Developed in India, they were borrowed by the Arabs, and gradually spread to Europe. The similarities are hard to miss. Here are their respective numerals.
Hindi numbers ending in 9 are named as "un" (-1) plus the next multiple of ten. Instead of naming powers of a thousand, Hindi has unique names for a thousand, a hundred thousand, ten million etc. These peculiarities don't seem to have effected the proliferation of Indian mathematicians.
|6||छह, छै, छः||cheh, chai, cheḥ||31||इकत्तीस||ikttīs||56||छप्पन||chappan||81||इक्यासी||ikyāsī|
|200||दो सौ||do sau|
|300||तीन सौ||tīn sau|
|2000||दो हज़ार||do hazār|
|3000||तीन हज़ार||tīn hazār|
|number _____ (train, bus, etc.)||नबंर _____ ट्रेन, बस, ...||nambar _____ ṭren, bas, ...|
|now||अब, अभी||ab, abhī|
|later||बाद में, फिर||bād men, phir|
|morning||सुबह, सवेरा||subeh, savera(early morn.)|
|afternoon||दोपहर||dopehar; sa pehar|
|one o'clock AM||रात में एक बजे||rāt men ek baje|
|two o'clock AM||रात में दो बजे||rāt men do baje|
|one o'clock PM||दोपहर एक बजे||dopehar ek baje|
|two o'clock PM||दोपहर दो बजे||dopehar do baje|
|midnight||आधी रात||ādhī rāt|
|Yesterday/Tomorrow (depends on context/tense)||कल||… kal|
|Day after tomorrow/day before yesterday||परसों||parson|
|This week||इस हफ़्ते||is hafte|
|Last week||पिछले हफ़्ते||pichle hafte|
|Next week||अगले हफ़्ते||agle hafte|
|Two weeks||दो हफ़्ते||do hafte|
The Hindu days of the week are each ruled by a planet, and corresponding exactly to ancient cultures in the West, i.e. Sunday = Ravivār (Lord of the Sun's day [lit. time or period]). Thursday/O.N. Þorsdagr, Thor's day = Guruvār (Lord of Jupiter's day), Saturday/Saturn's day = Śani's (Lord of Saturn's day), etc. Unlike her Western counterparts, in India, Astrology is still a vital part of Hindu culture. Though attitudes may vary on its validity, priests are still consulted, as per tradition, for an auspicious day to hold a wedding. -वार (-vār), meaning day, time, or period is often dropped colloquially.
|Sunday||इतवार/रविवार||itvār, ravivār (Sun)|
|Monday||सोमवार||somvār (Moon); pīr|
|Tuesday||मंगलवार/मंगल||mangalvār (Mars); mangal|
|Wednesday||बुधवार/बुध||budhvār (Mercury); budh|
India has two main calendars in use, though other groups like the Parsis have their own calendar as well. The Western (Gregorian) calendar is used for day to day and business affairs, and the Hindu calendar is used by religious communities.
The Hindu Calendar (विक्रम संवत् Vikram saṃvat) is named after a legendary king of Ujjain who is supposed to have founded the Vikramditya (विक्रमादित्य) era c. 56 BCE. The year 57 BCE was the first year of this (संवत् saṃvat) era. Thus, to calculate the current date of the Hindu calendar add 57 years. Today the Hindu Calendar is used mainly for religious purposes and calculating festivals. Because it is based on the lunar month, every 30 months an "impure" intercalary leap month is added during which no ceremonies are performed. The Hindi names are variations of the original Sanskrit ones.
|Name||Hindi||№ of Days||Gregorian Equivalent|
|Caitra||चैत्र/चैत||30||(March - April)|
|Baisākh||बैसाख||31||(April - May)|
|Jeṭh||जेठ||31||(May - June)|
Give some examples how to write clock times and dates if it differs from English. The time is written exactly as in English, that is hours followed by minutes. 12:45am will thus be दोपहर के 12 बजकर पैंतालीस मिनट (dopehar ke 12 bajkar paintālīs minaṭ), note that बजकर (bajkar) would indicate something like "o'clock" in English . मिनट (minaṭ) is just a literal translation of "minutes."
|colorful||रंगिरंगा||bahut bahAna, rangabirangī|
|purple||बैंगनी, जाम्नी||bainganī, jāmnī|
|silver||चांदी||chāndhī (also the metal)|
|Train||ट्रेन, रेलगाड़ी||ṭren, relgāṛī|
|Bus Station||बस का अड्डा||bas ka aḍḍa|
|Bus Stop||बस स्टाप||bas sṭāp|
|Car||गाड़ी, कार||gāṛī, kār|
|Airplane||हवाई जवाज़||havāī jahāz|
|Airport||हवाई अड्डा||havāī adda|
Note: Indian Traffic Signs are much like those in Europe. Words are written in English and sometimes the regional language.
Despite Hindi being among Chinese, Spanish and English as the most spoken languages, there is a dearth of resources on the subject(s), and even fewer which are worth-while. Instead of anger of frustration, the Hindi student should instead feel a smug superiority of being ahead of everyone else who are learning other languages, which may fill the rows of bookshelves in bookstores now, but cannot compare with the vast amount of volumes to be written on Hindi in the future! Here is a list of the better books and dictionaries. Stay away from books written for Indians who already know another related Indian language (such as the National Integration series), which make such claims as "Learn This or That Language in 30 days!" Remember the rule of thumb: If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. If you know German, Margot Gatzlaff-Hälsig, has continued the incomparable German tradition of Indologie with two dictionaries and numerous books on Hindi.
|This is a usable phrasebook. It explains pronunciation and the bare essentials of travel communication. An adventurous person could use it to get by, but please plunge forward and help it grow!|
Hindi is a dialect of the Hindustani language group native to the region around Northern India. The standard dialect is the official language of the Indian government along with English. Hindi is also the first language of 180 million people in India, with another 300 million Indians speaking various other dialects. Various dialects belonging to the same language group are also spoken in Pakistan, Nepal, Fiji, Mauritius, and many other countries where Indian people have migrated.
Hindi was formed by the injection of Persian into local Indian dialects, especially Sanskrit. It is written in the Devanagari Script, a derivative of Sanskrit, and uses both Sanskrit and Persian words to form its vocabulary. In modern times Hindi has also begun to borrow large numbers of words from English.
Hindi for Travelers
There is more than one meaning of Hindi discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.
Hindi (not comparable)
Hindi is an Indo-European language spoken in India and many countries where Indians have emigrated. It is written with the Devanagari script which fairly closely follows the phonetics of the language. Spoken Hindi is very similar to spoken Urdu — as such they are both often classified as part of the Hindustani language.
To be reorganized