The Hindi Language

Of the nine official languages of India, Hindi is certainly the most commonly spoken language in the North.  There are said to be over 300 distinct languages and over 1,000 different dialects in this land.  In most tourist and business areas, some level of English is normally spoken; often not enough to carry on a satisfying conversation, but enough to communicate bare necessities.  If you want to spend an extended time in North India, Hindi is the language to learn.

The Hindi language is extremely expressive and is a very rich language.  Learning such a language is a rewarding and fascinating experience that will open countless doors to understanding this diverse land and its culture.

When you talk to a Hindi speaker, they will tell you that the Hindi language is a simple language; they don't speak truth!  But be encouraged, there are more difficult languages for the English speaking toungue to master.  For example, some of the East Asian languages are tonal (where the meaning changes when the same sound is pronounced with a high, low, raising, falling or other tone).

On the other hand, Hindi does offer its share of challenges.  There are a number of letters or sounds that occur in Hindi that do not occur in the English language, so a bit of work is required to speak and hear some of these sounds.  Probably the most notable to the western ear and tounge are the 'r', 't' and 'd' sounds.  There are three different sounds that sound like 'r', four 't's and four 'd's.  At first all sound much too similar.  With practice they can be differentiated and mastered. See "A Sound Start in Hindi"

Perhaps the best thing in pronouncing and learning the Hindi language is that the alphabet is entirely phonetic (each character has a unique pronounciation), and the alphabet is very logically organized for pronunciation (See "Devangari Alphabet" page).  Once the alphabet has been learned, one can fairly quickly and accurately read and pronounce Hindi.

[Hindi Alphabet]

Hindi grammar is another story.  It might be best described by an American as inside-out from English.  As in English, the subject (what you are talking about) normally comes first, after this will be any clauses that modify the sentance, prepositions come after the word they modify (and are then called post-positions), and finally at the end of the sentance is the verb.  For example, in English you might say, "the boy plays the drum in the room." In Hindi you would say, "lirka kamera may tabla bajata hey" (boy room in drum plays).

This isn't too difficult in itself, but when you begin creating longer sentances it gets a bit more difficult to translate.  What is even more complicated for the English speaker is that all nouns are assigned a gender: masculine or feminine (often seemingly arbitrarily), and the various parts of the sentance must be modified to agree with the gender of the nouns that are used.  As such, the verbs are modified to agree with the subject (or in many cases the object) of the sentance, and then modified to reflect the particular voice, mood or tense.  Any verb might be presented in dozens of different forms.

Don't be discouraged, it really isn't that bad...after all, it is only a matter of practice and work.  Working with a good language school or tutor, the average person can handle rudimentary Hindi in a few short months.  To speak fluently is a matter of years.

In the future we will be adding a number of new features on language learning here, including:
     Tips and introductory lessons on learning Hindi
     Hindi study programs in India and abroad.
     Tutors; how and where to learn Hindi
     Language helpers; how to learn Hindi without professionals
     Books that will help you learn the language.
     Wave sound files so you can hear some Hindi

[under construction]

We're working.

Check back again soon.

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