The textbook Elementary Hindi is published by Tuttle Publishing, a publishing company that is dedicated to disseminating the culture and languages of Asia. It is authored by Richard Delacy, a professor of Hindi and Urdu at Harvard University, and Sudha Joshi, a native Hindi speaker who has taught Hindi in Australia for over 15 years.
The textbook is available in both hardcover and paperback formats. A complementary workbook is also available, Elementary Hindi Workbook. The textbook comes with an audio CD that contains recordings in MP3 format which accompany various exercises in the textbook and workbook.
The textbook is organized into a series of 24 lessons. Each lesson gradually introduces the Devanagari syllabary, vocabulary, and grammar. Each lesson contains practice sections which enable the reader to practice the concepts that are being introduced, and answers are included. Additionally, each lesson corresponds to several supplementary activities in the workbook. Each lesson contains entertaining images of India or illustrations of various scenes in India.
Devanagari is gradually introduced. The textbook contains a description of the phonetics of each letter and comparisons to approximate English equivalents. The phonetics are precisely described, and the audio CD contains recordings of the pronunciation of each letter. Initially, transliterations are included to aid the reader. The textbook includes diagrams which illustrate how to write each letter.
The book introduces a group of fictional characters who serve to demonstrate conversational Hindi throughout the book. The conversations are accompanied by audio recordings.
The book is designed for complete beginners, but contains rich content that would be suitable for intermediate learners as well.
I appreciate the style in which the authors have introduced Hindi. Everything is taught gradually, so the reader can absorb the material in sequence without being overwhelmed. Everything is taught together: vocabulary, grammar, conversational skills, cultural insights, reading, writing, and listening; no aspect is neglected. For this reason, it is especially useful for self-study. Each lesson is reinforced by plenty of exercises and audio recordings. The book is fairly comprehensive, and certainly covers elementary Hindi and beyond. Grammar is taught in a straightforward manner that, while employing grammatical terminology, is gentle and clear, including many examples to demonstrate each concept. I appreciate that the authors have used standard grammatical terminology (many authors of Hindi textbooks use fairly idiosyncratic terminology). The book is pragmatic, and teaches conversational Hindi that will be useful in “real world” situations. This book is typeset and bound very nicely, so it is clear that the publisher has devoted attention to detail in an effort to produce a high quality book.
Elementary Hindi is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning Hindi.
The publisher’s pages for these books are:
The book is available on Amazon at the following links: