April 20, 2012

Introduction to Hindi

Hindi is the most widely spoken language of India, and is the primary official language of the Republic of India.

According to the number of native speakers, Hindi is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

It is difficult to estimate how many Indians speak Hindi as their native or secondary language. However, it is important to note that India is a very diverse country in which many languages are spoken, and thus not all Indians speak Hindi. According to the 2001 census, 41% of Indians declared Hindi as their language.

Hindi is spoken widely in the north-central regions of India. It is spoken much less widely in South India. India is spoken as the primary language in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Hindi is additionally spoken in many other countries throughout the world. A large number of Indian expatriates live in English-speaking regions such as the United Kingdom, America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa. Hindi is spoken in countries which neighbor India, such as Bangladesh and Nepal. Hindi and Urdu are essentially dialects of the same language, and Urdu is spoken in Pakistan.

Hindi derives its vocabulary from several major sources, including Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic. English vocabulary has been incorporated into Hindi also, especially in colloquial Hindi.

Hindi and Urdu are essentially different registers of the same language. They differ mainly in vocabulary, most prominently in formal and literary styles. Literary Hindi draws from Sanskrit whereas literary Urdu draws from Persian and Arabic. However, in colloquial Hindi-Urdu, the vocabulary is mixed. Grammatically, the two languages are basically identical. Some people refer to the language as “Hindustaani”, and consider Hindi and Urdu to be the two primary dialects of this language.

  • Igor

    Thank for you for the clear explanation! I am interested in learning Hindi an this was a nice concise introduction. Igor

    • You’re welcome! Let me know if you have any questions about Hindi. I hope you’ll find more useful information on this site.

  • irfan

    good explanation

  • Shari G

    Hi, I loved your lesson on velar consonants. Finally I figured out where to put my tongue! Are you planning to do the rest of the consonants? For English speakers, many of these consonants give a lot of problems, especially the many d and t sounds and after a few years of learning I still haven’t mastered them. Your explanation of velars was stellar, and I can’t wait to read what you write about the other consonants! Please let me know if these are in the plans.

    • Thanks! I’m glad that these lessons were useful to you. Originally, I planned to make more lessons, but when I released the first few lessons, very few people viewed them, so I didn’t make any more. Lately, a few people have expressed interest in the lessons, so I will consider adding some more lessons. You’re welcome to subscribe to the mailing list, which will let you know whenever I add new content.