Hindustani also known as Hindi-Urdu, is an Indo-Aryan language, primarily spoken in Northern India and Pakistan, and communities from those countries abroad. By some measurements, it's the 3rd most spoken language in the world. The variety spoken in India is referred to as Hindi, and the variety spoken in Pakistan is often referred to as Urdu. As an Indo-European language, it is (distantly) related to most European languages, and as such, a lot of its core grammar and phonology is vaguely recognizable to people that speak at least one European language.
Usually, the Devanagari Script is used in India and a variety of the Arabic script, called Nastaliq in Pakistan. Both communities use the Latin alphabet as well, especially online.
Hindustani has quite a few resources, most of these teach Hindi, with a minority offering Urdu as well.
|Resource||Assimil||Pimsleur||Michel Thomas||Language transfer||Rosetta stone||Babadum|
|Available||Yes*(Only from French)||Yes*||Yes**||No||Yes*||No|
* As Hindi
** Community-made courses available as Hindi and Urdu
- Learning Hindi- A site with a lot of info on Hindi, and a bit of info about Urdu which unfortunately appears to have been abandoned.
- https://hindilanguage.info/ - Another (unfortunately mostly abandoned) site with a lot of information about Hindi.
- https://www.hindipod101.com/ - Paid courses with audio and text-based learning as well as 1:1 classes.
Books and PDFs
|A Basic Grammar of Modern Hindi||An official Hindi guide book published by Central Hindi Directorate of India after the officialization of Hindi in India.|
|Rimjhim||Grade 1 Hindi textbook by NCERT; contains easy-to-understand poems, stories and articles; recommended for beginners.|
|Oxford English-Hindi Multilingual Dictionary|
|Learn Hindi with HindiPod101.com||YouTube channel for https://www.hindipod101.com/ with free learning videos.|
|How To Learn Hindi Faster Than I Did!||Video by Karl Rock with tips to learn the language|
|Learn hindi Alphabets and words||An animated (kids) video with introduction to the Devanagari script for Hindi|
|100 Hindi Sentences to get you through a day||Phrases and sentences often useful for tourists unfamiliar to the language for communicating.|
|Hindi TV||Channel that uploads lessons daily. Check playlists for more useful courses in chronological order.|
A full Devanagari orthographic chart for Modern Standard Hindi is available at https://www.easyhindityping.com/hindi-alphabet along with their Latin equivalents. The official transilteration scheme for Hindi is IAST but it is not used for general online communication purposes.
Hindi is an abugida language, which means the vowel is attached to a consonant in a secondary manner. Example - क् (k) + ई (ee) = की (kee). For online typing, a separate set of "dependent vowels" is available (ा, ि, ो, etc.) which when placed next to a consonant, attaches itself to the consonant to form one single character on selection. The order of letters in the alphabet is arranged so that the source of the sound keeps descending into the speaker's vocal cord.
Without any vowel attached to it, a consonant would make a sound similar to the 'u' in 'such' (अ), except for when it is the last letter in a word, in which case only the sound made by it is pronounced ('k' for 'क' instead of 'ka'), similar to when a 'halant' (्) is attached to it. Letters can also be conjoined to form single letters combining parts of the source letters, for example म् (m) + भ (bha) = म्भ (mbha).
When displaying the conjoining sounds as separate characters, always attach a 'halant' to all letters except the one that comes at last; न्ध्र (ndhra) should be written as 'न् + ध् + र' NOT 'न + ध + र'। Cojoined letters are usually written with specific parts of the source letters but some characters defy this rule like श्र (श् [sh] + र [ra]); त्र (त् [t] + र [r]); ज्ञ (ज [j] + ञ [nya]), and 'र्' (r) combined with any letter such as र् + क (ka) = र्क (rka).
In unofficial Romanization, some letters are written the same and their sound must be identified based on the word they are used in, which is purely based on vocabulary knowledge. 'ड' and 'द' are written with the same 'da'/'d' but their IPA transcriptions are 'ḍa' and 'da' respectively.
Hindi consists of two genders: masculine and feminine. Every noun, pronoun and verb is either one masculine or feminine. A common way of determining the gender of a word is to look for "ee" (ई) syllable at the end or close to the end of the word. If it is there, it is most likely feminine, and otherwise masculine. However, this rule is irrelevant for a lot of words like पानी ("paanii"/"water") which is masculine, and हवा ("hawaa"/"air") which is feminine.
In verbs' cases however, this is always true. If the speaker is a male, he would say "I work." as "मैं काम करता हूँ" (Main kaam kartaa hoon), and if the speaker is female, she would say "मैं काम करती हूँ।" (Main kaam karti hoon.) This applies to second- and third-person as well. The only third person pronouns are "वह" (wah) and "वे" (wey).
Almost all Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages have particular forms of politeness that is to be used when referring to a second- or third person. The use and choice of these forms depend on the social relationship between the people in question, and the situation.
Usually, the best example for this word is "you" which has three forms: "तू" (too) which is an impolite form and used when speaking to someone below the speaker's age, "तुम" (tum) which is the regular form and used when speaking to someone of or around the speaker's age, and "आप" (aap) which is the polite form and used when speaking to someone above the speaker's age. This is not a concrete rule: the forms can be used in improper cases, given that the listener is aware of the speaker's speaking habits.
Hindi is based on the subject-object-verb (SVO) structuring, which means the object in the sentence is placed before the verb. For example:
- I am singing a song.
- मैं गाना गा रहा/रही हूँ।
In some cases, the order can be shifted around and the sentence would still be valid. Such as:
- This is truly a wonderful place.
which can be written as either
- यह तो सचमुच कमाल की जगह है। (Yeh toh Sachmuch kamaal ki jagah hai.)
- सचमुच कमाल की जगह है यह तो। (Sachmuch kamaal ki jagah hai yeh toh.)
|आज तक (Aaj Tak)||News articles written in Hinglish variant (mixed with English words in Devanagari, useful in learning Indian pronounciation and accent).|
|Zee News||News articles in pure Hindi; YouTube channel based in NOIDA with daily reportings in pure Hindi.|
|दैनिक जागरण (Dainik Jagran)||Most popular Hindi newspaper, published in all states of India except South and Northeast.|
|DD News||The first Indian news TV channel; articles on the website available in both English and Hindi|
|Premchand||ईदगाह (Eidgaah), दूध की कीमत (Price of Milk), दो बैलों की कथा (Tale of Two Oxen), बड़े भाई साहब (My Elder Brother)|
|Mahadevi Verma||वह चीनी भाई (The Chinese Man), गिल्लू (Gillu), स्मरण प्रेमचंद (Remembering Premchand)|
|Harivansh Rai Bachchan||खादी के फूल (Flowers of Khadi), सूत की माला (Yarn Garland)|
|Sharad Joshi||तुम कब जाओगे, अतिथि (When are you going, guest), नेतृत्व की ताकत (Power of Leadership), लोकायुक्त (Lokayukt)|
Hindi is the main language used in Bollywood and thus there are films with all levels of the language spoken in it. Starting with films of bad scriptwriting is recommended because they use simple form of the language like literary works.
|Action||Dhoom (2004), Dishoom (2016)|
|Adventure||Krrish (2006), Total Dhamaal (2017), Amazon अभियान (2017)|
|Biography||No One Killed Jessica (2011), Mary Kom (2014), Sanju (2018), Gunjan Saxena (2020), Shershaah (2021), Saina (2021)|
|Comedy||Mr. & Mrs. '55 (1955), Malamaal Weekly (2006), Sholay (1985), Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), Bhootnath Returns (2014)|
|Crime||Roy (2015), Rustom (2016), Wazeer (2016)|
|Documentary||Menstrual Man (2013), Sachin: A Billion Dreams (2017), रसन पिया (2015)|
|Drama||Black Friday (2004), Taare Zameen Par (2007), Barfi (2012), Dangal (2016), Tubelight (2017)|
|Family||Chillar Party (2011), English Vinglish (2012)|
|Fantasy||A Flying Jatt (2016)|
|History||Bajirao Mastani (2015), Mohenjo Daro (2016), Parmanu (2018), Panipat (2019)|
|Horror||Creature (2014), Stri (2018), Laxmii (2020), Roohi (2021), Alone (2015)|
|Romance||कुछ कुछ होता है (1998), Jab We Met (2011), Befikre (2016), Zero (2018)|
|Sci-fi||Koi... Mil Gaya (2003), Ra-One (2011), Mr. X (2015)|
|Thriller||Race (2008), 13B (2009), Drishyam (2015), सत्यमेव जयते (2018), Raazi (2018), Hotel Mumbai (2018)|
|War||Border (1997), The Ghazi Attack (2017), Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019), Kesari (2019), Sherhshaah (2021), Bhuj (2021)|
Comics are not officially translated to Hindi (unofficial translations are of course available), but many anime and cartoon shows are available in Hindi dub and transliterated Latin subtitles. Although, original Hindi shows have more accurate dialogues which can convey the verbs and senses perfectly.
- Tom and Jerry
- Chhota Bheem
- Keymon Ache (might need VPN to access)
- Gutsy Frog
- Gravity Falls
- Crayon Shinchan
- Teen Titans Go
- Powerpuff Girls
- Selfie with Bajrangi
- Bandbudh aur Budbak
- Oggy and the Cockroaches
- एक चिड़िया, अनेक चिड़िया (Ek Chidiya, Anek Chidiya)
- If you're learning the language for mainly spoken contact, you do not have to know even half the language! As an official language of both India and Pakistan, English also has a wide reach, and switching back and forth to Hindi and English is no surprise for communication in both countries.
- If you're learning it for written communication (like chat online), learning the Romanized form is enough. However if you want to officially support the language and its reach, minimize the use of Romanization and stick to Devanagari as far as you can.
- Unlike other popular languages, Hindi has very few good resources available, so the best way to get a good grip on the language without theoretical knowledge is literally just practise on Duolingo etc. and consume Bollywood content (movies, songs, etc.)
- (Ironically?) The clearest slang-ish movies available in Hindi are the ones dubbed from Dravidian languages. As mentioned, they have very bad scriptwriting so they are even easier to understand than authentic Hindi movies.
- Look at examples of words in masculine and feminine around you and try to frame sentences with them. Ask yourself, "Do they go together?" When you've looked at enough, you will be able to effortlessly guess which gender a particular word is.
- There are no articles - "a" and "an" can be written as "एक" (ek) which is literally "one", and "the" can be either "वह" (woh) or "उस" (us) based on the sentence.
- Use flash cards - colour specific parts of speech in a sentence in specific colour and keep replacing them as much as the structure supports after which you can use machine translation to find the right words. Using Google Translate is okay to a basic extent, but it is strongly discouraged to learn advanced parts of the language with, like cases and tense.