Hindi Learning: Getting the Basics

Photo by Mohit Tomar on Unsplash

For nearly 8 months I slowly began to study Hindi everyday.

I started off using Duolingo to learn how to read devanagari (the script commonly used by the Hindi language).

I learned that Hindi had some interesting aspects, which differed from some of the genderless languages I had studied (i.e., Turkish and Mandarin).

Things about Hindi:

  1. There are no gendered pronouns, for example He and She doesn’t exist it is only वह (vah)
  2. But, you need to specify the gender of an adjective or noun. Example:
    लड़की लंबी है। ladakee lambee hai. The girl is tall.
    लड़का लंबा है। ladaka lamba hai. The boy is tall.
  3. Transliteration is all over the place. When writing in transliteration (which is common for many native hindi speakers) it may not always be the same. So this skill is something learned through interaction.
  4. Devanagari has half constants, which can get complicated. I’m still not there yet to explain this, but if you look up this topic online you may find more information about the writing system of Hindi.
  5. There are sounds in Hindi that doesn’t exist in English. This is probably common in many languages, but can cause some difficulty when learning to speak, but thankfully I can use google translate to hear some of the pronunciation. But best is to listen to shows, native speakers, or podcasts to hear how natives sound.

One thing I also learned during my beginning exploration of Hindi was that there are so many other Indian languages that are are vastly different, such as the Dravidian family group of languages, which includes Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, etc. It can become complicated, but the main thing is to stick with focusing on the language one’s learning, but be aware of the influence of other languages into Hindi.

Also there’s a lot of English used/mixed into spoken Hindi. So you may end up hearing that most Hindi speakers may use a lot of English words instead of possibly sanskrit origin words due to the modernization of the Hindi language.

Hindi is indeed a fascinating language, and one that I am glad I started to explore. I’m looking forward to understanding it more, and in the same time learn more about the people of India and the neighboring South Asian countries.

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Dana

Dana

a person with wanderlust and medium-size dreams, sharing her suffering and joy with the world through words