A Short Primer On Learning Hindi



As of last count, Hindi is said to be spoken by more than 180 million people of India and even considering it as their mother tongue. Another 300 million people use Hindi as a second language. Together with English, it is the main official language of India.

These figures are apart from those that speak Hindi from many parts of the world like Yemen, Singapore, South Africa, Fiji, Nepal, New Zealand and even in the United States. This does not include the 41 million in Pakistan who spoke its twin language, Urdu.

This makes Hindi a language spoken by one of the largest groups of people in the whole world, second perhaps only to Mandarin Chinese.

Hindi is directly derived from one of the world’s oldest languages, Sanskrit. Through the ages, it had been influenced and enriched by other languages such as Farsi, Arabic, Dravidian, Turkish and even Portuguese and English.

Poetic and rational

Because of its very long tradition and nature, it had been known to be a very expressive language. It can convey complex emotions even with simple and gentle words. On the other hand, it can stand up to exact uses in rational thinking.

Indian song and dance films are mostly done in Hindi. These films are very popular not only in India but in many parts of India and the world by people who do not even speak Hindi or Urdu.

Learning tips

It had been known that when studying a new language, everything in that language seemed more complicated than your own native language. Later, students would find that once the lessons start to come, and seeing words forming into sentences, the new language does not seem so intimidating after all.

This is also true with Hindi.

It is also comforting to know that the Hindi language is easy to pick up, easier than most people think. Reason? It is spoken exactly as it is written. In no time at all, the student will b able to read Hindi just as good as speaking it.

Alphabet

Learning a new language must begin with the alphabet because this is the basis for all speech and writing. Hindi Varnamala is the name of the Indian alphabet.

The Varnamala has 52 sounds. To be able to read, you must be able to master 10 vowels, 40 consonants, and 2 vocalizing techniques (nasalization and a kind of aspiration).

Mouth parts

To get the sounds right, six parts of the mouth (throat, palate, teeth, lips, nose, and the palate front) are used. To achieve the aspiration sound, the epiglottis is used to stop the air in the throat.

For people thinking it is hard to produce Hindi sounds, it is well to remember that these are the very same mouth parts used to speak English.

(Even English speakers have their own variations in the production of the English language. The British frequently use the front mouth part and the tips of their tongues. The Americans rely on their nasal area and the back part of their mouths.)

Listening and speaking

Just as it is in any other language, the best and easiest way to learn Hindi is to listen and speak the language at any time you have – with native speakers, with fellow students, and most ideally, with people on the streets. Practice, after all, makes perfect.








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