There’s no getting around it – Hindi is an old language. Originally derived from Sanskrit, a language which has been around for around 3,500 years, Hindi as it is spoken and written today evolved over hundreds of years. Although the earliest form of Hindi was known as Apabhramsa, which was around during 400 AD, the modern script of Hindi, which is written in Devanagari, came into being around the 11th century.
Due to its long and established history, anyone looking to learn Hindi will have access to hundreds of years’ worth of literature and poetry, which is a very exciting prospect indeed, and will certainly provide lots of learning material when improving your knowledge of the language.
Learn More About Hindi Culture
The fact is that Hindi is a key language to learn if you want to truly learn more about India. This is because a huge number of people speak the language. As one of India’s official languages, there are some 260 million native speakers and another 120 million speakers who use Hindi as their second language. In fact, Hindi is so widely spoken it’s considered the fourth most-spoken language in the world.
You can even find Hindi speakers in locations as diverse as:
- Fiji; and
- Trinidad and Tobago,
This makes Hindi a truly great language if you love south-east Asia and it is a brilliant language if you’re looking to learn one that can be used internationally.
Hindi is also spoken as the main language in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, among others. It’s also spoken as the main language in Delhi – a location with a wide number of cultural attractions, including:
- The Red Fort;
- Chattarpur Temple;
- ISKCON Temple; and
- Lodhi Garden, to name a few.
If you are also able to speak English, then you’ll find travelling or working in India that much easier if you also have Hindi as a language in your repertoire. And when trying to find out more about an old and established culture such as India’s, being able to speak with the locals is a key factor in being able to experience and discover more about old traditions.
Learning Hindi Is A Great Way To Learn About Indian Culture
It’s often said that the way to a country’s culture is through its language. If you’re looking to learn more about the history of Indian culture, or want to explore this nation’s deep and rich history, then learning Hindi is a great way to begin.
Ultimately, India has one of the oldest cultures on the planet, and by learning Hindi you’ll be able to understand and learn more about what makes India so unique. Whether you’re:
- Hoping to explore India during an upcoming trip;
- Fascinated by the architectural wonders of India, such as the Taj Mahal;
- Looking to learn more about Indian film through Bollywood; or
- On the hunt for great Hindi literature to read,
Learning Hindi is truly a gateway to India. Although not everyone in India will speak Hindi (there are, after all, 23 official languages of India, including English) Hindi is one of the most widely spoken, and you can learn about much of Indian culture if you choose to learn Hindi.
Take, for example, India’s rich and prosperous film industry. Bollywood, as the industry is commonly known, features a wide range of Hindi-language films, so if you’re looking to learn about Indian culture through film, then Hindi is a great place to start.
For instance, you could watch films such as Like Stars on Earth, Dangal, or Trapped to get a feel for the language and culture, but of course, there are so many more films you can see as well, whether they’re new releases this year or a few decades old!
What's also great about being a learner of Hindi is the fact that once you've learnt how to speak Hindi, you should also be conversational in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. This is because both languages are linguistically and grammatically similar to each other, so speakers of Hindi can usually communicate to speakers of Urdu, although both languages are written in a different script.
Find The Best Hindi Teacher For You
Whether you’re passionate about India’s architecture, want to travel to India to experience its fantastic food culture, or want to learn more about the history of this country through its literature and theatre, then finding a good Hindi teacher can be a great first step to take.
Luckily, when it comes to learning a new language, a good teacher will make sure that you learn at a pace that suits you, and that you learn keywords, phrases, and verbs that are appropriate for your learning goals. Just make sure to reach out to your teacher about any particular questions or concerns that you have prior to starting the course so that your teacher is aware of any specific learning outcomes you may like to achieve.
For instance, if you need to travel to India for work, then learning Hindi with a business focus would be your best bet, while anyone looking to undertake a culinary journey around India would do well to learn as many names of different foods and drinks as possible.
When finding your next tutor, make sure you discuss your learning goals with them, so that they can tailor your lessons appropriately, and equip you with the knowledge you need to succeed on your next trip to India.
Ideally, you should find a course that will cater to your language ability, whether you're a beginner when it comes to Hindi and the Hindi script, or you're able to speak Hindi fluently but want to keep on top of your language knowledge.
As such, at a minimum, any Hindi language courses for beginners that you consider should look to introduce you to things such as:
- Greetings in Hindi;
- Common words that you'll encounter in your day to day travels around India or in a business environment;
- Listening exercises and other learning tools that help to develop your listening skills; and
- Hindi grammar, as well as popular Hindi phrases, sentence structure, vocabulary, and the principles of good pronunciation.
Learning a language is never easy, even if you are multilingual already, so it's very important that you find a Hindi tutor who is able to show you how to learn Hindi in a way that complements your interests in Hindi and your own learning style.
You can learn Hindi online if you'd prefer to have lessons remotely. (Image Source: CC0 1.0, kalhh, Pixabay)
Should I Learn Hindi Online?
Once you’ve decided you’d like to learn Hindi, another crucial item to consider is how you’d like to learn the language. There are lots of courses available online that claim to teach you Hindi, but you should really do your research before paying for an online course.
See what other people have said about the course, whether it offers any contact time with a tutor remotely, and check whether the course is able to teach you at the language level you need. For instance, you don’t want to book onto an online Hindi course for intermediate learners if you’re not even familiar with the Hindi alphabet!
As an alternative, you could look to use an online tutor to provide you with one on one Hindi lessons from the comfort of your home. Using sites such as Superprof, you can search for Hindi tutors that are happy to offer online lessons, and set a learning schedule that fits around your life.
You could even ask your tutor to focus on particular topics. For example, if you're an English speaker and would like to start your Hindi language journey by learning which English words appear within the Hindi vocabulary, your Hindi tutor should be able to accommodate that request. Equally, if you'd like to start by learning key Hindi words and phrases, a tutor should be able to incorporate this into your learning schedule.
Even if you’re not a fan of online tutoring, you can still find tutors that are happy to provide lessons in person or in a group setting, such as during a workshop, in a location near to you. You just need to enter your postcode when searching for a suitable tutor, and a list of available tutors in your area will appear.
Ultimately, a Hindi teacher or tutor will want you to succeed in your language learning journey, and finding a good teacher is the first step to learning about one of India’s most spoken and most popular languages.
With a history running into the hundreds of years, there are plenty of learning materials for you to access, and there are millions of people out there that you can communicate with if you do decide to take the plunge and learn Hindi, so why not give it a go today?