Beverly Hills Lingual Insitute
Beverly Hills Lingual Insitute
Beverly Hills Lingual Insitute
Beverly Hills Lingual Insitute

Blog   |   Language, Learning and Culture

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So You Want to Learn Hindi?

Namaste!

In Hindi, salutations do not vary by time; e.g.: "Good Morning," "Good Afternoon," "Good Evening," and "Goodnight" (as Jim Carrey's character in The Truman Show might string together).

Rather, the Hindi greeting is Namaskar (I pay my salutations) or Namaste (Salutation to you - more common in everyday use). People of different religions and faiths alternatively use their own wordings; a Muslim might say Salam alekum, a Sikh, Sat shri akal, a Nationalist, Jai Hind, and a Humanist, Jai jagat.

As in French with tu and vous, Hindi speakers use different forms of the pronoun "you" to address people. Ap is used to address one's seniors, or more than one person (as with the French vous). Tum is used in addressing relatives or close friends - or persons of lower status than the speaker. Tu expresses feelings of contempt and insignificance. It is also used in addressing God.

Hindi has no neuter gender. All inanimate objects and abstract nouns are either masculine or feminine. The gender system is quite arbitrary, although there are certain rules by which the gender of most nouns may be determined. This should not discourage learners!

As in English, all nouns in Hindi change their form according to their number (singular or plural) and gender.

English has prepositions; Hindi has post-positions. The clause, "on the road," is translated as "on road the," wherein "on" is the preposition (because it comes before the noun), but "the" is the postposition (because it follows the noun).

It will not surprise you, then, that the word order in a typical Hindi sentence is, for the most part, the reverse of that of the average English sentence. In an English sentence, the subject of the sentence (i.e.: the person or thing doing the action) appears first, then the verb (or action of the sentence), followed by its object(s).

However, in Hindi, the verb generally appears at the end of the clause or sentence; unlike English, where it is found near the subject of the sentence. In Hindi, the subject comes first, then the object(s), and finally the verb completes the clause or sentence. This may sound complicated, but is fairly easy to learn; as the basic order remains throughout.

For example:

  • I boy am

  • Avishek good boy is

  • He good books reads

  • They good books quickly read

  • We bad books not will read

  • She later good books quickly will read

  • I girl to speak

  • I books quickly read but you books slowly read

  • If you store go then milk buy

  • When we store go then we milk will buy

In Hindi, there is no introductory construction equivalent to "there is" or "there are." The English sentence, "There are girls here," becomes, in Hindi, "Girls are here."

An invaluable suggestion for those aspiring to speak Hindi with naturalness and fluidity is to try to keep sentences simple.

That said, Hindi is a language of vast and rich literature. It is written in Dev Naagari script, which some have interpreted to imply sound arranged in such a way that divine consciousness - the highest awareness - unfolds.

Devanagari is a compound word in Sanskrit with deva meaning "deity" and nagari meaning "city" or "urban." This suggests that the script itself is both divine and worldly.

Swami Shyam of Kullu valley, also known as the "Valley of the Gods" or "Dev Bhumi," surmises that the purpose of learning the Dev Naagari script is "not only to learn a language, and the meaning therein, but rather to open a higher channel, a divine channel.

"The simplicity of the language is such that you can write each word exactly as you hear it; you do not have to memorize its spelling.
"For example, in English or in other languages, you often have to learn the joining of different letters by using a dictionary or by learning spelling from teachers.
"In Dev Naagari, once you have learned the vowels consonants, and maatraas (the symbols of the vowels in combination with consonants), you will immediately be able to start writing and reading the script."

Dev Naagari shares features of Sanskrit, Marathi, and Nepali. It is written from left to right. The Hindi alphabet consists of eleven vowels and thirty-five consonants. Some consonants are particular to Hindi and have no equivalent in English.

Writes Swami Shyam, "When you learn the Hindi language, you will find the beauty, the simplicity, and the joy that lies therein."

Padhane ke lie dhanyavaad... (literally) Reading for thanks!

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