Whenever your reason for studying Hindi or being interested in it, learning more about the language is always a good idea. In this article you will find some interesting facts about Hindi language statistics, origin, dialects, difficulty of learning, similarities with other languages and more.
1. Origin of Hindi.
Hindi language is being categorized as Indo-European family language and it belongs to Indo-Aryan branch. It is thought that Sanskrit, which is an ancient Indian language and it dates back to even 5000 BC, had a lot of influence on Hindi therefore there are similarities in vocabularies of these languages. In 1949 the Government of India gave Hindi official language status. Up until now September 14th is being celebrated in India as Hindi Day.
In India, Hindi shares official language status together with English. Since India is a multilingual country, Hindi is being spoken only by part of Indians. Out of all population of this country, Hindi is being used by ~40% of people there. Based on statistics, there are a total of 370 million speakers who use Hindi as the first language and 120 million additional speakers who use it as a second language. These numbers make it the 4-rth most spoken language in the world after Chinese, Spanish and English (as 1-st language). If we would take into account both native and non-native speakers, Hindi is the second most spoken language in the world.
It is also worthwhile to mention that Hindi is spoken outside of India too in countries like Fiji, Tobago, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad as well as Nepal. Due to large population of India, large communities of Hindi speakers can be also found in countries like Germany, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, USA and others. Since population of India increases rapidly it is highly likely that the number of Hindi speakers will continue to grow fast and importance of this language will increase too.
2. Alphabet and Grammar.
Hindi is being written in Devanagari script, which derived from ancient Brahmi script. It can be said that Devanagari is quite similar to other Indian scripts like Bengali and Gujarati. The alphabet of this language consists of 33 consonants and additional 11 vowels. Since each sound in Hindi alphabet corresponds to a unique sound, it is quite easy to read in this language. Since pronunciation of letters is always the same you would be able to read in Hindi without too much difficulties. Unlike English, Hindi doesn’t use articles, which is another factor that makes learning this foreign language significantly easier.
Some more difficult aspects of Hindi grammar are that each noun has two genders (feminine or masculine). The gender of the noun also determines the form of verb and adjective that needs to be used in the sentence. Also Hindi has a different sentence structure since verbs here go at the end of the sentence. So for an English speaker Hindi sentence structure might take some time to get used to. All these aspects makes learning grammar of this language not an easy task.
4. Loan Words.
When learning Hindi you might find quite a lot of words that you already know the meaning of. This is because English uses some vocabulary that originates from Hindi. A few examples would be yoga, guru, avatar, karma, jungle and many other words.
It is also worthwhile to mention that you will find some English language too. Even though they are written in Devanagari scrip, they are read and pronounced the same way as in English language. A couple examples of these words would be football, hospital, train, station, doctor and many others. All these similarities between these languages makes learning Hindi significantly easier. Some other languages that influenced Hindi vocabulary are Persian, Portuguese, Turkish and Arabic.
5. Various Different Dialects.
While Hindi uses the same writing script in all regions – Devanagari, spoken form of this language has various dialects and variations. Quite commonly it is being divided into 4 main varieties – Nagari, Standard, High and Literary Hindi. If you would count all languages and their dialects in India, the number can be even close to a few hundred. Although multilingual country’s status is not very surprising for India when keeping in mind a large population number.
Some of the largest regions in India where Hindi is spoken are Delhi, Bihar, Himachal, Haryana, Bombay, Chandigarh and others. Since Indian states in south tend to use other languages like Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu it would be quite difficult to communicate there particularly in Hindi. Also these regions tend to use even a different writing script – Dravidian so you wouldn’t be able to write or read there if you only know Hindi.
6. Similarities with other Languages.
One of the most closely related languages to Hindi is Urdu, which is spoken in Pakistan. Both of these languages derived from Khari Boli dialect (or Hindustani). Due to many similarities between these languages it would be quite easy for a Hindi speaker to communicate with anyone who speaks Urdu. However a Hindi speaker wouldn’t be able to read or write in this language since it uses different writing script – Arabic. The other difference between these languages can be found in vocabulary – Urdu tends to have more words that originate from Persian while Hindi uses more vocabulary from Sanskrit.
Some other languages that Hindi shares similarities either in written or spoken form are Nepalese, Gujarati, Bengali and Sanskrit. Having a knowledge in one of these languages can make learning Hindi a significantly easier task too.