Saint Louis University


What is Hindi?
Hindi is the national language of India, a nation of over 1 billion people. It is a direct descendent of Sanskrit.

Who speaks Hindi?
A 1997 survey found that 66% of all Indians can speak Hindi, and 77% of Indians regard Hindi as "one language across the nation".

Why study Hindi?

  • For the intellectual enrichment, by learning a non-European language (though still belonging to the Indo-European family).
  • For an introduction to the culture of India. Language is one of the most important carrier of culture.
  • For good business. Hindi is essential to get to the mass market in India. Indian middle class is one of the largest emerging consumer groups in the world.
  • For reaching out to people in India while traveling. Most of the population of India does not know English.
  • For enjoying Hindi movies. India produces more Hindi movies than movies produced by Hollywood.

Do I already know some Hindi words?
Yes, if you understand words like Guru, Yoga, Pundit, Shampoo, Cot, Maharajah, etc., just to mention a few examples.

Is Hindi spoken outside India also?
Outside India, there are significant number of Hindi/Urdu speakers in Pakistan, Nepal, Mauritius, Surinam, Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Singapore, many countries of the Middle East, and now even in Canada and USA.

What does it entail to learn Hindi?
To be able to read and write Hindi, you’ll learn Devanagari script, with 12 vowels and 36 consonants. It is written, just like English, from left to right and from top to bottom. It is a phonetic script.

What are the origins of Hindi?
Hindi is a direct descendant of Sanskrit through Prakrit and Apabhramsha. It has been influenced and enriched by Dravidian languages, Turkish, Farsi, Arabic, Portugese and English.

What are the Hindi-speaking parts of India?
The Hindi speaking region in India consists of Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jhaarkhand and Chhattisgarh. It is also a working language in big cities like
Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

How is Hindi related to Urdu?
Urdu is the national language of Pakistan, and is spoken in a large part of Northern India. Urdu and Hindi are almost indistinguishable at an elementary level in speaking and in basic grammar. The difference comes in the choice of script for writing. Urdu uses Arabic script, in contrast to Devanagri script used for Hindi. Starting from the same Hindustani language, Urdu shows more inclination to borrow words from Persian and Arabic while Hindi leans on Sanskrit language. A typical Hindi movie may have dialogues and songs written by Urdu writers.

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Vijai Dixit
(314) 977-8421

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