Before you start your Hindi course, you may be interested in having an overview of Hindi grammar, some tips on how to learn Hindi in the Devanagari alphabet and some thoughts on how to choose Hindi lessons. This short report is here to help you.
Before You Start Your Hindi Course: Some Things To Know About How To Learn Hindi by Kathleen Hobbins How To Learn Hindi Blog © 2010 Kathleen Hobbins Before You Start Your Hindi Course: Some Things To Know About How To Learn Hindi Congratulations on your choice to discover how to learn Hindi. I hope you find a Hindi course that is exciting and fun for you. Hindi is called the language of songs because so many enchanting songs and epic poems have been written in that language. A descendant of the ancient sacred and literary language Sanskrit, it is a member of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. Other members of that branch are • Bengali • Nepali • Punjabi Of the 350 languages spoken in India, Hindi and English are the two official languages. Millions of people speak the language, making it the fourth most common language spoken worldwide. The only languages spoken by more people are • Mandarin • Spanish and • English Hindi is also spoken in • Fiji • Guyana and • Mauritius There is an increase in interest in studying Hindi in the past several years. Enrollment in university courses has exploded. Many language schools and language software developers are finding it hard to keep up with the demand. It is difficult for interested students to find out how to learn Hindi. Finding a Hindi course is not easy in the United States. The rise in popularity in the study of Hindi is probably due to the tremendous surge in importance of India on the global economic, political and cultural scene. Since the importance of India is not likely to diminish soon, the interest in how to learn Hindi won't either. The purpose of this report is to give the reader some background knowledge and facts about the Hindi language before you embark on a Hindi course. Hindi, Hindustani and Urdu Opinions differ among linguists as to language, dialect and register in connection with Hindi and related languages. Hindustani is generally considered to be the combined language of Hindi, one of the official languages of India, and Urdu, the official language of Pakistan. Before the partition between India and Pakistan, the following terms were interchangeable: • Hindustani • Hindi and • Urdu Hindi and Urdu, as colloquial spoken languages, are mutually intelligible, so anyone who speaks one of the two languages speaks the other. In fact, Bollywood films, which are filmed in that colloquial language, are understood and popular both in India and in Pakistan. The grammar of Hindi is essentially identical to that of Urdu. Basic vocabulary is the same, but specialized or academic vocabulary differs between them. The specialized vocabulary of Hindi is borrowed from Sanskrit whereas the specialized vocabulary of Urdu is borrowed from Persian, Arabic and Turkic. Consequently, after you take your Hindi course, you will not only be able to converse with millions of people in India, you will be able to carry on a conversation with millions of people in Pakistan, too. Though the spoken languages are nearly identical, there is a clear difference between the written languages. Urdu is written from right to left in the Perso-Arabic alphabet. On the other hand, Hindi is written from left to right in the Devanagari alphabet. Devanagari Alphabet The Devanagari alphabet is the alphabet of Sanskrit, Nepali and Marathi as well as Hindi. It is easily identifiable by the horizontal bar that runs across the top of the words. In the Devanagari alphabet, there are no spaces between the words. It is written from left to right along a horizontal line. The alphabet was originally called the “Nagari” alphabet, meaning urban or urbane. That designation referred to the cultural establishment. There were different variations on the Nagari script, and the variation used for the sacred texts in Sanskrit was called “Devanagari” or the urbane script of the gods. It is this variation that has become the script used for standardized Hindi. Of course, even before you start your Hindi course, you will wonder how to learn Hindi in its written form. You may find it daunting to learn to read and write a foreign alphabet. You shouldn't, though. Just apply the same rituals to learning to read and write Hindi that you did when you learned to read and write English. Copy each letter one by one. Sound the letter out to yourself as you practice writing it. Work at this as much as you can. Practice, and only practice, will make a foreign alphabet familiar. After you have practiced writing each letter to the point of familiarization, try to write English letters in the Devanagari script. You will find it helpful in your efforts to attach a sound to a written letter and this will be very beneficial to you in your Hindi course. You should find some Hindi writing – a book, perhaps, or at least several paragraphs – and simply read it out loud. You won't understand it at first. You don't have to, though, for this exercise. Your aim is to turn an unfamiliar alphabet into the spoken word. So just sound the words out, just like you did in first grade. At first, it will probably take a lot of time and effort to get through each line of text. Keep at it and you will gain fluency. Whatever you do, don't get discouraged. Even children can read and write Hindi. There is no reason why you can't discover how to learn Hindi in its written form. Basics of Hindi Grammar If you are interested in how to learn Hindi, you will probably want to have some background information about the language before you start. Here are some basic facts about Hindi that may help you to orient yourself as you start out on your Hindi course. 1. Word Order. In general, in Hindi, the verb comes at the end of the sentence. The result is that the word order of a typical sentence follows the pattern of placing the subject first, then the object, then the verb. Word placement can change somewhat for reasons of style or emphasis, but it is not a heavily inflected language, so word order isn't as flexible as in some languages. In Hindi, there are postpositions instead of prepositions. So the word comes after its object instead of before it. As in English and German, adjectives precede the noun that they modify. 2. Case. Hindi is weakly inflected. Nouns have three cases. That means that the form of a noun can tell you what role the noun plays in the sentence. The cases in Hindi are: • the direct case, which is the dominant case. It is used for the subject of a sentence and for other nouns unless the oblique or vocative case is necessary. • the oblique case, used for nouns followed by a preposition • the vocative case, used when the noun is a form of address. Note that, for nouns, the direct case would be applicable for both the subject and the object of the sentence. 3. Gender. In Hindi, every noun is either masculine or feminine in gender. The masculine gender refers to both men and male animals and is also used for objects that have taken on the masculine gender by usage. Similarly, the feminine gender refers to women and female animals and for other objects that have been assigned the feminine gender by usage. 4. Pronouns. Hindi pronouns do not convey gender. Hindi pronouns have more cases than Hindi nouns. Although there is no vocative case for pronouns, there are direct and oblique cases for pronouns as there are for nouns. In addition, there are • the accusative case, used for direct objects and • the genitive case, used to show possession. As in Romance languages like French or Spanish, the second person shows not only number (i.e., singular or plural), but also respect. There are three usages of these honorifics: • The formal form can be either singular or plural. The formal form is used in formal settings or when speaking to someone older or otherwise senior to the speaker • The informal form can be either singular or plural. It is used in informal settings or when speaking to someone younger or otherwise junior to the speaker • The extremely informal, for which no plural form exists. It is used only between people on very intimate terms or in sacred poetic language. Using this form inappropriately can be insulting to the person so addressed. 5. Verb Forms. Hindi verbs agree with their subjects in both number and gender. If the subject of a verb is a pronoun, the verb agrees with the noun that the pronoun represents. Hindi verbs indicate tense, or whether an action is past, present or future. The indication of tense is usually made by the use of an auxiliary verb. Hindi verbs also indicate aspect, that is, whether an action is habitual, progressive or perfective. 6. Interrogatives. Questions in Hindi can be formed by using markers at the beginning of a sentence. Some markers, such as who, what, when, where and why are typical in many languages. In addition to those, Hindi also has a word kyaa, which can be placed at the beginning of a sentence to indicate an interrogative. An interrogative can also be indicated in speech by intonation. How To Learn Hindi Whether you are interested in how to learn Hindi for business or personal reasons, you may find it challenging to find a Hindi course. Notwithstanding the increase in interest in taking a Hindi course, the language still remains rarely taught in colleges and private language schools. It may be possible to find a tutor, but there are certainly large geographic areas in which Hindi tutors are scarce. So it can be hard to find a Hindi course or to figure out how to learn Hindi. The best approach to how to learn Hindi is an online Hindi course. The advantages to an online Hindi course are clear: you can study at times to suit your schedule, wherever you have an internet connection. Unlike a school Hindi course, you can repeat a lesson if you have difficulty with it or move ahead quickly if you find that you are learning the material easily. The best online Hindi course will have interactive quizzes and games for increased learning possibilities. The premium ones have members-only forums for encouragement and assistance within the learning community. I recommend Rocket Hindi. My favorite part about Rocket Hindi is that you can try it out for free. You can sign up for the free six-part course before you buy. That way, you can decide whether Rocket Hindi is your best choice for how to learn Hindi . . . while you are taking a free six-part Hindi course. Visit The Blog Thank you for reading this short report on how to learn Hindi. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you learned a lot from it. I wish you all the best in your studies in a Hindi course. For more about how to learn Hindi, stop by my How To Learn Hindi Blog.
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