Hindi (हिन्दी) is a language spoken in most states in northern and central India. It is an Indo-European language, of the Indo-Iranian subfamily. It evolved from the Middle Indo-Aryan prakrit languages of the middle ages, and indirectly, from Sanskrit. Hindi derives a lot of its higher vocabulary from Sanskrit. Due to Muslim influence in Northern India, there are also a large number of Persian, Arabic and Turkish loanwords.
Linguists think of Hindi and Urdu as the same language, the difference being that Hindi is written in Devanagari and draws vocabulary from Sanskrit, while Urdu is written in Arabic script and draws on Persian and Arabic. The separation is largely a political one; before the partition of India into India and Pakistan, spoken Hindi and Urdu were considered the same language, Hindustani. Since partition, Standard Hindi has developed by replacing many words of Arabic and Persian origin with Sanskrit words. Hindi and Urdu presently have four standard literary forms: Standard Hindi, Urdu, Dakkhini (Dakhini), and Rehkta. Dakhini is a dialect of Urdu from the Deccan region of south-central India, chiefly from Hyderabad, that uses fewer Persian or Arabic words. Rehkta is a form of Urdu used chiefly for poetry.
Hindi is the second most spoken language in the world, after Chinese. About 500 million people speak Hindi, in India and abroad, and the total number of people who can understand the language may be 800 million. A 1997 survey found that 66% of all Indians can speak Hindi, and 77% of the Indians regard Hindi as "one language across the nation". More than 180 million people in India regard Hindi as their mother tongue. Another 300 million use it as second language. Outside of India, Hindi speakers are 100,000 in USA; 685,170 in Mauritius; 890,292 in South Africa; 232,760 in Yemen; 147,000 in Uganda; 5,000 in Singapore; 20,000 in New Zealand; 30,000 in Germany. Urdu, the official language of Pakistan, is spoken by about 41 million in Pakistan and other countries. Hindi became one of the official languages of India on January 26, 1965 and it is a minority language in a number of countries, including Fiji, Mauritius, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and United Arab Emirates.
Hindi is generally classified in the Central Zone of the Indo-Aryan languages. Hindi is the predominant language in the states and territories of Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, as well as the cities of Bombay and Hyderabad. It is not easy to delimit the borders of the Hindi speaking region.
Dialects of Hindi
Some of the East-Central Zone languages, including and Dhanwar, and Rajasthani languages, including Marwari, are also widely considered to be dialects of Hindi. There has been considerable controversy on the status of Punjabi and the Bihari languages, including Maithili, Bhojpuri, and Magadhi.
Hindi's popularity has been helped by Bollywood, the Hindi film industry. These movies have an international appeal and now they have broken into the Western markets as well.
The beginnings of Hindi literature go back to the Prakrits that are a part of the classical Sanskrit plays. Tulasidas's Ramacharitamanas attained wide popularity. Modern masters include Sumitra Nandan Pant, Maithili Sharan Gupta, Mahadevi Varma, Ajneya and Munshi Premchand.
Hindi Sound System
The Devanagari script represents the sounds of spoken Hindi almost exactly, so that a person who knows the devanagari letters can sound out a written Hindi text comprehensibly, even without knowing what the words mean.
Hindi has a rich consonant system, with about 38 distinct consonants. (An exact number cannot be given, since the regional varieties of Hindi differ in the details of their consonant repertoire, and it is unclear to what extent certain sounds that appear only in foreign words should be considered part of Hindi.) The traditional core of the consonant system, inherited from Sanskrit, consists of an almost mathematical matrix of 25 occlusives, in which the airstream through the mouth is completely blocked, and 8 sonorants and fricatives. The system is filled out by 6 sounds that originated in Persian and Arabic, but are now considered Hindi sounds.
The 25 occlusives occur in five groups, with each group sharing the same position of articulation. These positions in their traditional order are: dorso-velar, apico-domal (or retroflex), dorso-palatal, apico-alveolar, and bilabial.
In each position, there are five varieties of consonant, with four oral stops and one nasal stop. An oral stop may be voiced, aspirated, both, or neither. This four-way opposition is the hardest aspect of Hindi pronunciation for a speaker of English.
The voiced, unaspirated stops are mostly easy for English speakers. The initial sounds of "get", "jet", "debt", and "bet" are perfect examples of the dorso-velar, dorso-palatal, apico-alveolar, and bilabial positions, respectively. The apico-domal or retroflex position is the hardest for an English speaker: the apex of the tongue must be curled backward and brought into contact with the dome of the palate, well behind the gum-line.
The 4 resonants are y, r, l, and v. These are all like English, except that r is a tap as in Spanish, not an approximant.
da:Hindi de:Hindi es:Hindi eo:Hinda lingvo fr:HindÓ hi:हिन्दी ja:ヒンディー語 pl:Język hindi simple:Hindi sl:Hindijščina sv:Hindi