How to Speak Hindi
Hindi (मानक हिन्दी) is an official language of the Union of India and the lingua franca of North India. Hindi shares its roots with other Indo-Aryan languages such as Sanskrit, Urdu, and Punjabi as well as Indo-Iranian and Indo-European languages spanning Persian to Kurdish to Russian to Gaelic.Learning to speak Hindi can be challenging, but you can start by learning simple words and phrases. You should also practice your Hindi with others in a class, on your own using online tools, or with a language partner.
EditLearning Hindi Grammar
- Familiarize yourself with Hindi nouns. In Hindi, all nouns, which are words for objects, places, and people, have a gender: masculine (M) or feminine (F). Make sure you remember the gender or every noun in Hindi as the gender of Hindi nouns is essential for proper grammar and communication of the language.
- You can apply a general rule to determine the gender for a noun. Words that end with the vowel आ aa are usually masculine and words that end with the vowel ई ee are usually feminine. Keep in mind there are many exceptions to this rule. To be on the safe side, you should still learn the gender of all nouns by memorizing them and lots of practice using them in Hindi sentences and phrases.
- For example, the noun for boy is: लड़का ladkaa (M) and the noun for girl is: लड़की ladkee (F). The general rule of gender applies in the case of these nouns.
- But nouns like मेज़ mez – Desk (F) or घर ghar – House (M) are all exceptions to the general rule of gender.
- Learn Hindi pronouns. To communicate effectively in Hindi, you will need to learn simple pronouns like “he, she, I, we, they”. The pronouns in Hindi are:
- First person singular: मैं main – I
- First person plural: हम ham – We
- Second person singular: तू too – You (Intimate)
- Second person plural: तुम tum – You (Informal), आप aap – You (Formal)
- Keep in mind each pronoun is used based on the level of politeness in a conversation. You should use the formal आप aap when you are meeting someone for the first time, talking to an elder or if you wish to show respect to the person whom you are speaking to.
- The informal तुम tum is used when you are talking with your friends or close relatives. The informal तू too can be used when you are having an informal or intimate conversation, such as a conversation with your partner or with your young children. Do not use the informal तू too when speaking to a stranger or someone you do not know well, as this is considered as very rude remark.
- Third person singular: यह yah – He / She/ It / This
- Third person plural: वह vah – He / She/ It / That
- In spoken Hindi these words are pronounced slightly differently: यह is pronounced yeh and वह is pronounced voh. You should use यह yeh when speaking about someone or something close to you. For example, if someone is standing next to you, you would use यह yeh.
- You should use वह voh when speaking about someone or something further away. For example, if someone is standing across the street, you would use वह voh.
- When in doubt, use वह voh.
- Third person plural: ये ye – These / They
- Third person plural: वे ve- Those / They
- You will often hear वे ve being pronounced as the singular “voh”. The third person plural pronouns follow the same rules: ये ye for people / things close to you (in the distance sense) and वे vo for people / things further away.
- Note that both यह yeh or वह voh could mean either “he” or “she”. In Hindi, the third person pronoun is not based on the gender of the person you are talking about. To determine if the person is talking to a “he” or “she”, you must consider the context of the sentence.
- Study Hindi verbs. Start by learning Hindi verbs in the infinitive form (in English, “to ___”), as verbs are conjugated in Hindi by removing the infinitive ending and adding other suffixes. Hindi infinitives end in ना naa.
- Examples of Hindi infinitives include: होना honaa – to be; पढ़ना pahrnaa – to read or to study; बोलना bolnaa – to speak; सीखना seekhnaa – to learn; जाना jaanaa – to go.
- Practice conjugating verbs. You must conjugate verbs in Hindi to reflect grammatical categories such as number, gender, tense, and mood.
- For example, the infinitive verb होना honaa- to be, conjugated for number becomes::
- मैं हूँ main hoon – I am
- हम हैं ham hain – We are
- तू है too hai – You are (intimate)
- तुम हो tum ho — You are (informal)
- आप हैं aap hain – You are (formal)
- यह है yah hai – he/she/this is
- वह है voh hai – he/she/that is
- ये हैं ye hain – these/they are
- वे हैं ve hain – those/they are
- There are three conjugations for gender in the present verb tense:
- For masculine singular subjects, drop the infinitive ending ना naa and add ता taa.
- For masculine plural subjects, drop the infinitive ending ना naa and add ते te.
- For feminine singular or feminine plural subjects, drop the infinitive ending ना naa and add ती tee.
- Hindi verbs have many tenses so you will need to use reference materials such as textbooks and language guides to learn how to conjugate verbs beyond the present tense. You can also use a good reference dictionary to assist you in conjugating new verbs.
- For example, the infinitive verb होना honaa- to be, conjugated for number becomes::
EditLearning Simple Words
- Practice basic greetings. “Hello” and “Goodbye” are the same word in Hindi, “namaste”, pronounced nuh-MUS-stay. Often, you will greet someone with “namaste” at the beginning of a conversation or as a casual greeting when you meet them in passing.
- “Good morning” in Hindi is “Suprabhaat”, and “Good evening” in Hindi is “Shub sundhyaa”. “Welcome” in Hindi is “Aapka swaagat hai!”
- A pronunciation guide for these words can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD9serDDbY8#t=17.
- Study the days of the week. Practice the days of the week to expand your Hindi vocabulary. It can help you to hear the days of the week pronounced by a fluent speaker, which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD9serDDbY8#t=17.
- Sunday: RaveevaaR
- Monday: SomvaaR
- Tuesday: MangalvaaR
- Wednesday: BudvaaR
- Thursday: guRoovaaR
- Friday: shukRavaaR
- Saturday: shaneevaaR
- You can also practice saying “yesterday”, which is “kal”, and today, which is “aaj”.
- Recite the numbers in Hindi. Another easy to learn list is the numbers 1-20 in Hindi. Learning the numbers can be a good way to expand your vocabulary further and get comfortable with the sounds of Hindi words.
- Zero: shunya/sifer
- One: eyk
- Two: do
- Three: teen
- Four: chaa
- Five: paanch
- Six: chey
- Seven: saat
- Eight: aat
- Nine: no
- Eleven: gyaaRah
- Twelve: baaRah
- Thirteen: teyRah
- Fourteen: chodah
- Fifteen: pandRaah
- Sixteen: solaah
- Seventeen: satRah
- Eighteen: ataaRaah
- Nineteen: nunees
- Twenty: bees
EditLearning Simple Phrases
- Practice saying “what’s your name?” Once you feel comfortable with Hindi words, you may try out simple phrases like “what’s your name?”, which is “Aap ka nam kya hai?”, pronounced “aap kaa NAAM kya hai.”
- You can also learn how to respond when someone asks you your name in Hindi by saying, “My name is…” or “Mera nam…hein”, pronounced “MAY-ra naam…hay.” For example, if your name is Mindy, you may say, “Mera naam Mindy hein.”
- Learn how to say “how are you?”. To keep your Hindi conversations going, you may then ask “how are you?” or “Aap kaisey hain?” pronounced “aap KAY-se hain.”
- You may then respond to the question with “I’m fine, thanks!” or “Mein theek hoon, shukriya!”
- You can also practice saying “thank you” or “Dhanya vaad”, pronounced “DUN-y e vaad.” You can respond when someone thanks you in Hindi by saying “your welcome” or “Shukriyaa.”
- Try the phrases in a short back and forth conversation. Once you feel comfortable with several words and phrases in Hindi, you may want to string them together in a short back and forth conversation with a fluent friend or a language partner. You can also practice conversational Hindi on your own. An example conversation may be:
- “Namaste!” (or “Arrey, Dost!” which is “Hi friend!”, a less formal greeting)
- “Aap kaisey hain?” (How are you?)
- “Mein theek hoon, shukriya! Aur aap?” (I’m good, thanks. And you?)
- “Theek-thaak.” (Good)
- “Alvida!” (Good bye!)
- “Namaste!” (Bye!)
- Practice basic traveler phrases. If you plan to travel in India or an area where Hindi is spoken, you may want to brush up on several traveler phrases to help you speak to locals during your trip. You should practice these phrases with a Hindi fluent friend or a friend who is also learning Hindi so you can master the pronunciation of these phrases and terms.
- “I’m lost”: “Hum kho gaye hain”
- “Can you help me?”: “Kya aap meri madad kar saktey hain?”
- “Where is the bathroom?”: “śaucaghara kahaan hai?”
- “How much is this?”: “Yeh kaisey diyaa?”
- “Excuse me…” (to ask for something): “Kshama keejeeae…”
- “Excuse me…” (to pass by someone): “Kshama keejeeae…”
- Learn how to order food in a Hindi restaurant. You can also practice ordering food in Hindi, which is a good way to also practice certain Hindi phrases and terms. Audio recordings of these Hindi phrases and terms can be found on the Audible Hindi website.
- “Would you like a …?” : “kya aapako … pasand hai?”
- “What would you like to drink?”: “Aap kya pina pasand karenge?”
- “I would like to …”: “main … lena pasand karunga.”
- “I don’t eat meat or fish.”: “Main macchi ya maas nahin khata.”
- “I don’t drink.”: “main shrab nahin pita.”
- “It’s awful!”: “yah bhayankar hai!”
- “It’s delicious!”: “yah swadisht hai!”
EditPracticing Your Hindi
- Join a Hindi language class. One of the best ways to learn a new language is to sign up for an in person class, where you engage with an instructor and other students at least once a week. You will be able to practice your Hindi in face to face conversations with your instructor and get hands on instruction on pronunciation and intonation.
- It can also be useful to be surrounded by other students who are also learning the language, as you can all act as supports for each other and practice the language together. Look for Hindi language classes at your local college or university, or at an Indian community center in your area.
- Use online tools like videos and podcasts. There are many online learning tools available for beginner Hindi speakers that focus on basic words and phrases, as well as more complex elements of the language, such as conjugation, verbs, adjectives, and Hindi sounds.
- You can access a video on 50 Hindi words here: http://ift.tt/1SP4Vfe. There are also videos on Hindi pronunciation that can be found here: http://ift.tt/1VeWNLl.
- You can access a podcast that focuses on learning Hindi here: http://ift.tt/1SP4Vff}.
- Read and recite Hindi children’s books. Hindi children’s books can be a great way to learn basic words and phrases in a fun and accessible way. Many children’s books are also good for getting better at conversational Hindi and provide visuals to reinforce the vocabulary.
- You can find over 60 Hindi children’s books here: http://ift.tt/1n9ZyxL, some with accompanying audio recordings of the books to get better at pronunciation.
- Practice your Hindi with a fluent friend. If you have a friend who is fluent in Hindi, you may want to arrange weekly meetings where you get together and practice conversational Hindi. Use simple subjects like the weather or how you’re feeling that day, and try to progress to more complex subject matter.
- You can also reach out to meet up groups in your area to see if there is a Hindi group where you can practice your Hindi with a more fluent speaker.
- Watch Hindi films. India has a huge movie industry, popularly known as “Bollywood” and over 1,000 films are released per year. You can find Hindi films online through streaming services or through a content provider like iTunes. Watch Hindi films in the comfort of your home to get better at conversational Hindi. You can watch them with the subtitles on or off to practice listening to Hindi spoken by native speakers.
- You may want to start with popular films in Hindi cinema like Mughal-e-Azam (frequently ranked the greatest Bollywood movie of all time), the comedy Golmaal, and the drama Kahaani.
- Attend Hindi cultural events in your area. Many large metropolitan areas and even smaller cities or towns will have an Indian population, who will then hold Hindi festivals and cultural events. This will give you the opportunity to meet new Hindi friends and learn more about Hindi culture. Look out for Hindi events at your local Indian cultural center or do an online search for Hindi events in your area.
EditCommon Hindi Phrases
Sample Hindi Phrases
- Learn Hindi
- Translate a wikiHow Page in Hindi
- Get Started Learning Punjabi
EditSources and Citations
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from How to of the Day http://ift.tt/1VeWnEK