The word "Hindi" in Devanagari script
|Pronunciation||Hindustani pronunciation: [ˈɦin̪d̪iː]|
|Native to||Northern India|
|260 million (2001)
L2 speakers: 120 million (1999)
Official language in
Fiji (as Fiji Hindi)
|Regulated by||Central Hindi Directorate|
Hindi (Devanagari: हिन्दी, IAST: Hindī), or Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: मानक हिन्दी, IAST: Mānak Hindī) is a standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language. Hindi is an Indo-Germanic or Indo-European language. It is descended from Sanskrit and is considered part of the New Indo-Aryan subgroup. However, it was also influenced, especially in vocabulary, by various other languages including Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Portuguese, and English.
Along with the English language, Hindi written in the Devanagari script is the official language of the Government of India. It is also one of the 22 scheduled languages of the Republic of India. However, it is not the national language of India because it was not prescribed as such in the Indian constitution.
Hindi is the lingua franca of the so-called Hindi belt in India. Outside India, it is an official language which is known as Fiji Hindi in Fiji, and is a recognised regional language in Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname.
Individually, as a linguistic variety, Hindi is the fourth most-spoken first language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish and English. Alongside Urdu as Hindustani, it is the third most-spoken language in the world, after Mandarin and English.
- 1 Official status
- 2 History
- 3 Comparison with Modern Standard Urdu
- 4 Script
- 5 Grammar
- 6 Vocabulary
- 7 Media
- 8 Sample text
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Part XVII of the Indian Constitution deals with the official language of the Indian Commonwealth. Under Article 343, the official languages of the Union has been prescribed, which includes Hindi in Devanagari script and English:
(1) The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals.
(2) Notwithstanding anything in clause (1), for a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution, the English language shall continue to be used for all the official purposes of the Union for which it was being used immediately before such commencement: Provided that the President may, during the said period, by order authorize the use of the Hindi language in addition to the English language and of the Devanagari form of numerals in addition to the international form of Indian numerals for any of the official purposes of the Union
Article 351 of the Indian constitution states
It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.
It was envisioned that Hindi would become the sole working language of the Union Government by 1965 (per directives in Article 344 (2) and Article 351), with state governments being free to function in the language of their own choice. However, widespread resistance to the imposition of Hindi on non-native speakers, especially in South India (such as the those in Tamil Nadu), Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, led to the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1963, which provided for the continued use of English indefinitely for all official purposes, although the constitutional directive for the Union Government to encourage the spread of Hindi was retained and has strongly influenced its policies.
At the state level, Hindi is the official language of the following Indian states: Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Each may also designate a "co-official language"; in Uttar Pradesh, for instance, depending on the political formation in power, this language is generally Urdu. Similarly, Hindi is accorded the status of official language in the following Union Territories: Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, National Capital Territory.
National language status for Hindi is a long-debated theme. In 2010, the Gujarat High Court clarified that Hindi is not the national language of India because the constitution does not mention it as such.
Outside Asia, the Awadhi language (A Hindi language) is an official language in Fiji as per the 1997 Constitution of Fiji, where it referred to it as "Hindustani", however in the 2013 Constitution of Fiji, it is simply called "Hindi". It is spoken by 380,000 people in Fiji.
Hindi is also spoken by a large population of Madheshis (people having roots in north-India but have migrated to Nepal over hundreds of years) of Nepal. Apart from specialized vocabulary, Hindi is mutually intelligible with Standard Urdu, another recognized register of Hindustani. Hindi is quite easy to understand for some Pakistanis, who speak Urdu, which, like Hindi, is part of Hindustani. Apart from this, Hindi is spoken by the large Indian diaspora which hails from, or has its origin from the "Hindi Belt" of India. A substantially large North Indian diaspora lives in countries like The United States of America, the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, South Africa, Fiji and Mauritius, where it is natively spoken at home and among their own Hindustani-speaking communities. Outside India, Hindi speakers are 8 million in Nepal; 649,000 in United States of America; 450,170 in Mauritius; 380,000 in Fiji; 250,292 in South Africa; 150,000 in Suriname; 100,000 in Uganda; 45,800 in United Kingdom; 20,000 in New Zealand; 20,000 in Germany; 16,000 in Trinidad and Tobago; 3,000 in Singapore.
Like other Indo-Aryan languages, Hindi is considered to be a direct descendant of an early form of Sanskrit, through Sauraseni Prakrit and Śauraseni Apabhraṃśa. It has been influenced by Dravidian languages, Turkic languages, Persian, Arabic, Portuguese and English. Hindi emerged as Apabhramsha (Sanskrit: अपभ्रंश; corruption or corrupted speech), a vernacular form of Prakrit, in the 7th century A.D. Standard Hindi is based on the Khariboli dialect, the vernacular of Delhi and the surrounding region, which came to replace earlier prestige dialects such as Kannauji and Braj. Urdu – another form of Hindustani – acquired linguistic prestige in the later Mughal period (1800s), and underwent significant Persian influence. In the late 19th century, a movement to develop Hindi as a standardised form of Hindustani separate from Urdu took form. In 1881, Bihar accepted Hindi as its sole official language, replacing Urdu, and thus became the first state of India to adopt Hindi.
After independence, the government of India instituted the following conventions:[original research?]
- standardisation of grammar: In 1954, the Government of India set up a committee to prepare a grammar of Hindi; The committee's report was released in 1958 as A Basic Grammar of Modern Hindi.
- standardisation of the orthography, using the Devanagari script, by the Central Hindi Directorate of the Ministry of Education and Culture to bring about uniformity in writing, to improve the shape of some Devanagari characters, and introducing diacritics to express sounds from other languages.
Comparison with Modern Standard Urdu
Linguistically, Hindi and Urdu are two registers of the same language. Hindi is written in the Devanagari script and uses more Sanskrit words, whereas Urdu is written in the Perso-Arabic script and uses more Arabic and Persian words. Hindi is the most commonly used official language in India. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan and is one of 22 official languages of India.
In Hindi, nouns have gender—they are either masculine or feminine. Both masculine and feminine nouns are divided further into two categories. For masculine nouns, there are nouns that end in -a and nouns that don't end in -a. Those that end in -a are considered marked, while those that don't are unmarked. Similarly, for feminine nouns there are those that end in -i and those that do not. All feminine nouns that don't end in the vowel -i are unmarked. These all have different declension (or inflectional morphology based on their gender, plurality, and case).
Adjectives have to agree with the nouns they modify in gender, plurality, and case. However, many adjectives don't change or change very little regardless of plurality, gender, and case. Adjectives usually come before the noun.
Hindi has three forms of the 2nd person pronoun. It has a formal, honorific pronoun आप ([aːp] āp). It has a 2nd person pl. pronoun तुम ([tʊm] tum), which is used between people of relatively equal standing (in background, age, etc) that have a more established relationship than strangers. Finally, there is the 2nd. person singular तू ([t̪uː] tū) is used with very intimate friends/family or with people judged to have a lesser standing than the speaker (parents to children, but ever children to parents, master to servant, etc). It is also used when praying to God. Hindi's 3rd person pronouns are gender neutral. There are actually two forms of the 3rd person singular pronoun, used based on the physical proximity of the person the pronoun refers to. There is वह ([ʋo] vah) and यह ([jeː] yeh), which is only used when someone is very physically close by. The 3rd person plural pronoun is वे ([ʋoː] ve) or ये ([jeː] ye) . The 1st person pronouns of Hindi are: मैं (singular, [mɛ̃] maiṃ) and हम (plural, [ɦəm] ham).
|nominative||oblique||oblique combined with the postposition को (ko)||possessive|
|1st person singular||maiṃ - मैं||mujh - मुझ||mujhe - मुझे||merā - मेरा|
|2nd person singular||tū - तू||tujh - तुझ||tujhe - तुझे||terā - तेरा|
|2nd person honorific||āp - आप||āp - आप||āp ko - आप को||āp kā - आप का|
|3rd person singular||vah - वह
yah - यह
|us - उस
is - इस
|use - उसे
ise - इसे
|us kā - उस का
is kā - इस का
|1st person pl.||ham - हम||ham - हम||hameṃ - हमें||hamārā - हमारा|
|2nd person pl.||tum - तुम||tum - तुम||tumheṃ - तुम्हें||tumhārā - तुम्हारा|
|3rd person pl.||ve - वे
ye - ये
|un - उन
in - इन
|unheṃ - उन्हें
inheṃ - इन्हें
|un kā - उन का
in kā - इन का
In addition to the pronouns above, there is also the reflexive pronoun अपना (apnā) that is used as a possessive pronoun when the subject and the possessive pronoun in a sentence refer to the same person. For example, a sentence like "He takes his book" would require the use of "apnī" to mean "his" rather than "uskī" so that the sentence would be वह अपनी किताब लेता है (vah apnī kitāb letā hai).
The normal syntax of Hindi is Subject-Object-Verb. While this can be varied, Hindi is considered an SOV language. Thus, the subject is usually at the beginning of a sentence in Hindi, while the verb is usually the last word. In addition, adjectives come before the noun they describe, just like in English.
Constructions with the word का kā
As seen from the personal pronouns, Hindi uses the postposition का kā to indicate possession. Constructions with का kā follow the opposite word order of English. का functions like the " 's" in English, even though it translates to something like "of." To say 'the book of my brother' one says मेरे भाई की किताब--mere bhai (brother) kī kitab (friend). Due to the fact that का functions like a postposition because constructions that use it are in the oblique case. However, it agrees with the noun that is "being possessed" rather than the possessor, as seen in the above example—kī agrees with the feminine kitab rather than brother.
Both the interrogative adjectives ( कितना? kitnā 'how many?', कैसा? kaisā 'how?', and कौन-सा? kaun-sā 'what/which?'), which agree in gender/number with the noun they refer to, and the interrogative pronouns (कौन kaun 'who?', क्या kyā 'what?', कहाँ kaham 'where?', कब kab 'when?', क्यों kyoṃ 'why?', किधर kidhar 'in which direction?') go before the conjugated verb in a sentence to make it a question. However,क्या kyā is placed at the beginning of the sentence when it is a yes-or-no question.
Constructions indicating possession
In Hindi there are three different ways to indicate possession, depending on what is being possessed. Each form uses a different postposition and the verb 'to be'. This is because there is no verb in Hindi that directly means 'to have'. For material possessions, the postposition के पास is used. For 'inherent' possessions such as body parts or houses, का (kā) is used. Finally, for 'possessions' that are feelings (more abstract), the postposition is को ko. All of these postpositions go after the possessor in a sentence/phrase.
Hindi has three tenses—present, past, and future. However, it uses other constructions to express complete actions, habitual actions, and continuous actions. To express incomplete or habitual actions, the imperfective present or imperfective past is used. To form the imperfective present, one combines the present participle of the verb with the present tense form of होना (honā, 'to be'). Similarly, to form the imperfective past one combines the present participle of a verb with the past tense form of होना. The present participle of a verb agrees in gender with the subject. So, to form the present participle either -ता (tā) for masculine subjects or -ती (tī) for feminine subjects is added to the stem. The perfective tense is used to indicate completed actions either in the 'simple past,' 'present perfect,' or 'past perfect' tenses. The simple past uses the past participle, the present perfect is made with the past participle and the present tense of होना, while the past perfect is made with the past participle and the past tense form of होना. Again, verbs must agree with gender of the subject, so the masculine past participle is formed by adding -ā to the stem while the feminine past participle is made by adding -ī to the stem.
The continuous tense (I am talking or I was talking) is formed with the verb stem, the past participle of the verb रहना rahnā and either the present or past participle of होना (honā) depending on what tense the sentence should be in—present continuous or past continuous.
Hindi also has the 'irrealis' which is used for purely hypothetical situations that are not possible in real life. There are the imperfect, past, and continuous irrealis tenses, and they use the present participle, past participle, and continuous respectively, combined with the present participle of होना. The conditional tense is formed very similarly, and also has an imperfect, past, and continuous form. The only difference is that the subjunctive of होना is used instead of the present participle.
There is an 'absolutive' tense in Hindi that is used when describing successive events. It can occasionally be used to imply that two events happened at the same time, but it is usually meant to imply one happened after another, in a sequence. To form this tense, either the stem is left as is, or the suffix -कर(-kar) or -के(-ke) is added to it.
Constructions with ने (ne)
Sometimes, the postposition ने follows the subject of a sentence. When this occurs, the main verb agrees with the direct object and not the subject. However, if the direct object takes the postposition को (ko), the verb is conjugated as a masculine singular form regardless of the gender of the direct object. This special postposition ने is used if the main verb in a sentence is transitive and in a perfect tense. There are some exceptions to these rules—there are some transitive verbs that do not take ने and even some intransitive verbs that do.
Most personal pronouns just add ने to the nominative case, but the 3rd person pronouns have slightly different forms when used with ने. वह becomes उस ने. यह becomes इस ने. वे becomes उन्हों ने. Finally, ये becomes इन्हों ने.
When होना is used twice in a sentence
To indicate that a statement is a definite truth or that the speaker believes firmly what they are saying and wish to sound especially convincing, the verb होना can be sued twice at the end of a sentence. The first time it is used it is in the present participle and then it is in any conjugated form.
Traditionally, Hindi words are divided into five principal categories according to their etymology:
- Tatsam (तत्सम "same as that") words: These are words which are spelled the same in Hindi as in Sanskrit (except for the absence of final case inflections). They include words inherited from Sanskrit via Prakrit which have survived without modification (e.g. Hindi नाम nām / Sanskrit नाम nāma, "name"; Hindi कर्म karm / Sanskrit कर्म karma, "deed, action; karma"), as well as forms borrowed directly from Sanskrit in more modern times (e.g. प्रार्थना prārthanā, "prayer"). Pronunciation, however, conforms to Hindi norms and may differ from that of classical Sanskrit. Amongst nouns, the tatsam word could be the Sanskrit non-inflected word-stem, or it could be the nominative singular form in the Sanskrit nominal declension.
- Ardhatatsam (अर्धतत्सम "semi-tatsama") words: Such words are typically earlier loanwords from Sanskrit which have undergone sound changes subsequent to being borrowed. (e.g. Hindi सूरज sūraj from Sanskrit सूर्य surya)
- Tadbhav (तद्भव "born of that") words: These are native Hindi words derived from Sanskrit after undergoing phonological rules (e.g. Sanskrit कर्म karma, "deed" becomes Pali कम्म kamma, and eventually Hindi काम kām, "work") and are spelled differently from Sanskrit.
- Deshaj (देशज) words: These are words that were not borrowings but do not derive from attested Indo-Aryan words either. Belonging to this category are onomatopoetic words or ones borrowed from local non-Indo-Aryan languages.
- Videshī (विदेशी "foreign") words: These include all loanwords from non-indigenous languages. The most frequent source languages in this category are Persian, Arabic, English and Portuguese. Examples are कमेटी kameṭī from English committee and साबुन sābun "soap" from Arabic.
Much of Modern Standard Hindi's vocabulary is derived from Sanskrit, either as native tadbhav words or tatsam borrowings from Sanskrit, especially in technical and academic fields. The Hindi standard, from which much of the Persian, Arabic and English vocabulary has been replaced by neologisms compounding tatsam words, is called Shuddh Hindi (pure Hindi), and is viewed as a more prestigious dialect over other more colloquial forms of Hindi.
Excessive use of tatsam words creates problems for native speakers. They may have Sanskrit consonant clusters which do not exist in native Hindi. The educated class of India may be able to pronounce such words, but others have difficulty.
Hindi literature is broadly divided into four prominent forms or styles, being Bhakti (devotional – Kabir, Raskhan); Shringar (beauty – Keshav, Bihari); Virgatha (extolling brave warriors); and Adhunik (modern).
Medieval Hindi literature is marked by the influence of Bhakti movement and the composition of long, epic poems. It was primarily written in other varieties of Hindi, particularly Avadhi and Braj Bhasha, but also in Khariboli. During the British Raj, Hindustani became the prestige dialect. Hindustani with heavily Sanskritised vocabulary or Sahityik Hindi (Literary Hindi) was popularised by the writings of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Bhartendu Harishchandra and others. The rising numbers of newspapers and magazines made Hindustani popular with the educated people.
Chandrakanta, written by Devaki Nandan Khatri in 1888, is considered the first authentic work of prose in modern Hindi. The person who brought realism in the Hindi prose literature was Munshi Premchand, who is considered as the most revered figure in the world of Hindi fiction and progressive movement.
The Dwivedi Yug ("Age of Dwivedi") in Hindi literature lasted from 1900 to 1918. It is named after Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, who played a major role in establishing the Modern Hindi language in poetry and broadening the acceptable subjects of Hindi poetry from the traditional ones of religion and romantic love.
In the 20th century, Hindi literature saw a romantic upsurge. This is known as Chhayavaad (shadowism) and the literary figures belonging to this school are known as Chhayavaadi. Jaishankar Prasad, Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala', Mahadevi Varma and Sumitranandan Pant, are the four major Chhayavaadi poets.
Uttar Adhunik is the post-modernist period of Hindi literature, marked by a questioning of early trends that copied the West as well as the excessive ornamentation of the Chhayavaadi movement, and by a return to simple language and natural themes.
The following is a sample text in High Hindi, of the Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (by the United Nations):
- अनुच्छेद 1 (एक) – सभी मनुष्यों को गौरव और अधिकारों के विषय में जन्मजात स्वतन्त्रता और समानता प्राप्त हैं। उन्हें बुद्धि और अन्तरात्मा की देन प्राप्त है और परस्पर उन्हें भाईचारे के भाव से बर्ताव करना चाहिए।
- Transliteration (IAST)
- Anucched 1 (ek) – Sabhī manuṣyõ ko gaurav aur adhikārõ ke viṣay mẽ janmajāt svatantratā aur samāntā prāpt hai. Unhẽ buddhi aur antarātmā kī den prāpt hai aur paraspar unhẽ bhāīcāre ke bhāv se bartāv karnā cāhie.
- Transcription (IPA)
- [ənʊtʃʰːeːd̪ eːk | səbʱiː mənʊʃjõː koː ɡɔːɾəʋ ɔːr əd̪ʱɪkaːɾõ keː maːmleː mẽː dʒənmədʒaːt̪ sʋət̪ənt̪ɾət̪aː ɔːr səmaːntaː pɾaːpt̪ hɛː ‖ ʊnʱẽ bʊd̪ʱːɪ ɔːɾ ənt̪əɾaːt̪maː kiː d̪eːn pɾaːpt̪ hɛː ɔːɾ pəɾəspəɾ ʊnʱẽː bʱaːiːtʃaːɾeː keː bʱaːʋ seː bəɾt̪aːʋ kəɾnə tʃaːhɪeː ‖]
- Gloss (word-to-word)
- Article 1 (one) – All human-beings to dignity and rights' matter in from-birth freedom and equality acquired is. Them to reason and conscience's endowment acquired is and always them to brotherhood's spirit with behaviour to do should.
- Translation (grammatical)
- Article 1 – All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
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- Shapiro, Michael C. (2003). "Hindi". In Cardona, George; Jain, Dhanesh. The Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge. pp. 250–285. ISBN 978-0-415-77294-5.
- Snell, Rupert; Weightman, Simon (1989). Teach Yourself Hindi (2003 ed.). McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-142012-9.
- Taj, Afroz (2002) A door into Hindi. Retrieved 8 November 2005.
- Tiwari, Bholanath ( 2004) हिन्दी भाषा (Hindī Bhasha), Kitab Pustika, Allahabad, ISBN 81-225-0017-X.
- McGregor, R.S. (1993), Oxford Hindi–English Dictionary (2004 ed.), Oxford University Press, USA.
- John Thompson Platts (1884), A dictionary of Urdū, classical Hindī, and English (reprint ed.), LONDON: H. Milford, p. 1259, retrieved 6 July 2011
- Hardev Bahri (1989), Learners' Hindi-English dictionary, DELHI: Rajapala
- Academic Room Hindi Dictionary Mobile App developed in the Harvard Innovation Lab (iOS, Android and Blackberry)
- Further reading
|Hindi edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for Hindi.|