Each month we feature the culture, history and language of one of the countries we have worked with. Check out our article about the history of India!
When we learn any new language, we tend to approach it from our own native language and examine how it compares to the grammar, word order and conjugation that we are used to speaking. English is a Subject-Verb-Object language. I, the subject, eat (verb) the object, rice. English conjugation is relatively straight forward as well. Nouns are genderless, and other than differentiating between definite or indefinite articles, their spelling or their article doesn’t change, regardless of what case they are in.
Hindi is considered India’s official language, with over 500 million native speakers. Statistically, it is one of an estimated 1700 languages spoken in India. It is an Indo-Aryan language, a direct descendant of Vedic Sanskrit. Hindi is based on Devanagari script, which is composed of 33 primary letters and 14 vowels, all of which have a romanized spelling form. Nouns in Hindi are either masculine or feminine, but there is no such thing as a definite article. As such, there isn’t an indefinite article either, but there is the word “ek”, which means “one”, and can be used when referring to “one” noun. The verbs in Hindi sentences usually fall to the end, making it a Subject – Object – Verb language. The sentence “I drive the car.” for example, in Hindi would be: “मैंने कार चलाई” –(mainne kaar chalaee), which translates to: I car drive. The sentence “I read a book.”, in Hindi would be: “मैंने एक किताब पढ़ी” (mainne ek kitaab padhee), which translated to “I one book read”. Another interesting aspect to Hindi is that there are no prepositions, but postpostitions, which means, the position of a noun or the local relationship of one noun to another is noted after the noun, and not before. The expression “in front of” for example, is used in English to describe the relationship of one noun that is in front of another. The toy is in front of the TV. “in front of” in Hindi is के सामने (ke saamne). In front of the TV would be Teevee ke saamne. The toy is in front of the TV then would be: खिलौना टीवी के सामने है khilauna teevee ke saamane hai, which, if translated back to English would be “Toy TV in front of is”. (Remember, no articles, and the verb goes to the end of the sentence!)
When learning Devanagari script, one will realize that individual letters, consonants and vowels are written in units, similar, but not the same as cursive writing in English. For example, the word “I” in Hindi is “main”. When writing “I”, or “main” in Devanagari script, we will use the letter ““मैं”Useful phrases in Hindi:
Useful phrases in Hindi:
नमस्ते (namaste) – Hello!
कैसे हैं ? (ap kaise hein?) – How are you?
ठीक हुँ । (main theek un) – I am fine.
नाम Robin है । – (mera naam….. hai) – My name is Robin.
खो गये हैं । (ham kho gaye hain) – We are lost.
शौचघर/ फार्मेसी कहां है – (shauchaghar/ phaarmesee kahaan hai) – Where is the bathroom/pharmacy?
क्या आप इसे दोहरा सकते हैं – (kya aap ise dohara sakate hain) – Could you repeat it please?
मुझे समझ में नहीं आता । – (mujhe samajh mein nahin aata) . – I do not understand!
हिंदी में …. कैसे कहते हैं – (hindee mein “pleej” kaise kahate hain) – How do you say …. In Hindi?
मुझे भूक लगी है। – (mujhe bhook lagee hai) – I am hungry.
मेरी तबीयत खराब है। – (meree tabeeyat kharaab hai) – I feel sick (My health is bad)
आपसे मिलकर खुशी हुई । – (aapase milakar khushee huee) . – Pleasure / Nice to meet you!
क्या आप अंग्रेजी में बात कर सकते हैं – (kya aap angrejee mein baat kar sakate hain) – Can you speak English?
शुभ रात्री । – (shubh raatree) – Good night!
कितने का है? – (kitane ka hai?) – How much is this?
धन्यवाद – (dhanyavaad) – Thank you!
क्षमा कीजिए । – (kshama keejie) – Excuse me/Pardon…
जी बोलिये – (jee boliye) – Yes, please!
नहीं धन्यवाद – (nahin dhanyavaad) – No, thank you!
कृपया मुझे हवाई अड्डे पर ले जाएं – (krpaya mujhe havaee adde par le jaen) – Take me to the airport please.
नाच न जाने आंगन टेढ़ा (Naach na jaane aangan tedha)
A bad workman blames his tools.
A Joke in Hindi
टीचर – बताओ संसार का सबसे पुराना जीव कौन सा है ?
टीचर – कैसे ?
बच्चा – वो ब्लैक एंड वाइट है ना।
teechar – batao sansaar ka sabase puraana jeev kaun sa hai ?
teechar – kaise ?
bachcha – vo blaik end vait hai na.
Teacher: Tell me, which is the oldest living organism in the world?
Child: The Zebra!
Child: Because it is black and white!
Check out “How do I say… in Turkish?“.