Hindi is one of 22 "official" languages recognised by the Constitution of India and was chosen, alongside English, as the designated language of the Indian parliament following independence from British colonial rule. According to the 2001 census in India, 258 million people claim Hindi as their mother tongue, and it is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. If you want to learn this prolific language, there are a variety of different methods available.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Computer and Internet connection
- Hindi dictionary
- CD/MP3 player
- Flash cards
Decide how much time you can commit and how much money you want to spend. Colleges like the School Of Oriental and African Studies in London run one-year, part-time courses in beginners spoken and written Hindi. Although this can prove expensive, if you respond best to structured lessons it could be worth the investment.
Buy an English-to-Hindi dictionary for vocabulary practice. Alternatively, download or bookmark a free online one to enhance your word power, such as the one at utopianvision.co.uk. Hindi uses a script called Devanagari with 52 different symbols. If you want to learn how to read, write and speak Hindi, familiarise yourself with this alphabet.
Find a language exchange partner by advertising for mutually beneficent conversation "swaps" on sites like gumtree.com. Mylanguageexchange.com is an online community of international pen pals where you can search for native Hindi speakers to communicate with via email or Skype. For a small membership fee you can also chat live in chat rooms.
Use language learning CDs and software such as Rosetta Stone or Teach Yourself Complete Hindi, which is available as a combination book and CD with tests and grammar tips.
Immerse yourself in the Hindi language by listening to radio broadcasts such as those offered by BBC Hindi and trying to imitate the presenter. BBC Hindi broadcasts from Delhi four times a day and is available on shortwave and medium wave radio transmitters and in text and audio from bbchindi.com.
Dedicate spare moments throughout the day to keep motivated. You can read flash cards of Hindi words on your train journey to work to improve vocabulary, or multitask by listening to audio CDs, books and radio programmes whilst doing the housework.
Tips and warnings
- Rent Bollywood films in Hindi for extra language immersion.
- Find the closest Hindi community to where you live, and practice simple phrases such as common greetings with local residents.
- Meet up with language learning friends for extra motivation, even if they are not learning the same language.
- Verify that resources are legitimate before parting with any cash online. Ensure that there are verifiable contact details, including telephone number and address, should you have any queries over payment or services.
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