Hindi is the official and link language of multilingual India. Its homeland is in the north of India, but it is the most widely spoken and understood language throughout India. Hindi is written in the Devanagari script, which is also used for Sanskrit, Marathi and Nepali. Hindi has a special relationship with Urdu because they have the same grammar and they share basic conversational vocabulary and expressions. On many college campuses in the US, Hindi and Urdu are taught as one language under the title Hindi-Urdu. The two languages, however, use different scripts and have different preferences when it comes to borrowing new formal and literary vocabulary. Although Hindi has many Perso-Arabic words, most of the recent borrowings are from Sanskrit in the written style and from English in the spoken style.
Hindi has a rich literary tradition that dates back to the eleventh century. Early literature, which was predominantly poetry, was written in a variety of Hindi dialects such as Braj and Avadhi. Modern literature is mostly written in Modern Standard Hindi that has developed from Khari Boli, a dialect of Hindi spoken around Delhi and Meerut. Hindi literature consists of all genres, such as poetry, drama, short stories, novels, and essays. These days, there are some good literary magazines available free of charge on the Internet.
Hindi is the primary language of entertainment, media and journalism in India. Bollywood films and songs have particularly popularized Hindi at home and abroad. Modern pop Hindi music is highly popular with Indians settled around the world, including in America, Canada, London, Fiji, Trinidad, parts of Africa, and many countries of the Middle East. Film music has almost become an identity shawl for overseas Indians, many of whom love to sing and dance at the tunes of Hindi songs on Indian cultural and national holidays.
Berkeley runs an intensive summer Hindi program that is open to students from all universities and that provides a full year’s elementary language instruction in eight weeks.
|Introductory Hindi (HIN-URD) 1A|
|Intermediate Hindi (HIN-URD) 100A|
|Readings in Modern Hindi 101A|
Hindi Language Publications
For further information and buying information please go to our ISAS Language Publications page.