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.

Hindi Faculty

Courses Offered

Introductory Hindi (HIN-URD) 1A
  • Course Format: Five hours of lecture and one hour of laboratory per week.
  • Description: Hindi writing systems. Survey of grammar. Graded exercises and readings drawn from Hindi literature, leading to mastery of grammatical structures and essential vocabulary and achievement of basic reading and writing competence.
Intermediate Hindi (HIN-URD) 100A
  • Course Format: Three hours of lecture and laboratory work/visuals per week.
  • Prerequisites: 1A-1B.
  • Description: This course acquaints students with representative readings from Hindi texts on pivotal cultural issues from a wide variety of sources, to enable them to acquire cultural competence in the language. Systematic training in advanced grammar and syntax, reinforced by exercises in composition, both oral and written. Special attention to developing communication skills.
Readings in Modern Hindi  101A
  • Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
  • Prerequisites: Two years of Hindi or consent of instructor.
  • Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit.
  • Description: This course is designed for students who have already achieved an intermediate level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing Hindi. Its objective is to move students toward a greater level of fluency in each of these key areas. Students will be introduced to a variety of contemporary literary genres. Weekly readings and discussions will be on short stories, poems, and dramatic sketches from representative authors. These readings focus on various social, cultural, political, and historical aspects of Indian society. Students are encouraged to explore these issues in their written assignments as well as in their class discussions. Written assignments on themes suggested by the reading will be required. We will also work on advanced grammar and special attention will be given to matters of style and idiom. The class will be conducted entirely in Hindi and students will acquire language skills sufficient to approach literary texts on their own.

Hindi Language Publications

For further information and buying information please go to our ISAS Language Publications page.

Beginner Hindi

Inter Hindi

Adv Hindi

Introduction to
Hindi Grammar
Hindi Reader

Hindi Grammar