Why are you learning Hindi?
I'm learning it because I want to travel to India and because I want to be able to read the Vedas in something closer to their original language (Sanskrit, while pretty, is not a useful thing to learn and pretty much impossible to find resources for). India's also becoming more and more relevant in the field that I want to go into after college.
What about you? What's motivating you to try this beautiful language?
My late partner lived in Rajasthan so I've been trying halfheartedly to learn it for some time (his mother tongue was Marwari but there are very few resources for learning that). I still feel motivated to learn it even though he died ten months ago as I feel a lot of connection to his home and still try to spend a lot of time there.
Sorry to hear about your partner. This may seem like an odd recommendation, but for Marwari you can find good info in the old colonial works by people like Grierson—many of which are available in public domain. They were pretty meticulous in describing grammar rules, and if you take your Hindi skills you can shift to the Marwari forms.
Thank you - I'll look into it. Thus far all I've found is a truncated online dictionary, a blog that someone got bored of updating and a section in an Indian languages phrasebook. It seems like a really tricky language to get a handle on - the dialects seem to change from village to village and different castes within a single village will use different forms (though I guess this is probably the case with the majority of languages). Plus everyone speaks so quickly. And everyone wants to practice their English. ;)
FWIW here's Grierson's compact grammar of Marwari, starting on page 19. http://dsal.uchicago.edu/books/lsi/lsi.php?volume=9-2&pages=494#page/34/mode/1up
says that there are about 5.6 million Marwari speakers. Wikipedia
says about 20 million speaking Marwari and related languages, mostly in Rajasthan.
Vigorous. Home, village, market, religion. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Hindi [hin], especially educated people.
Literacy rate in L1: 5%–10%. Literacy rate in L2: 50%–75%. Literature. Newspapers. Radio. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. NT: 1820–1821.
Google is happy to link you to Marwari newspapers, jokes, and other content.
I frequently come into contact with people speaking Hindi in my daily life. It seems like a widely-used common language among Indians, not only in India but here in the U.S. as well.
It seems like an important language globally as there are so many speakers of it. Also it seems to overlap hugely with Urdu which I occasionally meet speakers of.
I find India a really fascinating country and culture and Hindi seems to be a really important language there.
I also really like the sound of it. I find a lot of the consonant sounds in particular very pleasing to the ear. In contrast to a lot of other languages that have a phonology very different from English, the phonology feels a bit more accessible to me. The vowels all make sense to me, and the consonants, if different and requiring my brain to stretch a bit, seem to be fairly logical and intuitive in how they fit into different groups.
I also really like the writing system, Devanagari. I think it looks really cool and I have wanted to be able to read and write it for some time now.
I mean, the most boring answer is that I'm learning Hindi because I love South Asia. Truth be told, you don't really need Hindi to travel in South Asia, or even do research there, but learning more makes me feel like there's one less question mark hanging out there. It brings the whole picture into slightly better focus when suddenly more signs start making sense, and I start picking up new strands of conversations I overhear over a cup of tea.
I'm also learning it on Duolingo because I'm probably not going to devote academic time to studying the language. Most of my work isn't in Hindi-speaking areas, but I pass through them often enough, and love to duck down into the plains and out of the Himalayas every now and then for some sweltering weather and spicy food. I want to know more Hindi, but I can't take time to focus on learning it exclusively, so Duolingo provides the perfect solution.
And then, on a more abstract level, Hindi is an interesting language to study as a bridge between my other Indic languages (Nepali, Sanskrit) and Persian languages. I think it's probably inevitable that I'll find myself in Afghanistan wishing I spoke better Dari some day, and so, Hindi and Urdu provide a convenient bridge, making other western Indo-Iranian languages seem a little less foreign.
It's also just plain interesting to notice the differences between Nepali and Hindi, even on their pronunciations of Devanagari...
I've always loved the Bollywood movies, often more than American movies. But I seldom watch movies in another language without trying to figure out some of the language, if not at least a few words. So far I've been able to pick up quite a few words and phrases and I'd like to see how much more I can pick up after the courses are done. Eventually, I'd like to visit India but that's still awhile out there in planning.
I'm purely learning some Hindi for interest in Linguistics. I have no intention of learning the whole language or even get to a point where I could read basic literature.
Hindi is a language with a beautiful script and unique grammar structure that is unlike languages I'm used to. I want to learn how languages like those in India work as I study linguistics.
I'm actually taking a class next semester on Conlangs, and I feel that getting exposure with the syntax and phonology of different languages will open my eyes to how I could create an effective and fun language.
I learned Hindi/Urdu in the 1990s, in the USA from a variety of sources. My initial desire was to expand my horizons generally but also to understand Hindi films -- which at the time were usually only available on VHS with no subtitles.
Then I learned Punjabi fluently and traveled to India a lot in the 2000s, especially for anthropological type research. I mainly got on in Punjabi, but was in regular contact with Hindi-Urdu. (I've also been to Pakistan twice.)
I have not been in a Hindi (or Punjabi) speaking environment for a long time, and I will be traveling to India for research next year. I like to use Duolingo as a simply, daily practice for languages before I travel, so though I intend to speak a lot of Punjabi in India, it will be good to increase familiarity with Hindi. In North India, I found, if one doesn't look Indian yet is trying to get on in non-English, people will often speak Hindi to you. Even when I am clearly speaking Punjabi to someone, they will (on first interaction) not seem to register (or believe?) it is Punjabi and will respond in Hindi. (In Pakistan, the situation is different. People don't assume foreign status as much based on looks, which I suspect has something to do with 1) Muslim attitudes towards "race", i.e. Islam is a religion of people of many races and 2) there are more people who look like me in Pakistan.) Government/official stuff will also be in Hindi, and not the everyday Hindi but more the register of language that one acquires from formal study, so my everyday Punjabi does not convert!
Overall, it's great to be aware of any and all languages in your surroundings if possible. I just got back from Belgium and the Netherlands and did Duolingo Dutch (even though most Dutch people speak English) and it really helped the experience.
I learned some Pali and Buddhist Sanskrit decades ago. This is the nearest modern language to them.
Evam maya srutam. Ekasmin samaye Bhagavan Rajagrhe viharati sma...
Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One was dwelling in Rajagrha...
Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
There are lots of resources for Sanskrit, including Vedic, Classical, and Buddhist. All of the essential texts and commentaries are online. There are comprehensive dictionaries and grammars.
Here is a four-hour recording of Vedic chant.
It's estimated that there's only around 50,000 people in the world who speak Sanskrit (and most of them also speak another language) compared to 490,000,000 who speak Hindi. It's hard for me to justify spending a ton of time and energy learning a language that doesn't have real world applications. Being able to speak with 8,000 times more people is more important to me than being able to read the Vedas exactly how they were written. I'm not a religious scholar.
That's not to say there isn't still a part of me that would like to learn Sanskrit, but maybe later in my life as a hobby project.
Quality over quantity much? Sanskrit is easier to learn than Hindi it only took me a few months, and you can learn Hindi faster with a background in Sanskrit or Pali. Sanskrit is not a spoken language but it has an extensive classical literature which is essential to understanding Indian culture, it would not be a waste of time. The Vedas are not written in Classical Sanskrit they are written in Vedic Sanskrit. Classical Sanskrit literature is not just the religious, but the Epics etc. There is extensive literature on meditation, yoga, Ayurveda, and even sex (the Kama sutra) all composed in Sanskrit. It would not be a waste of time trust me.
So many reasons, similar to others': 1) It's a rich and beautiful language! 2) I've been to India three times and will in all likelihood return many more. While one can get by in English, I've found speaking even a little Hindi (in northern India) helps to break down barriers and ideas of what the "typical American" is like. 3) I also study Pali, which is similar enough to be aided by Hindi studies. 4) I also dream of watching the Bollywood films that I love so much without the subtitles.
and 5)...why not?
I'm of Indian origin, but grew up in America; as an international relations journalist focused on South Asia and its politics (I would rather not wait for translations of Hindi and Urdu speeches) and Bollywood fan, I'm always exposed to Hindi, and although I can get the gist of it, I'd like very much to strengthen my Hindi, especially my formal, written Hindi (I would say I speak Baazari Hindi). Both of my parents are Telugu but...my mom grew up speaking standard Hindi in Bihar and Jharkhand , and my dad speaks Hyderabadi Hindi/Urdu, so in terms of entertainment and music, we always used Hindi at home. Moreover, I find that when I want to express myself poetically, I'm drawn to Hindi/Urdu over English, so I'd like to understand it better.
For a long time, my partner has run a popular programming group on Facebook named PHP Developers India. When other members/programmers learn he is actually from the UK he is frequently invited to visit and spend time with them. We plan to accept such an offer as soon as we can. I think getting to meet people from another culture away from the usual tourist activities would be an experience made all the richer by learning some language.
People in my community speak a lot of Urdu and my parents predominantly spoke English at home with me being born in the US. I hope to be able to better connect with folks especially elders in the community. Along with learning Spanish I also want to overcome the fear of messing up when speaking (I took Spanish in school a while ago but haven't kept up with it).
Because it is mutually intelligible with Urdu. My son is learning Urdu to go to Pakistan and talk with them about the way we believe; we think they may find it interesting. (Don't bother asking which religion we are because we don't fall nicely into any denomination that I have ever heard of, but if you are interested, feel free to look me up on wordpress or social media.)
Um, it's actually a little easier to learn Sanskrit than Hindi it's been studied since at least the 18th century in the West. There's "Teach Yourself Sanskrit", a lot of books are out of print you may find them in college or university libraries. And a lot of websites too like: http://learnsanskrit.org/
I (in the US) have coworkers from India, and I've wanted for ages to learn a bit of at least one of their languages. I wobble back and forth between thinking it should be Hindi (which all speak at least some of) or Bengali (which the person I'm closest to speaks), but when I came back to Duo after several months absence and found that Hindi was now active I did the Kermit-the-frog-arm-flail in my head and started it immediately. I'm hoping to at least pick up enough sentences this weekend to surprise people when I go back to the office on Monday. :D
There is also some "why not??" factor as well, although Duo has so many languages at this point that I can't do them all at once and be able to do justice to them. I would like to gain some facility with each language I study so I'm trying not to go overboard.