Tips & Notes – Basics 1
पहले पाठ में आपका स्वागत है! Welcome to the first lesson!
Hindi and English are languages that are a part of the same language family – the Indo-European language family. This means that Hindi and English have a lot more in common than one would have imagined. And yet, their grammatical rules differ up to a significant extent. This generally scares away beginners from continuing to learn the language. However, once one becomes familiar with the basic idea of Hindi grammar, it gets easier to process the language in a way that facilitates producing grammatically accurate sentences.
Hindi has many grammatical rules that make every entity of a sentence interdependent, including words’ gender, number, etc, which is why it is important to understand such essential features of the grammar. However, these depend significantly on the origin of a word.
The Hindi language is an Indo-Aryan language, meaning it stems from Sanskrit. Naturally, a major part of Hindi vocabulary finds its roots in Sanskrit. However, the Mughal influence (of Persianised rulers) has lent several Persian (particularly old Persian), Arabic (through Persian), and Turkish vocabulary to Hindi. Hindi has also only recently undergone another gradual, albeit somewhat intentionally crafted change since India’s Independence from British colonial rule: Sanskritisation. This term refers to the use of words (called तत्सम tatsam words: तत् tat - there, सम sam - same; exactly same as in Sanskrit) straight away picked up from Classical Sanskrit to be used in official, formal occasions while speaking Hindi. This should not be confused with the Sanskrit vocabulary that has evolved over long periods of time and now forms the base of the language. Other than that, Hindi has a plethora of English (and occasionally Portuguese) loanwords. So, the four basic origins for Hindi words are: Evolved Sanskrit, Persian, Classical Sanskrit (formal), and European. This information will be used further in these tips and notes.
There are three significant features of Hindi grammar that beginners could find different from English: gender, auxiliary verbs, and the oblique case. Out of these, this lesson requires knowing the first feature.
Gender (लिंग ling)
All Hindi nouns, verbs, and adjectives have a gender. There are two genders for Hindi vocabulary: masculine (m.) and feminine (f.). As a rule of thumb, most words that end with an ah (आ) sound are masculine (पंखा pankhaa - fan, m.), while most words that end with an ee (ई) sound are feminine (नदी nadee -river, f.). This rule holds true for most Evolved Sanskrit words.
Many Persian origin words do not give a clear indication of their gender (आदमी aadmee - man, m.; किताब kitaab - book, f.) while Classical Sanskrit words mostly require one to memorise their gender since the rule of thumb we discussed is mostly violated by them (स्पर्धा spardhaa - competition, f.).
European origin words are assigned a gender based on the vowel sound that is most emphasised in them (आ -> masculine, ई -> feminine) or the gender of their Hindi counterpart (स्कूल skool - school, m.; from Hindi विद्यालय vidyaalay - school, m.).
होना (Verb – to be)
Like most languages, the verb be is the most irregular in the Hindi language. However, it is certainly the most useful and the most commonly used verb since all Hindi verbs require it in some or the other form as an auxiliary verb for basic conjugation.
When used as an auxiliary verb, it has the simplest conjugation:
|Pronoun (Eng.)||Pronoun (Hindi)||होना hona||be|
|I (1st person)||मैं||हूँ hūn||am|
|He/She/It (3rd person)||यह/वह||है hai||is|
Third Person Pronouns (सर्वनाम sarvanaam) – यह, वह
Notice that Hindi has only two words for third person pronouns:
यह – Gender-Neutral Pronoun, meaning he, she, it, or this (used when the person/thing is somewhere close or if you’re pointing towards them)
वह – Gender-Neutral Pronoun, meaning he, she, it, or that (used when the person/thing is at a distance or not present in the scene)
Mostly, यह (yah) is pronounced as ye (like ये) and वह (vah) is pronounced as vo (like वो), however, these spellings are not accepted. Only in extremely formal or poetic situations are these words pronounced the way they are written. Such exceptions are rare but do exist in Hindi.
Definite articles do not exist in Hindi. This means that there is no translation for "the" in Hindi. If the situation demands a strong specification, demonstrative articles are used (this, that). In Hindi, यह and वह also play the role of "this" and "that" respectively.
Hindi adjectives and verbs are used with appropriate gender-based endings of their concerned subject noun. More on this in further lessons! Happy learning!
Just a minor comment: it was always my impression that in written Hindi, यह is singular and ये is plural (although in spoken Hindi they are both usually pronounced ये), and similarly with वह/वे (both pronounced वो). Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, and otherwise this is a great summary of the basics of the language!
Edit: I now see this is covered in the plurals note! Feel free to ignore this comment.
It's a full stop. Works the same as in English. Now that you mention it, I don't recall it being explained anywhere...
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