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 they have a lot more in common than one would have imagined. Even though Hindi has some pretty new grammar concepts, once a learner gets used to them, they’d realise how uniform the rules really are.
Hindi 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, and Turkish vocabulary to Hindi. Hindi has also only recently undergone another gradual, albeit intentionally designed 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; meaning exactly the same as in Sanskrit) which are 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 in Hindi: masculine (m.) and feminine (f.). As a rule of thumb, most words that end with an आ ā sound are masculine (पंखा paṅkhā - fan, m.), while most words that end with an ई ī sound are feminine (नदी nadī - 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 ādmī - man, m.; किताब kitāb - book, f.). Most Classical Sanskrit words that end in आ ā are actually feminine, contrary to Evolved Sanskrit words (स्पर्धा spardhā - competition, f.).
European origin words are assigned a gender based on the vowel sound that is most emphasised in them (आ ā -> masculine, ई ī -> feminine) or the gender of their Hindi counterpart (स्कूल skool - school, m.; from Hindi विद्यालय vidyālay[a] - 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 hōnā||be|
|I (1st person)||मैं main||हूँ hūn||am|
|He/She/It (3rd person)||यह/वह yah/vah||है hai||is|
Third Person Pronouns (सर्वनाम sarvanām) – यह, वह
Notice that Hindi has only two words for third person pronouns:
|यह yah||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 vah||Gender-Neutral Pronoun, meaning he, she, it, or that (used when the person/thing is at a distance or not present in the scene)|
Often, यह (yah) is pronounced as yē and वह (vah) is pronounced as vō colloquially. In formal and literary contexts, these colloquial pronunciations are considered incorrect.
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.
The gender of Hindi adjectives and verbs matches that of the subject, i.e. the person or thing that the sentence talks about. More on this in further lessons! Happy learning!
It's a full stop. Works the same as in English. Now that you mention it, I don't recall it being explained anywhere...
Hello friend, I'm looking for a language companion to learn French, I'm also learning French on and off for too long, But till now I learned some broken French. I sent you a message and a comment on your FB page. Please reply.
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.