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Hindi: is the alphabet messed up?

I'm experiencing a lot of confusion. I'm asked for the correct character for "a". You can click on the different characters to reveal what they sound like... only the one that sounds the same is the wrong answer. When asked for the correct character for the "i" that has a line instead of a dot, there are two characters which seem to be playing the same sound, one of which is correct.

Is there a problem with the Hindi alphabet, or is it my ears?

September 30, 2019



'a' is अ, ā is आ, 'i' is इ and 'ī' is ई.

The regular 'a' and 'i' are shorter forms of the vowels and the ones with a line on top are the longer forms. 'a' is like the first letter in 'alert', 'ā' like the vowel in 'far', 'i' like in 'pill' and 'ī' like in 'peel'.

Can you go back to the exercise and see if there is still a problem?


It seems to mostly be my ears. "i" has two different sound files, though, one of which sounds very different (to my non-native ears). (In most of the questions) "i" and "ī" sound like the ee in eel to me, the former slightly muffled. But there's a second sound file for "i" that sounds like eye. And that's confusing, though probably correct.

EDIT: but now I am being asked for the correct character for "a" and अ sounds like uhuh when clicked on (in other questions it sounds like uh). Well, investigation time! I tried it in a browser, no problems!

+It seems like the app has issues with the intro letters questions.

(!) I was using Samsung Dex (to run the Android app). Let me try it as a regular app... ... just tried it as a regular app in my phone (a Samsung S10+), the uhuh sound is played for अ.


The 'eye' and 'uhuh' pronunciation is definitely a bug. I was able to reproduce it on my phone as well and have submitted a bug report. Hopefully, it will be fixed soon.


Glad to know it's not just me :)

[deactivated user]

    There are two things to watch for:

    1. the "a" "i" etc are approximating the actual Hindi sounds अ इ etc. They are sometimes good approximations, sometimes not so good.

    2. It can be your ears. compare ट and त. The first is a retroflex t and the second a dental t. Neither of these strictly appear in English. When I started learning Indian languages (years ago!) I could not distinguish these at all. Now, I am much better, partly because I can say the sounds correctly (or so I'm told!).

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