Guru’s in India’s official language
Over half a billion people speak Hindi as their first or second language.
With India’s prominent economic rise over the last few years it is becoming and increasingly important business language.
As power in many sectors moves from west to east we’re here as your trusted partner to help make sure language is not a barrier to new business opportunities.
Surprisingly you probably already know some Hindi.
The phrases “It’s a jungle out there” and “Good karma” take the words ‘jungle’ and ‘karma’ from Hindi and you might even live in one – “Bungalow” also comes from Hindi.
But knowing a few words is not the same as being a guru (another Hindi word), that’s where we come in.
All our Hindi translators are highly qualified, experienced and have earned their guru status so you’re in safe hands.
An introduction to the Hindi language
Modern standard Hindi is the standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language.
It’s quite difficult to accurately state the number of Hindi speakers worldwide due to various Hindustani dialects and languages being included in official figures, however Hindustani can conservatively be estimated as having around 500 million speakers worldwide, with around 300 million of those speaking modern standard Hindi.
Standard Hindi is based on the prestige dialect of Hindustani – Khariboli, a direct descendant of the Shauraseni language, the vernacular of northern India dating back to the 5th century BC.
Khariboli was the dialect of the people in and around the area of Dehli, which lent it great importance due to the position of power Dehli held in the Indian sub-continent.
When the Persian speaking courts of the Mughal Empire established their court in Dehli, their influence and language infused with the local Khariboli dialect. The resulting effect on the local dialect was the emerging prestige dialect that became known as zabān-e Urdu-e mo’alla (language of the court), later shortened to Urdu.
During the British period of rule in India, English was the sole language used for administration and higher education. At this time, a split began to form between the classifications of Urdu and Hindi as a single language. This was mainly due to the perception of Hindus that Urdu had been artificially created during Muslim rule.
Hindi is written in the Devanagri script and draws heavily from Sanskrit vocabulary, whereas Urdu is written in the Nastaʿlīq script and draws heavily from Persian and Arabic words. However, most linguists agree that the differences are sociolinguistic and that both Hindi and Urdu are standardised forms of the same language. In an effort to calm hostilities, the ruling British Government drafted and issued an edict that granted both Urdu and Hindi equal status.
In spite of the best efforts of Mahatma Ghandi to reunite Hindi and Urdu into Hindustani, the split was too strongly entrenched in the minds of the people and his attempts failed. In 1949, two years after Independence, the Indian government designated Hindi as the official language of India.
Due to the long period of British rule in India, the English language has adopted many Hindi words.
A few examples of English words of Hindi origin
These are just a few examples of the many words that have found their way into English due to the long history of British involvement in India. Equally, Hindi also has many loan words from English. Unsurprisingly given the historic usage of English in India, many of these words are administrative in nature.
Examples of English loan words in Hindi
Facts about the Hindi language
- Hindi, like European languages, is written from left to right.
- Nouns are assigned gender and adjectives and verbs change depending upon gender.
- Verbs go towards the end of a sentence and auxiliary verbs at the very end of a sentence. For example – How are you? becomes – you how are.
- Honorifics are used in Hindi to denote different types and levels of relationships.