Hindi is one of the most commonly spoken languages in India. It is the fourth most popular language in the world. Hindi is the official language in many government circles, especially the government at the center. In recent times, there has been a concerted effort to make it the national language of India, though this may prove futile, in the end, as the Indian Constitution does not recognize any of the 23 major languages as 'the national' one.

Learning a new language may prove to be challenging at first. But, once it is learned, the learner can reap benefits throughout the rest of his/ her lifetime. Thanks to modern technology and globalization, erstwhile language barriers are being sought to be removed and regional languages are becoming more and more accessible and comprehensible. There are many things to consider when you ask "how difficult is to learn Hindi.”

Becoming Bilingual

Learning a second language presents many common obstacles and issues despite the chosen language. However, knowing more than one language has its own rewards.

Some languages of the world share similarities amongst themselves and may not be as difficult to crossover. These languages usually share a common origin, giving rise to similar words, culture and writing characters. The benefits of being well-versed in multiple languages make you multilingual, which is in itself an exclusive club!

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The Devanagari script for Hindi language shares its origins with Sanskrit | Source: VisualHunt

Tracing Hindi's Ancient Roots

Hindi has its roots in Sanskrit, the language of the priestly class in ancient India. When you start learning Hindi, you will come across many Sanskrit words. The Indo-Aryan settlers of the north-western part of the Indian subcontinent were inspired by Indo-European dialects. Its earliest forms include Old Hindi, Vedic Sanskrit, Sauraseni Prakrit, Classical Sanskrit, and Sauraseni Apabhramsa.

Loanwords

Hindi is a phonetic language that implies that its pronunciation is exactly as written. This makes learning Hindi quite advantageous, something that English does not possess. However, it is written from right to left, something that non - native speakers can identify with.

Hindi and Urdu Synonimity

For conversational purposes, Hindi and Urdu are the same languages. You learn one, you can seamlessly use both together, owing to the Mughal influence on India's culture. This is not to say that the two cannot be distinguished. Primarily, Urdu's vocabulary is drawn from the Persian and Arabic cognate pool, while Hindi draws its own from Sanskrit. For example, namaste in Hindi (Devanagari: नमस्ते), will become salam in Urdu and written as سلام.

Hindi Borrows from Persian and Arabic

A large number of Hindi words have originated from the Persian language, as well as Arabic. This is not surprising as the Indian subcontinent witnessed a prolonged period of political administration by rulers belonging to the Islamic faith, including the Delhi Sultans, followed by the Mughal empire.

Thanks to these borrowings, Hindi has an amazing array of synonyms. For example, there are four common variations for the expression of love. If you watch Bollywood movies, you’ll hear pyar but also मोहब्बत (mohabbat), प्रेम (prem) and इश्क़ (ishq).

Search for Hindi tuition online here.

Check out the words that we use in our every day lives which come from Hindi.
Some words, like 'pashmina', have become common in English but in fact derive from Hindi | Source: VisualHunt

Easiest Ways To Learn How To Speak Hindi

There are many ways to learn Hindi. You can, for starters, enroll in a Hindi speaking course near you, sign up for an online Hindi class or get yourself a private Hindi tutor. However, the easiest way, by a long shot, has been proven to be a cultural immersion.

The power of cultural interactions has often been underestimated in the learning of languages. Not anymore. We introduce you to a whole new world of cultural learning, driven by technological innovations and a bit of tradition.

Check out these useful tools for learning Hindi effectively.

YouTube Tutorials

YouTube tutorial videos tick all of the right boxes when it comes to learning Hindi through reading, improving your speaking and listening skills. These online lessons and video tutorials help you to place yourself in either a classroom environment or even within the culture itself. Devote an hour or a few minutes (if that is all you can spare) in a day, repeat the lessons in your head and in your everyday conversations. You will become a fluent Hindi conversationist in no time!

Games & Apps

These days, there are apps for almost everything you need in life. So, why should languages be left out of their purview? There are some really effective and streamlined Hindi learning apps out there to help you improve your fluency in Hindi. Check out a few here.

R Bhasha Hindi

R Bhasha is specifically designed for kids. It teaches children the Hindi alphabets through colorful letters and sounds. Learners are also introduced to the concepts of Hindi vowels (Svar) and consonants (Vyanjan). This app is ideal as a fun way to teach Hindi to kids. It is user-friendly and motivates kids to play and learn their initial letters. These can be learned with the aid of a voice-over that is available in both Hindi and English.

HelloTalk

HelloTalk embodies innovation in its approach and language training methodology. The app connects you to other individuals. Once the connection is established, you start teaching each other your respective languages. It's an authentic exercise in self-teaching, indeed!
The app includes voice and video chats, text messages, picture messages, audio messages, and more. There are also over 100 languages in the app. Thus, it doesn't matter what language you speak or which new language you want to pick up. This app usually has you covered. This is an excellent secondary study aid, combined with apps like Memrise or Mondly.
Here is a beginner's guide on finding yourself the perfect Hindi class.

Bollywood

The Bollywood movie industry has penetrated every corner of the globe, thanks to its talented ambassadors and excellent works of cinematic art. The language medium for the hundreds of Bollywood movies churned out every year is? You guessed it right. It is Hindi! Nowadays, one has the added advantage of subtitles, which provides instant translations of words and phrases that are alien to your ears.

Of course, there are other bits of languages sprinkled in, every now and again, such as English, French, and other popular world languages of the world. However, the focus remains on Hindi. Thus, we say, immerse yourself into this cultural extravaganza and pick up the nuances of Hindi language like no other medium of instruction can!

Conversations

Motivate yourself to carry out a daily does of conversations with someone who is familiar with the Hindi language. This provides easy comprehension and understanding of the language. The person you are conversing with could also assist you with pronunciations and accent training in an informal way. Try to listen to authentic Hindi speakers in a natural setting.

For those willing to go solo, find out how you can learn Hindi on your own.

Books

Earlier, we had books. Now we have e-books and Kindle, along with audiobooks. However, the utility of this learning medium remains the same, if not more accessible. Get yourself a personal pocket library of different genres of Hindi literature and writing. Hindi has a rich body of literature. Take advantage of it. Make your own notes of keywords and phrases for the purpose of retention. You can also create customized flashcards for this purpose.

Podcasts can be like language lessons broken down into chunks.
Listening to the radio or podcasts is a great way to improve your language skills | Source: VisualHunt

Radio and Podcasts

Keep the radio on in the background, tuned into a Hindi station, while you are busy with your other chores. This can prove to be as effective as actually going to a Hindi class or sitting down to study for an hour or two. Or, you can simply turn on some good old Hindi music as the sounds engulf you and you are completely immersed in the experience.

Use these tips to find an ideal Hindi teacher and know how much a Hindi lesson should ideally cost.

HindiPod101.com

Podcast-style lessons that are fun and informative keep you hooked to your Hindi lessons. There are culturally relevant videos, a vocabulary database and dictionary, grammar explanations, along with a number of other useful features for a truly innovative learning experience that is at once effective as well engaging.

A host of knowledgeable and energetic hosts impart Hindi education across a pooled database of almost 900 audio and video resources. They provide you with detailed lesson notes, help you retain your lessons with spaced repetition flashcards while also encouraging you to participate in lively discussions. Exercise your flexibility to learn anywhere, on the go!

Attitude is Everything!

Last, but definitely not the least of your learning criteria is your attitude towards learning and mastering the language of Hindi. And, by attitude, we mean the positive variety. If your attitude is positive and you approach Hindi learning, or any language learning process, as a fun activity and an opportunity to explore new horizons, you will automatically be rewarded with learning that is at once effective as well as enjoyable.

On a parting note, pick your learning method wisely. Chances are that a classroom setting will probably mean a longer process of learning. If, however, you are exposed to Hindi outside of classes, just the way we described it in this article, then you can cut down the time needed to learn it. Make Hindi intelligible. The choice is completely yours!

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Shreyanjana

Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.