Hindi Language Blog

Get Your Hindi On Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in Hindi Language

An Introduction, and Your First Conversation


“Are you Hindi?”

“Do you speak Hindu?”

Newly emigrated Indians have often reported fielding these questions from flummoxed Westerners. After all, it’s not hard to confuse the similar-sounding names for the language, Hindi, and the religion, Hindu.

In recent times, however, Hindi has been immensely popularized through India’s bustling and world-renowned film industry—Bollywood. With Bollywood’s gyrating music being all the rave of dance parties today, Hindi has been largely disseminated through lyrics and dialogues in movies that are now beginning appeal to a worldwide audience. It’s not uncommon to find Hindi music blaring at dance fitness studios, where non-speakers of the language mouth the words with as much ease and fluency as native speakers.

Yet, there is a lot more to this centuries-old language than peppy tunes often peppered with innuendo.

The fact remains, that Hindi is an ancient language that originated somewhere around the 4th century A.D. and evolved over time into the standardized form of today.

More importantly, Hindi is also the official language of the Republic of India.  It is spoken throughout the Indian subcontinent, and as such, is a language that is immensely useful to any traveler seeking to see the breadth of the country with some perspective of an insider.

According to the Central Hindi Directorate in India, “More than 180 million people in India regard Hindi as their mother tongue. Another 300 million use it as second language. Outside India, Hindi speakers are 100,000 in USA; 685,170 in Mauritius; 890,292 in South Africa; 232,760 in Yemen; 147,000 in Uganda; 5,000 in Singapore; 8 million in Nepal; 20,000 in New Zealand; 30,000 in Germany.”

While Hindi exists in different flavors and dialects in different parts of the country, the essential language remains the same. When you go to any part of India, you can start your conversation with a brief greeting followed by an introduction of yourself in Hindi.  However, it is always polite to first ask if the person you are approaching speak the language.

Here’s how to ask if someone speaks Hindi.

नमस्ते. आप हिंदी बोलते हैं?  Namaste. Aap Hindi boltey hain?
(Hello, do you speak Hindi?)

Proceed with the rest of the conversation if the person says:

हाँ।   Haan.

Conversation: Introductions

Let’s listen to the following conversation in Hindi.

You: नमस्ते। आप कैसे हैं?
Namaste. Aap kaise hain?
(Greetings. How are you?)

Person: नमस्ते। मैं ठीक हूँ।  और आप ?
Namaste. Main theek hoon. Aur aap?
(Greetings. I am fine. And you?)

You: मेरा नाम नीना है।  आपका नाम क्या है?
Mera naam Nina hai. Aapka naam kya hai?
(My name is Nina. What is your name?)

Person: मैं समीर हूँ।
Main Sameer hoon.
(I’m Sameer.)

You: आपसे मिलकर ख़ुशी हुई।
Aapse mil-kar khushi hui.
(Pleased/happy to meet you.)

 Conversation vocabulary: 
The words in bold are transliterations and pronunciations.

Namaste na-mus-tay – greetings
आप          aap – you (second person, respectful)
कैसे          kaise (kay-say) – how
हैं              hain (hayn) – are (a form of the verb root “to be”)
मैं             main (may) – I
ठीक         theek – OK/alright/fine
हूँ             hoon – am
मेरा         mera (may-ra) –  my
नाम        naam – name
है             hai (hay) – is
आपका    aapka – your
क्या         kya – what
आपसे     aapse Mil-kar …  हुई  hui – … has happened upon meeting you
ख़ुशी       khushi (khoo-shee) – happiness

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About the Author: Nitya

Namaste, friends. My name is Nitya. I was born and raised in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). I'm a native Hindi speaker. However, as life took me through school, college, work, and waves of friends from different parts of India, my repertoire of Hindi flavors and dialects grew and added dimension to my native fluency. Casual, formal, colloquial, and regional ... Hindi is a language with incredible variety and localization. Through this blog, I will help you learn Hindi through conversations, vocabulary, colloquialisms, and glimpses of Indian culture. आओ, मिलकर हिंदी सीखते हैं। (Aao, milkar Hindi seekhte hain!) Come, let's learn Hindi together.