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Hindi & Its Origin Posted by on Jun 28, 2011 in Hindi Language

Today, I will show you the origins of Hindi and other related languages of India.

As you might already know that several languages are spoken in India and Hindi is one of them. All of the languages of India can be grouped into two major group that are 1) Indo-European languages that include Hindi, Punjabi, English, German, Spanish, Bengali etc. 2) Dravidian Languages that includes Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada

Because, Hindi came from Indo-European languages family, lets me show you more detail about it.

Indo-European/Indo-Germanic Languages
The Indo-European languages are a group of several hundred related languages and dialects of not just India but also from Europe, Iran and South Asia.
This language group includes the world largest number of speakers and they are around 3 billion. This larger group share some similarity among the languages in syntax and grammar even though the scripts are different. Some of the oldest languages of this group are Sanskrit, Greek and Latin. Many languages across India, Europe, South Asia and Iran originated from these three languages that include Hindi, English, German, Bengali, Spanish, Italian, French, Punjabi and so on.

This larger group contains several sub-groups of languages which are differentiated on the basis of region or script. In India, all Indian language are originated from Sanskrit and come in Indo-Aryan languages group.

Indo-Aryan Languages
The Indo-Aryan languages is a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages which is in itself a branch of the Indo-European languages group. Indo-Aryan languages has a base of about speakers form about 1.5 billion of whole 3 billion Indo-European speakers. This sub-group also account for more than half of all recognized Indo-European languages. The largest native speakers in this group belongs to Hindustani (Standard Hindi and Urdu), Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi , Gujarati, Oriya, Sindhi, Nepali, Sinhala etc.

In Indo-Aryan language group, the oldest language is Vedic Sanskrit (1500 BC – 800 BC). Vedic Sanskrit is an archaic form of Sanskrit and it is the oldest attested language of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family. This form of Sanskrit is the language of ancient Indian scriptures Vedas. Vedic Sanskrit was the origin of languages which later gave birth to Hindi and other languages in this group.

After Vedic Sanskrit, another form of Sanskrit came into growth path. It was Classical Sanskrit (800 BC – 500 BC), which was the language of nobles and influential upper class. Classical Sanskrit is still one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand. In present time, the speakers of this language are almost negligible, it is still taught in Indian school in effort to preserve it like Latin in western societies.

Classical Sanskrit was language of upper class however there was another language, Prakrit (500 BC – 500 AD) which had directly developed from Vedic Sanskrit in the same era. It was vernacular of common mass and it was developed in natural way in contrast to the literary and religious language, Classical Sanskrit. During the era, another form of Prakrit, Pali (500 BC – 500 AD) was in use. It was a literary language of the Prakrit language family. It is mostly seen in Buddhist scriptures. Pali was also used extensively by a legendary emperor of India, Asoka the Great (304 BC – 232 BC).

Both Prakrit & Pali, continue to grow in vernacular and gave birth to another language, Apbrunsh ( 500 AD – 1000 AD). Apbrunsh later gave way to Khari Boli (900 AD – 1200 AD). It was developed in the north Indian part.

From Khari Boli, a more refined language Hindustani which was a mix of present day Hindi and Urdu came into use. In 19th century, both Urdu and Hindi has separate and refined in their own way. Hindi and Urdu share much of the grammar though both used different script for writing and Hindi uses more of its word which are derived word from Sanskrit.  Urdu derives more of its derived word from Persian, Arabic and Turkish.

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About the Author:Nitin Kumar

Nitin Kumar is a native Hindi speaker from New Delhi, India. His education qualification include Masters in Robotics and Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. Currently, he is working in the Research and Development in Robotics in Germany. He is avid language learner with varied level of proficiency in English, German, Spanish, and Japanese. He wish to learn French one day. His passion for languages motivated him to share his mother tongue, Hindi, and culture and traditions associated with its speakers. He has been working with Transparent Language since 2010 and has written over 430 blogs on various topics on Hindi language and India, its culture and traditions. He is also the Administrator for Hindi Facebook page which has a community of over 330,000 members.


Comments:

  1. amit narain sinha:

    Sir

    While this may be true in general, we need to explore the influence of the saraswati indus civilization on the indian languages and culture. Hindi has retroflex consonants that are unique. Another unique characteristic is the neutral gender that eliminates gender bias. Maybe sanskrit was influenced by the Indus saraswati languages. After all saraswati is the acknowledged goddess of learning.

    Amit

  2. Abhinav bhat:

    Thank you very much sir for the information. I was searching for a precise information on birth of Hindi language and i searched your blog and was satisfied. Thank you once again.

  3. Binod Kumar Gogoi:

    Dear sir, It’s my heartiest request to you that Assamese language is one of the Ind-Aryan Modern Indian Language, so a few Assamese words are to be included in Hindi word stock which will help to make Hindi language more popular among the Assamese speaking people.Not only Assamese but also entire population of North-east India.Thanks.

  4. Feris:

    Please specify the sources for this blog (Hindi and its origin). Thank you!

  5. a s pahwa:

    This is intresting. However, some doubts are there. Sanskrit is a refined language while the Prakrit and Pali were not. So it is difficult to digest that Sanskrit was the origin of these languages. Its a well defined fact that the development stage goes from easy to complex. So in my view, the hierarchy of the Indian languages could be in this pattern –
    Prakrit – Pali – Sanskrit – Apbhransh – Khadi Boli – Hindvi and later on Urdu & Hindi.
    One possible reason to try to establish Sanskrit as the oldest among them might be to show the Hindu Scriptures ( Vedas, Puranas etc) the oldest in comparision to the Baudhist Scriptures.

    • Nitin Kumar:

      @a s pahwa “Its a well defined fact that the development stage goes from easy to complex.” In case of linguistics, this is just the opposite. English (not complex) and several Scandinavian languages including Norwegian, Swedish, danish etc (less complex) came from German (complex). Similarly Russian came from several complex languages from Eastern Europe. Japanese came from Chinese, Tamil etc. and Japanese is easy. When I say easy, less or not complex it means in both, written or spoken form.

  6. Neeraj Singh Airy:

    thanks buddy your article is very helpful. But I didn’t understand the concept of Indo European languages. why Hindi and other European langues classified under the same group. I do not see any similarities between them.

    • Jill Jepson:

      @Neeraj Singh Airy You make some interesting points here, but your information is inaccurate. English and the Scandinavian languages did not evolve from German. English, Scandinavian, and German all evolved from Proto-Germanic. Russian and other Slavic languages (Polish, Czech, Slovenian, etc.) all evolved from the same tongue. Japanese did not come from Chinese: the two languages are unrelated. It is true that languages tend to simplify with time, but not always, and only in certain ways. Dr. Jill Jepson, Professor of Linguistics.