Hindi Language Blog

Top Five Books To Learn Hindi Posted by on Jul 30, 2021 in Grammar, Hindi Language, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

Photo courtesy Nicole Herbert Dean

I studied Hindi in school from 2nd grade to the 10th grade. We had to take a public Hindi assessment मूल्यांकन as well as pass our teacher’s exams परीक्षा in order to graduate from high school.

In addition के अतिरिक्त to studying Hindi in my Catholic run English school, my parents hired a tutor शिक्षक to boost up my learning. I did pass the exams on first try of course. But it was not until I came to the United States of America and started to teach the language शिक्षक, 25 years ago, that I finally understood it!

To aid my self taught स्वयं सिखाया refresher course, I bought myself several books. I did start out with a dictionary by Hippocrene as well as a Teach Yourself Hindi book by the same author लेखक. However, the books outline below not only helped me understand this beautiful सुंदर language but correctly teach it and write curriculum.

  1. My first go to book is Introduction to Hindi Grammar by Usha R. Jain. The author beautifully breaks down the vowels स्वर वर्ण and consonants व्यंजन first by teaching the Devanagari script. She then presents the nouns संज्ञा, adjectives विशेषण, pronouns सर्वनाम, interrogatives प्रश्नवाचक, postpositions (did you know that Hindi has no prepositions?). Each verb tense is also tackled beautifully. Then she narrows in on oblique cases, the reflexive possessive aapna, and certain postpositions that are exceptional असाधारण. All in all, a great book for the academic!
  2. Once the basics are learnt, Usha R. Jain also has the Intermediate Hindi Reader. This reader is jam packed with short stories, folk tales लोक कथाएँ, poems कविताओं and episodes. Tales from the famous Panchatantra, Ramayana and Mahabharata are also detailed in the book. At the end of each story is a detailed vocabulary शब्दावली list complete with meanings in English and noun gender लिंग. Usha also has an advanced Hindi grammar book for those who want to go beyond the basics.
  3. Another author with a great set of books is Kavita Kumar. Speak Hindi from Day 1 is a good book to start with – it has all the basics मूल बातें. She also has a special book for non-Hindi speaking people with an accompanying workbook कार्यपुस्तिका. She breaks down each grammatical feature and then assesses comprehension in the workbook.
  4. R. S. McGregor has developed an Outline of Hindi Grammar for the Hindi linguist. This book is amazing but uses high academic language to explain grammatical concepts. Certainly not for the faint of heart! Each concept also has exercises and vocabulary at the end.
  5. Finally, Peter Edwin Hook wrote an intermediate level book on Hindi Structures. He explains grammatical concepts व्याकरण संबंधी अवधारणाएं as well as provides drills with keys. This book too has a slightly higher academic language शैक्षणिक भाषा to explain the concepts.

Hindi texts are still better at explaining the language than most apps nowadays. In order to be thoroughly proficient in the language it is necessary to take to the books. Apps are great at helping pronunciation and accent but for the purist, the pages of a book are the best!

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About the Author: Nicole Herbert Dean

Language, Region and Culture Consultant to the Department of Defense and United States Military.