Hindi is when spoken almost exactly the same language as Urdu, with only some differences in vocabulary and accent; recent history has however driven them apart as each one was equated with particular political and religious views. In written form, हिन्दी and اردو are both beautiful but mutually unintelligible, using the Devanagari and the (slightly adapted) Arabic alphabets, respectively. As exotic as they might look and sound, the languages are actually classified under the Indo-European family tree, so their structures can appear familiar. However, a language in which ‘haha’ is an affirmative answer, ‘or’ means ‘and’ and ‘tomorrow’ is the same word as ‘yesterday’ will surely make for a learning journey that is puzzling like the Indian head wobble: even when you know what it means, it still every time causes a second of utter confusion before understanding hits.
A Door Into Hindi
This is a complete course developed by the US Department of Education, and it also exists in an Urdu version. Perfect if you (like me) want to learn both side by side! I study grammar through Urdu (as I already knew the Arabic alphabet) and note new vocabulary in the two writing systems, learning Hindi along the way.
As the most complete collection of Hindi grammar explanations I know of after the above mentioned course, this website does a nice job making your language learning struggle a bit easier. They also set up Google Drive with a lot of children’s books.
This July Duolingo finally launched their long-awaited Hindi course! I never recommend Duolingo as a main source for starting a language as in my opinion it doesn’t focus enough on grammar, but for me it works wonderfully as a support to regular lessons and as a tool to keep in touch with the language when you’re not actively studying it.
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Hindi in three minutes
These YouTube playlists offer the basic sentences you will need to get by. Nice to start with, but it offers no grammar.
Hindi is the main language of the largest entertainment industry in the world: Bollywood. I assembled some of my favorite songs in the Spotify playlist on the right!
The difference between Urdu and Hindi
Confused about the relation between the two languages? I found this a nice informative clip (as are most of this guy’s other videos!).