), also known as Manak Hindi
, Nagari Hindi
or Literary Hindi
, is a
standardised register of Hindustani. It is the official language
of India, and is used, along with English, for administration of
the central government.
Standard Hindi is a sanskritised register derived from the
dialect. By contrast, the spoken Hindi dialects
form an extensive dialect continuum of the Indic language
family, bounded on the northwest and west by Punjabi, Sindhi,
Gujarati and Marathi; on the southeast by Oriya; on the east by
Bengali; and on the north by Nepali.
The number of speakers of
Standard Hindi is ambiguous. According to the 2001 Indian
million people in India regarded their native language to be
"Hindi". However, this includes large numbers of speakers of
Hindi dialects besides Standard Hindi; as of 2009, the best
figure Ethnologue could find for Khariboli Hindi was a
dated 1991 figure of 180 million.
The regulating authority for Standard Hindi is the Central
This article deals specifically with the standard register of
Hindi promulgated since independence. For its earlier history,
as well as aspects such as phonology and grammar that it shares
with Urdu, see Hindi-Urdu.
The Constitution of India, adopted in 1950, declares Hindi in
the Devanagari script as the official language (rājabhāṣā)
of the Union (Article 343(1)).
Hindi is also enumerated as one of the twenty-two languages of
the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which entitles
it to representation on the Official Language Commission.
The Constitution of India has stipulated the usage of Hindi and
English to be the two languages of communication for the Central
It was envisioned that Hindi would become the sole working
language of the central government by 1965 (per directives in
Article 344 (2) and Article 351),
with state governments being free to function in languages of
their own choice. However, widespread resistance movements to
the imposition of Hindi on non-native speakers (such as the
Anti-Hindi agitations of Tamil Nadu) led to the passage of the
Official Languages Act (1963), which provided for the continued
use of English, indefinitely, for all official purposes.
However, the constitutional directive to the central government
to champion the spread of Hindi was retained and has strongly
influenced the policies of the Union government.
At the state level, Hindi is the official language of the
following states in India: Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand,
Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh,
Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Delhi. Each of
these states may also designate a "co-official language"; in
Uttar Pradesh for instance, depending on the political formation
in power, sometimes this language is Urdu. Similarly, Hindi is
accorded the status of co-official language in several states.
The dialect upon which Standard Hindi is based is
khariboli, the vernacular of the Delhi region. This dialect
acquired linguistic prestige in the Mughal Empire (17th century)
and became known as Urdu, "the language of the court."
(See History of Hindustani for the history of this period.)
After independence, the Government of India set about
standardizing Hindi as a separate language from Urdu,
instituting the following conventions:
- standardization of grammar: In 1954, the Government of
India set up a committee to prepare a grammar of Hindi; The
committee's report was released in 1958 as "A Basic Grammar
of Modern Hindi"
- standardization of the orthography, using the Devanagari
script, by the Central Hindi Directorate of the Ministry of
Education and Culture to bring about uniformity in writing,
to improve the shape of some Devanagari characters, and
introducing diacritics to express sounds from other
- standardization of vocabulary, replacing most of the
more learned Persian loan words with new coinages from
Sanskrit. (See next.)
Standard Hindi derives much of its formal and technical
vocabulary from Sanskrit. Standard or shuddh ("pure")
Hindi is used only in public addresses and radio or TV news,
while the everyday spoken language in most areas is one of
several varieties of Hindustani, whose vocabulary contains many
words drawn from Persian and Arabic. In addition, spoken Hindi
includes words from English and other languages as well.
Vernacular Urdu and Hindi share the same grammar and core
vocabulary and so are practically indistinguishable. However,
the literary registers differ substantially in borrowed
vocabulary; in highly formal situations, the languages are
barely intelligible to speakers of the other. Hindi has looked
to Sanskrit for borrowings from at least the 19th century, and
Urdu has looked to Persian and Arabic for borrowings from the
eighteenth century. On another dimension, Hindi has been
associated with the Hindu community and Urdu with the Muslim
There are five principal categories of words in Standard
- Tatsam (तत्सम् / تتسم / same as that)
words: These are words which are spelled the same in Hindi
as in Sanskrit (except for the absence of final case
They include words inherited from Sanskrit via Prakrit which
have survived without modification (e.g. Hindustani nām/Sanskrit
as well as forms borrowed directly from Sanskrit in more
modern times (e.g. prārthanā, "prayer").
Pronunciation, however, conforms to Hindi norms and may
differ from that of classical Sanskrit. Among nouns, the
tatsam word could be the Sanskrit uninflected word-stem,
or it could be the nominative singular form in the Sanskrit
- Ardhātatsam (अर्धातात्सम् / اردهاتاتسم)
words: These are words that were borrowed from Sanskrit in
the middle Indo-Aryan or early New Indo-Aryan stages. Such words typically have undergone sound
changes subsequent to being borrowed.
- Tadbhav (तद्भव / تدبھو / born of that)
words: These are words which are spelled differently from
Sanskrit but are derivable from a Sanskrit prototype by
phonological rules (e.g. Sanskrit karma, "deed"
becomes Pali kamma, and eventually Hindi kām,
- Deshaj (देशज / ديشج) words: These are
words that were not borrowings but do not derive from
attested Indo-Aryan words either. Belonging to this category
are onomatopoetic words.
- Videshī (विदेशी / ودیشی) words: these
include all words borrowed from sources other than
Indo-Aryan. The most frequent sources of borrowing in this
category have been Persian, Arabic, Portuguese and English.
Similarly, Urdu treats its own vocabulary, borrowed directly
from Persian and Arabic, as a separate category for
Hindi from which most of the Persian, Arabic and English
words have been ousted and replaced by tatsam words is
called Shuddha Hindi (pure Hindi). Chiefly, the
proponents of Hindutva ideology ("Hindu-ness") are
vociferous supporters of Shuddha Hindi.
Excessive use of tatsam words sometimes creates
problems for most native speakers. Strictly speaking, the
tatsam words are words of Sanskrit and not of Hindi—thus
they have complicated consonantal clusters which are not
linguistically valid in Hindi. The educated middle class
population of India can pronounce these words with ease, but
people of rural backgrounds have much difficulty in pronouncing
them. Similarly, vocabulary borrowed from Persian and Arabic
also brings in its own consonantal clusters and "foreign"
sounds, which may again cause difficulty in speaking them.
See also: Urdu#Examples
The following is a sample text in High Hindi, of the Article
1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (by the United
- अनुच्छेद 1 — सभी मनुष्यों को गौरव और अधिकारों के
मामले में जन्मजात स्वतन्त्रता प्राप्त है। उन्हें बुद्धि और
अन्तरात्मा की देन प्राप्त है और परस्पर उन्हें भाईचारे के भाव
से बर्ताव करना चाहिये।
- Anucched 1 — Sabhī manuṣyoṃ ko
gaurav aur adhikāroṃ ke māmle meṃ janmajāt svatantratā prāpt
hai. Unheṃ buddhi aur antarātmā kī den prāpt hai aur
paraspar unheṃ bhāīcāre ke bhāv se bartāv karnā cāhiye.
ənʊtʃʰːeːd̪ eːk — səbʱiː mənʊʃjõː koː ɡɔːɾəʋ ɔːr əd̪ʱɪkaːɾõ
keː maːmleː mẽː dʒənmədʒaːt̪ sʋət̪ənt̪ɾət̪aː pɾaːpt̪ hɛː.
ʊnʱẽ bʊd̪ʱːɪ ɔːɾ ənt̪əɾaːt̪maː kiː d̪eːn pɾaːpt̪ hɛː ɔːɾ
pəɾəspəɾ ʊnʱẽː bʱaːiːtʃaːɾeː keː bʱaːʋ seː bəɾt̪aːʋ kəɾnə
- Article 1 — All human-beings to dignity and
rights' matter in from-birth freedom acquired is. Them to
reason and conscience's endowment acquired is and always
them to brotherhood's spirit with behaviour to do should.
- Article 1 — All human beings are born free and equal in
dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and
conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of
intimately, often derogatory)
|How are you?
||āp kaise haiṃ
||आप कैसे हैं?
|See you later
|I did not understand
||maiṃ samjhā nahīṃ
||मैं समझा नहीं
|Help me (please)
|meri madad kījiye
/ sahāyatā kījie!
||मेरी मदद कीजिये / सहायता कीजिये
|Do you speak English?
||kyā āp aṃgrezī
||क्या आप अंग्रेज़ी बोलते हैं?
|samay kyā huā?
/ kitne baje haiṃ?
||समय क्या हुआ? / कितने बजे हैं?
|I do not know
||mujhe nahīṃ patā
||मुझे नहीं पता