Hindustānī also known as "Hindi-Urdu," is a term used by linguists to
describe several closely related idioms in the northern, central and
northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. It encompasses two
standardized registers in the form of the official languages of Hindi
and Urdu language, as well as several nonstandard dialects. Because
Hindustani is not an immediate descendant of Sanskrit, the origin of
common Hindustani words can be obscure.
Standard Hindi derives much of its formal and technical vocabulary
from Sanskrit while standard Urdu derives much of its formal and
technical vocabulary from Persian. Standard (shuddha or pāk,
meaning "pure") Hindi and Urdu are 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 words
drawn from Persian, Arabic, and Sanskrit. In addition, spoken Hindustani
includes words from English and other languages as well.
Hindustani or Hindi-Urdu developed over hundreds of years throughout
India (which formerly included what is now Pakistan). In the same way
that the core vocabulary of English evolved from Old English
(Anglo-Saxon) but includes a large number of words borrowed from French
and other languages (whose pronunciations often changed naturally so as
to become easier for speakers of English to pronounce), what may be
called Hindustani can be said to have evolved from Sanskrit while
borrowing many Persian and Arabic words over the years, and changing the
pronunciations (and often even the meanings) of those words to make them
easier for Hindustani speakers to pronounce. Therefore, Hindustani is
the language as it evolved organically. This article will deal with the
categories of Hindustani words and some of the common words found in the
categorization of Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) words in Hindi pedagogy
Words in Hindustani are analysed in traditional Hindi pedagogy as
falling into the following categories:
- Tadbhava (तद्भव/تدبھو derived from): There are
words that are derived from Sanskrit or Prakrit, but often with much
- Tatsama (तत्सम/تتسم identical): Words that are in
exactly the same form (when written) as standard Sanskrit.
- Deshaja (देशज/دیشج local): words that are
unrelated to any Sanskrit words, and of local origin.
- Videshi: Loan words from non-Indian languages that
include Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Portuguese, or English.
The use of tatsama words was much less common in Apabhramsha.[citation
needed] The most common words in Hindustani are tadbhava
and are derived through Prakrit and Apabhramsha.[citation
of Hindustani Word Derivations
of hai (है ہے)
One of the most common words in Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) is hai
"is". It originates from the following two sources:
- Sanskrit: asti ("is") / bhavati ("being") and from
- Prakrit: ahai (here a and i are pronounced
The Sanskrit s sometimes becomes h in Prakrits.
Shortening of ahai produced hai. In some older works in
Hindustani literature, one can find usage of ahai. For example,
Bharatendu Harishchandra wrote: "निज भाषा उन्नति अहै, सब उन्नति को मूल"
("نِج بھاشا اُنّتِ اَہے، سب اُنّتِ کو مُول "). In Marathi the अ
remained, and the cognate of hai is aahe (आहे).
of jaataa (जाता جاتا) and gayaa (गया گیا)
The word jata ("goes") is from Sanskrit root yaa (yaati,
yaata). ya often becomes "ja" in Prakrit.
The word gaya ("went") is from Sanskrit root gam (gachchhati),
from gatah. Here t transforms to y in Prakrit.
(आजा آجا) and daadaa (दादा دادا)
The word aajaa has also been used in Northern India and
Pakistan for "grandfather". It is indeed derived from arya
meaning "sir" in this case. Jains nuns are addressed either as Aryika
The word daadaa also has a similar meaning which varies in
region. It is used in some regions for "father", in other regions for
"older brother", or even for "grandfather" in other regions. This word
is an amalgam of two sources:
- Sanskrit taata used to address intimate persons which
means either "sir" or "dear".
- Tau meaning "father's older brother" is derived from
The word "baḍaa" ("older/bigger")
is derived from the Sanskrit vridhha through Prakrit