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Hindi phrasebook - Wikitravel
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|अ||a||as in about|
|आ||ā||as in father|
|इ||i||as in sit|
|ई||ī (ee)||as in elite|
|उ||u||as in put|
|ऊ||ū (oo)||as in flute|
|ऋ||ṛ||as in Scottish heard, trip.|
|ए||e||long e. It is not a diphthong; the tone does not fall.|
|ऐ||ai||as in Mail, sometimes a longer ए. As in bright (IPA ıj).|
|ओ||o||not a diphthong; tone does not fall.|
|औ||au||as in town.|
Many Hindi consonants come in three different forms: aspirated, unaspirated and retroflex.
Aspiration means "with a puff of air", and is the difference between the sound of the letter "p" in English pin (aspirated) and spit (unaspirated). In this phrasebook, aspirated sounds are spelled with an h (so English "pin" would be phin) and unaspirated sounds without it (so "spit" is still spit). Hindi aspiration is quite forceful and it's OK to emphasize the puff: bharti.
Hindi retroflex consonants, on the other hand, are not really found in English. They should be pronounced with the tongue tip curled back. Practice with a native speaker, or just pronounce as usual — you'll usually still get the message across.
|क||k||as in skip.|
|ख||kh||as in sinkhole.|
|ग||g||as in go.|
|घ||gh||as in doghouse.|
|ङ||ṅ||as in sing. Used only in Sanskrit loan words, does not occur independently.|
|च||c||as in church.|
|छ||ch||as in pinchhit.|
|ज||j||as in jump.|
|झ||jh||as in dodge her.|
|ञ||ń||as in canyon. Used only in Sanskrit loan words, does not occur independently.|
|ट||ṭ||as in tick. Retroflex, but still a "hard" t sound similar to English.|
|ठ||ṭ||as in lighthouse. Retroflex|
|ड||ḍ||as in doom. Retroflex|
|ढ||ḍ||as in mudhut. Retroflex|
|ण||ṇ||retroflex n. Used only in Sanskrit loan words.|
|त||t||does not exist in English. more dental t, with a bit of a th sound. Softer than an English t.|
|थ||th||aspirated version of the previous letter, not as in thanks or the.|
|ध||dh||aspirated version of the above.|
|प||p||as in spin.|
|फ||ph||as in u'ph'ill.|
|ब||b||as in be.|
|भ||bh||as in abhor.|
|म||m||as in mere.|
|य||y||as in yet.|
|र||r||as in Spanish pero, a tongue trip. Don't roll as in Spanish rr, German or Scottish English.|
|ल||l||as in lean.|
|व||v||as in Spanish vaca, between English v and w, but without the lip rounding of an English w. (IPA: ʋ).|
|श||ś||as in shoot.|
|ष||ṣ||almost indistinguishable retroflex of the above. slightly more aspirated. Used only in Sanskrit loan words.|
|स||s||as in see.|
|ह||h||as in him.|
For emphasizing words don't stress them by voice (which would be regarded as a sign of aggressiveness) but add a to after them.
Voice should always be very low and with few changes in pitch, loudness and stress, so please: relax!.
One of the only stresses found in Hindi is the last long syllable prior to the last syllable (e.g. in "dhānyavād" stress "dhā"). But it is a mild stress which occurs naturally, so don't force it. Don't even think about it!
शुभकामनाएँ! / śubhkāmnāe! / Good luck
Greetings: There are no time elemental greetings in Hindi such as good morning, good afternoon, etc. And each religion has its own greetings. It is considered very gracious to address a person by their respective greetings, but not necessary. Namaste is the most ubiquitous greeting, and though of Hindu origin is now mostly secular. It is said with hands folded and a small gesture of bowing – but don't go overboard Japanese style! Namaste literally means "I bow to you." Namaste The original religious significance was of bowing to the soul (ātmā) within another. It is custom to touch the feet of someone older than you when saying Namaste. Namaskār has the same meaning, but is used less often in Hindi, though it is common in other Indian languages such as Gujarati and Bengali. Namaskār is thought of as more formal, and as such is used more often when addressing a group or a person of importance. The Sikhs also fold their hands and bow, but have their own greetings. Sat srī akāl is the most common, which comes from the Punjabi ਸਤਿ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲ meaning "God alone is Truth." Though Sikhism is mostly centered in the Punjab region of India, Punjabi greetings are used by Sikhs all over the world, as Punjabi is the language of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Scripture. After meeting someone for the first time āpse milkar bahut khuśī huī. may be said, meaning "after meeting you much happiness has happened (to me)."
Civilities: In Western cultures saying phrases like please, thank you, you're welcome, excuse me, sorry, etc. are so ingrained into us from a young age that we say them without a second thought. Not so for Indians. Saying such phrases in an inappropriate circumstance might even embarrass the person, or cheapen the gravity of the phrase itself. These phrases are only said in a sincere sense. For example, don't say धन्यवाद (thank you) after a clerk hands you your grocery bag, but when someone goes out of their way to do something nice for you. Sometimes English words themselves are used; due to the British colonial influence, especially in urban areas and among the upper class. In this case use them as you would in English. Just remember that like Germans, and the French, they sometimes have trouble with English th sounds and therefore pronounce th as थ. When someone is in your way, instead of saying excuse me, or zara suniye, just let out an aspirated ts sound with your tongue behind your teeth to attract their attention. This might seem rude, but is no more rude than children saying "pssst" to get a friend's attention during class! In conclusion, though Hindi has corresponding words to ours, this does not mean that the context in which they are used also correspond likewise. Don't let all of this lead you to believe Indians are cold though – nothing could be further from the truth! These sentiments are merely communicated through body language rather than verbally. To show your thanks, a simple smile will do the trick. Other common gestures include the infamous "head bobble"; and a hand gesture made by swiftly swinging the wrist so your palm is facing the sky and your forefingers slightly elongated. Before travellling to India, rent some Bollywood films so that if a spontaneous Bhangra breaks out in the streets, you'll be ready to join in! All kidding aside, they can demonstrate body language and customs far better than any book is able to, all while acclimatizing you to the language as well.
Prefixes & Suffixes: With the words for "yes" and "no" jī (जी) may be added before to give it a more polite tone. Sometimes speakers will simply reply with jī, as an affirmation of something someone says. Jī is added to a person's name as a sign of respect. For example; in India Mahatma Gandhi is known simply as Gandhiji (गांधीजी). Another suffix which is indispensable is vāla (-वाला), often rendered in English as "-wallah". Many books devote whole chapters to vāla. With nouns it gives the meaning "the one or thing that does" and with verbs, it indicates something is about to happen. Examples:
English Loan Words: The British Empire's influence spread into the language itself, and this continues today with American culture being exported throughout the world. So, an English word or phrase may almost always be inserted into any Hindi sentence. You will often hear Indians, whom while talking in Hindi, pepper their sentences with English words. Sometimes they'll even alternate sentences, going from Hindi to English, and back to Hindi! Upon meeting an Indian, many times you may not even get to practice your Hindi, because they want to practice their English on you! English loan words are particularly used for modern inventions/technologies, so words like TV, computer and microwave are the same as in English apart from the slight change of accent. However; this is mostly in the cities, and learning some Hindi will have been all the more rewarding when in rural or non-tourist areas, as well as allowing you to communicate with a wider variety of people in the cities.
Gender & The 2nd Person Pronoun: Certain words have different endings depending on your gender. If you are a man say these with an -a suffix, and if you're a woman, -ī. However; when addressing the person respectively with āp (आप), the masculine ending takes the plural form. This is not all that different from the behavior of other Indo-European languages, c.f. German Sie, which like āp is also both the respectful 2nd person pronoun and plural form of address. The other two forms are the familiar tum (तुम) and intimate tū (तू). These change the forms of certain words. Tum is for friends and peers, tū for small children (within the family); between 'significant others' in private; traditionally to lower castes; in the past, slaves; and, paradoxically, when supplicating to the gods/God (c.f. Greek mythology). As a general rule, stick with āp, until you become more familiar with the language and culture. Forget about tū altogether, at the best using it would be a faux pas and at the worst, very offensive. For those reasons as well as practical ones, this section will only use the āp form.
| Accha! OK? TK! |
One of the most useful words to know is accha. It is both an adjective and interjection. Its meanings include (but are not limited to!): good, excellent, healthy, well, OK, really?, awesome!, hmm..., a-ha!, etc.! If you learn no other word, remember this one.
Another common all-purpose word is ṭhīk hai, pronounced and occasionally even spelled out as "TK". It is used in the same manner, meaning: OK/all right, yes/understood (affirmation), right/correct, etc. Sometimes shortened to just ṭhīk.
|Hello (used esp. when answering the phone)||हेलो||helo|
|Hello/Goodbye (Hindu, respectful)||प्रणाम||praņām|
|Hello/Goodbye (Hindu, colloquial)||राम राम||rām rām|
|Hello/Goodbye (Sikh)||सत श्री अकाल||sat śrī akāl|
|Hello/Goodbye (Sikh, formal)||वाहिगुरू जी का खाल्स||vāhegurū jī ka khālsa|
|Hello/Goodbye (Sikh, reply)||वाहिगुरू जी की फ़तह||vāhegurū jī kī fateh|
|See you later||फिर मिलेंगे||phir milenge|
|How are you?||आप कैसे/कैसी हैं?||āp kaise/kaisī hai?|
|How are you?||आप ख़ैरियत से हैँ?||āp khairiyat se hai|
|I am fine||मैं ठीक हूँ||mai ṭhīk hū|
|OK/fine (colloq.)||ठीक है||ṭhīk hai|
|Fine, and you? (more formal reply)||ठीक, आप सुनाइये||ṭhīk, āp sunāiye|
|What is your name?||आपका नाम क्या है?؟||āpka nām kya hai?|
|My name is ___ .||मेरा नाम ___ है।||mera nām ___ hai.|
|Nice to meet you (formal).||आपसे मिलकर बहुत ख़ूशी हुई।||āpse milkar bahut khushi huī|
|Nice to meet you too (reply).||मुझे भी||mujhe bhī|
|Do you speak English?||आपको अंग्रेज़ी आती है?||āpko angrezī ātī hai?|
|Is there someone here who speaks English?||क्या किसी को अंग्रेज़ी आती है?||kya kisī ko angrezī ātī hai?|
|I don't speak Hindi.||मुझे हिन्दी नहीं आती है।||mujhe hindī nahī ātī hai.|
|I can't speak Hindi||मैं हिन्दी नहीं बोल सकता हूँ।||mai hindī nahī bol sakta hū.|
|I speak some Hindi.||मुझे कुच हिन्दी आती है।||mujhe kuch hindī ātī hai|
|I don't understand.||मैं समझा/समझी नहीं।||mai samjha/samjhī nahī|
|Speak more slowly||धीरे धीरे बोलिये||dhīre dhīre boliye|
|What does "..." mean?||"..." का मतलब कया है?||"..." ka artha/matlab kya hai?|
|How do you say "..."?||"..." कैसे कहते हैं?||"..." kaise kahate hai?|
|Where are you from?||आप कहाँ से हैं?||āp kaha se hai?|
|I'm from ...||मैं ... से हूँ||mai ... se hū|
|Thank you||धन्यवाद / शुक्रिया||dhanyavād/shukriya (Hindustani/Urdu)|
|Thank you very much||बहुत बहुत ...||bahut bahut ...|
|You're welcome||आपका स्वागत है||āpka svāgat hai|
|You're welcome (lit. don't mention it)||कोई बात नहीं||koī bāt nahī|
|Excuse me (getting s.o.'s attention)||सुनिये||suniye|
|Pardon me||क्षमा कीजिये||kṣama kījiye|
|Pardon me/I'm sorry||माफ़ कीजिये||maaf kijiye|
|Where is the toilet?||टॉयलेट कहाँ है?||ṭāyaleṭ kaha hai?|
|Where is the toilet?||शौचालय कहाँ है?||śaucālay kaha hai?|
|Good!, really?, nice, etc.||अच्छा||accha|
|Just one minute||एक मिनट||ek minaṭ|
|Mr. (Sikh, ਸਰਦਾਰ)||सरदार||sardār|
|Mrs. (Sikh, ਸਰਦਾਰਨੀ)||सरदारनी||sardārnī|
|how/of what kind?||कैसा?||kaisa|
The numerals used to write in decimal are called Indo-Arabic numerals. Developed in India, they were borrowed by the Arabs, and gradually spread to Europe. The similarities are hard to miss. Here are their respective numerals.
Hindi numbers ending in 9 are named as "un" (-1) plus the next multiple of ten. Instead of naming powers of a thousand, Hindi has unique names for a thousand, a hundred thousand, ten million etc. These peculiarities don't seem to have effected the proliferation of Indian mathematicians.
|6||छह, छै, छः||cheh, chai, cheḥ||31||इकत्तीस||ikttīs||56||छप्पन||chappan||81||इक्यासी||ikyāsī|
|200||दो सौ||do sau|
|300||तीन सौ||tīn sau|
|2000||दो हज़ार||do hazār|
|3000||तीन हज़ार||tīn hazār|
|number _____ (train, bus, etc.)||नबंर _____ ट्रेन, बस, ...||nambar _____ ṭren, bas, ...|
|now||अब, अभी||ab, abhī|
|later||बाद में, फिर||bād me, phir|
|morning||सुबह, सवेरा||subeh, savera(early morn.)|
|afternoon||दोपहर||dopehar; sa pehar|
|one o'clock AM||रात में एक बजे||rāt me ek baje|
|two o'clock AM||रात में दो बजे||rāt me do baje|
|one o'clock PM||दोपहर एक बजे||dopehar ek baje|
|two o'clock PM||दोपहर दो बजे||dopehar do baje|
|midnight||आधी रात||ādhī rāt|
|Yesterday/Tomorrow (depends on context/tense)||कल||… kal|
|Day after tomorrow/day before yesterday||परसों||parso|
|This week||इस हफ़्ते||is hafte|
|Last week||पिछले हफ़्ते||pichle hafte|
|Next week||अगले हफ़्ते||agle hafte|
|Two weeks||दो हफ़्ते||do hafte|
The Hindu days of the week are each ruled by a planet, and corresponding exactly to ancient cultures in the West, i.e. Sunday = Ravivār (Lord of the Sun's day [lit. time or period]). Thursday/O.N. Žorsdagr, Thor's day = Guruvār (Lord of Jupiter's day), Saturday/Saturn's day = Śani's (Lord of Saturn's day), etc. Unlike her Western counterparts, in India, Astrology is still a vital part of Hindu culture. Though attitudes may vary on its validity, priests are still consulted, as per tradition, for an auspicious day to hold a wedding. -वार (-vār), meaning day, time, or period is often dropped colloquially.
|Sunday||इतवार/रविवार||itvār, ravivār (Sun)|
|Monday||सोमवार||somvār (Moon); pīr|
|Tuesday||मंगलवार/मंगल||mangalvār (Mars); mangal|
|Wednesday||बुधवार/बुध||budhvār (Mercury); budh|
India has two main calendars in use, though other groups like the Parsis have their own calendar as well. The Western (Gregorian) calendar is used for day to day and business affairs, and the Hindu calendar is used by religious communities.
The Hindu Calendar (विक्रम संवत् Vikram saṃvat) is named after a legendary king of Ujjain who is supposed to have founded the Vikramditya (विक्रमादित्य) era c. 56 BCE. The year 57 BCE was the first year of this (संवत् saṃvat) era. Thus, to calculate the current date of the Hindu calendar add 57 years. Today the Hindu Calendar is used mainly for religious purposes and calculating festivals. Because it is based on the lunar month, every 30 months an "impure" intercalary leap month is added during which no ceremonies are performed. The Hindi names are variations of the original Sanskrit ones.
|Name||Hindi||№ of Days||Gregorian Equivalent|
|Caitra||चैत्र/चैत||30||(March - April)|
|Baisākh||बैसाख||31||(April - May)|
|Jeṭh||जेठ||31||(May - June)|
Give some examples how to write clock times and dates if it differs from English. The time is written exactly as in English, that is hours followed by minutes. 12:45am will thus be दोपहर के 12 बजकर पैंतालीस मिनट (dopehar ke 12 bajkar paintālīs minaṭ), note that बजकर (bajkar) would indicate something like "o'clock" in English . मिनट (minaṭ) is just a literal translation of "minutes."
|colorful||रंगिरंगा||bahut bahAna, rangabirangī|
|purple||बैंगनी, जाम्नी||bainganī, jāmnī|
|silver||चांदी||chāndhī (also the metal)|
|Train||ट्रेन, रेलगाड़ी||ṭren, relgāṛī|
|Bus Station||बस का अड्डा||bas ka aḍḍa|
|Bus Stop||बस स्टाप||bas sṭāp|
|Car||गाड़ी, कार||gāṛī, kār|
|Airplane||हवाई जवाज़||havāī jahāz|
|Airport||हवाई अड्डा||havāī adda|
Note: Indian Traffic Signs are much like those in Europe. Words are written in English and sometimes the regional language.
Despite Hindi being among Chinese, Spanish and English as the most spoken languages, there is a dearth of resources on the subject(s), and even fewer which are worth-while. Instead of anger of frustration, the Hindi student should instead feel a smug superiority of being ahead of everyone else who are learning other languages, which may fill the rows of bookshelves in bookstores now, but cannot compare with the vast amount of volumes to be written on Hindi in the future! Here is a list of the better books and dictionaries. Stay away from books written for Indians who already know another related Indian language (such as the National Integration series), which make such claims as "Learn This or That Language in 30 days!" Remember the rule of thumb: If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. If you know German, Margot Gatzlaff-Hälsig, has continued the incomparable German tradition of Indologie with two dictionaries and numerous books on Hindi.
HINDI LANGUAGE RESOURCES
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