As India continues to rise in the global market, so does the importance of Hindi; learn about the language as a way to bridge cultural gaps.
Fun Facts about Hindi
Hindi is a language spoken as a first language by an estimated number of 425 million people in various parts of the world, mainly in India. It is a very old and rich language that has evolved over thousands of years. Today, Modern Standard Hindi is one of the official languages of India. Given its wide reach as well as India’s rising influence on the global market, it is good to know a little bit about the language. Below are some fun facts and tips about Hindi to get you started!
- Hindi and Urdu are both standardized forms of the Hindustani language. In many senses the two languages are essentially the same, but Hindi is written in a script called Devanagari whereas Urdu is written in Arabic. In addition, Urdu has adopted many Persian words over time, which has distinguished it further from Hindi.
- German is not the only language famous for making up new, long words by joining existing ones; Hindi has its fair share of such words. This leads to some interesting tongue twisters and complex-looking words. For example, kinkartavyavimoodh can be translated as ‘astounded’ or ‘flabbergasted’. Even more complicated is the word logpathgaminisuchakdarshakharittamrlohpattika, which translates to ‘red and green iron plate which alerts train’ (a train signal).
3. In English, we say ‘thank you’ for everything and to everyone, ranging from your child to your boss to a cashier at a corner store. The same thank you in Hindi does not carry the same connotation; in fact, saying ‘thank you’ – dhanyavaad – can often come across as sarcastic and disrespectful! This is because in the Hindi language, there is already an unspoken understanding of gratitude.
4. The word ‘Hindi’ literally translates to ‘the language of the land of the Indus River’.
5. Hindi humor often features jokes about teachers and students. For example:
Teacher: Write an essay on a cricket match.
All pupils started writing except for one.
Teacher: Why are you sitting?
Student: I’ve finished the essay.
Teacher: What did you write?
Student: “Due to rain, no match.”
6. The English words ‘avatar’, ‘jungle’, ‘bungalow’, ‘looting’, and ‘thug’ all originate from Hindi.
7. Like many languages, Hindi has some interesting idioms. Some notable ones include: “A bear sucking his paws”, “First catch your hare”, and “A fly in the ointment”. It’s up to you to construe the meanings!
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