When I was 23, I was lucky enough to be able to spend three months travelling around India. In that time I tried to learn as much Hindi as I could (although I can’t remember as much now as I haven’t been using it), and I absolutely loved it. I found it to be a language that was much much easier to learn than I thought it would be, and I couldn’t understand why more people didn’t choose it as a language to learn.
Hopefully here, I’ll manage to convince you why you should consider learning Hindi and why it might just be the language for you.
Reasons to learn Hindi
Hindi is the main language spoken in India, although India has several regional languages. Hindi is also a language in other countries such as Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Nepal. Learning Hindi opens up these countries to you and allows you to talk to local people that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
Around 425 million people speak Hindi making it the 4th most spoken language in the world by native speakers. Any language that is within the top five (or even top ten) spoken languages deserves the consideration of being learned. Especially if you’re thinking of learning a language for work, which brings me onto my first major point…
Learn Hindi for your career
Hindi is the fifth most spoken language but it is not a language that many people choose to learn as a second language. Meaning that if you were to learn Hindi, there will always be jobs around that require Hindi speakers, where the competition is low and you’ll definitely stand out.
India’s economy is increasing at a breakneck speed. It is one of the faster growing economies in the world, and with a fast growing economy comes job opportunities, trading and new businesses. As India’s economy grows and more trade is done with the country, more and more will people need Hindi speakers. Meaning that if that’s a skill you possess, companies will be competing for you and not the other way around.
Even if you didn’t get a job at a company that required a Hindi speaker, it’s still a very impressive thing to have on your CV and shows that you would be able to learn other languages in the future too if required.
Learn Hindi for travel
If you have a pull towards visiting India, like I did, then I couldn’t recommend learning Hindi more. When I was in India and I noticed that as my Hindi improved and I could communicate more with the locals, the conversations I had were better, the service I got was better and sometimes experiences would open up to me because they were impressed that I could carry basic (and I mean basic) conversations in Hindi.
India is an incredible country, it’s enormous, it’s beautiful, the people are lovely, the food is great. I would highly recommend adding it to your travel bucket list and if you do, then I would also recommend learning Hindi to make that travel experience even more special
Learn Hindi to enjoy Bollywood
Bollywood is nearly as big as Hollywood but greatly under appreciated in the west. Bollywood is a whole different style of cinema that is beautiful, colourful and lots of fun. You can watch Bollywood without speaking Hindi, but learning some Hindi will make your viewing so much more enjoyable.
Learn Hindi for the food
You probably already know a lot of Hindi food because of Indian food, but you need to try it when you’re in India. Of course not all of it is hygienic and you run the rick of Delhi belly, but the food is incredible. If you’re a vegetarian, then even better. Not a lot of cuisines cater for vegetarians, but being a vegetarian anywhere in Asia is normally amazing, and in India it’s even better. There are so many delicious vegetarian dishes that are available in India. If your stomach can handle it, the food is some of the best in the world.
Hindi isn’t that difficult
One of the great things that makes Hindi easy is that there is no distinction between gender – there is no he/she. So you can just use the same word for everyone (talk about progressive language). Although Hindi does have male and female nouns, but if you’ve learned a European language before then this is a concept you’ve probably already come across.
The phonemes are also pretty easy. In comparison to English, not only are the phonemes relatively similar and easy to pronounce but the script is phonetic. So when you’re reading, if you’ve learnt the script, even if you can’t understand what you’re saying, you should be able to pronounce everything. Which leads me onto my next point which is that…….
You get to learn the script
Devanāgarī is a beautiful script, one of the most beautiful writing systems in the world. And if you learn Hindi, then learning this script will be part of it. Because the script is phonetic, if you spend a day learning the phonemes that match up with the script, then you’ll be reading within a day (of course, you’ll have no idea what you’re saying). But that should still be a plus compared to writing systems like Chinese characters that can take weeks or months to learn.
If you learn Hindi, you’re also learning Urdu
For all intensive purposes, Hindi and Urdu are essentially the same language. Now this is probably something that you shouldn’t say, but if you learn Hindi, you’re going to be able to understand Urdu as well. Therefore by learning Hindi, you’re not only opening up India but you’re also opening up Pakistan too.
Pakistan may not be on the bucket list, but to be able to learn two languages in one and open up a whole new country, that definitely has to put Hindi up for stronger consideration.
Reasons not to learn Hindi
We’re going to outline some reasons why Hindi might be more difficult than you considered or why maybe you want to rethink learning Hindi, but realistically, this shouldn’t put you off. Hindi is a rich language that would make a fantastic addition to your languages. However, we want you to know some of the drawbacks or things that’ll make it a bit more difficult just so that you’re prepared.
Hindi is an SOV language. For all of those who aren’t savvy in grammar this means is has a subject – object – verb sentence order. Let’s take a look at an example together.
In English, we would say: Sally strokes the cat
Sarah = subject
Strokes = verb
Cat = object
In Hindi we would say: Sally the cat strokes
Sarah = subject
Cat = object
Strokes = verb
This grammar structure can make Hindi a bit more difficult for native English speakers and people from other languages with a SVO sentence structure. However, this isn’t that difficult to manage. You might get tripped up a few times, but you’ll quickly get used to it in no time; the more you use it the more natural it will feel.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my reasons why you should consider learning Hindi. My time spent in India would not have been anywhere near as special if I hadn’t learned the small bits of Hindi I did. It allowed me to appreciate the culture more, to talk to locals that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to talk to, and it made me feel great when I was able to navigate using Hindi, read shop signs and order food. It definitely got me better treatment and it opened up a world that I wouldn’t have had access to.
I regret stopping learning Hindi and when I finish my current language learning projects, it’s definitely a language that I would love to get back to and try and take to a new level. I just need to find some time where I can go to India for a few months, because although I can do it from home, I want to continue learning while eating that incredible food.
If you have any experience learning Hindi, you want to start learning or maybe you think it definitely isn’t the language for you, then please let me know in the comments below. We love hearing about your language learning experiences, especially if it can help us improve the information that we provide.
Good luck and keep on learning!