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Revision as of 17:37, 1 September 2012

Hindi हिन्दी is an Indo-European language spoken in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and throughout the Indian diaspora in Fiji, Singapore, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Trinidad, Suriname, Guyana, South Africa, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius, Germany, etc.). Of the 22 national languages and over 1,000 dialects of India, Hindi is promoted by the government and viewed by over half the population as a "link-language."

Hindi is descended from Sanskrit, sometimes called "the mother of all languages," or "Latin of the East." Hindi developed from the proto-Hindi खड़ी बोली Khaṛī Bolī (lit. "Pure language"). A mixture of Hindi and Urdu, called Hindustani (though this name is also applied to the Caribbean dialect of Hindi), is the form heard in most Bollywood films, that try to appeal to the widest audience possible. Hindustani is different than what is taught at the literary level and what is used by news programs and the government in India.

A striking fact is that, depending on the source, Hindi is listed anywhere from the 2nd-5th most widely spoken language in the world. In contrast to languages such as Mandarin or Spanish, there has not been much stress outside of India in promoting Hindi education. In 2006, however, President Bush brought education of India's languages, including Hindi, to the forefront in the United States through the National Security Language Initiative, thus highlighting the need for closer ties and understanding between the two countries.

Contents

Writing

Hindi is written in the Devanāgarī (देवनागरी) script, shared with Nepali, Marathi and a number of other Indian languages. Learning Devanagari is not quite as difficult as you might think at first glance, but mastering it takes a while and is beyond the scope of most travellers. See Learning Devanagari for a primer.

Pronunciation

Most English speakers find Hindi pronunciation rather challenging, as there are 11 separate vowels and 35 separate consonants, employing a large number of distinctions not found in English. Don't let this intimidate you: Many speakers do not speak standard Hindi at home, and are quite used to regional accents and mangling in various degrees.

Vowels

The key distinction is the difference between short and long vowels. In this phrase book, long vowels are noted with a macron (ā), whereas short vowels are listed without one. You will often come across non-standard romanizations, noted in parentheses below when applicable.

Devanagari Transliteration Equivalent/Comments
a as in about
ā as in father
i as in sit
ī (ee) as in elite
u as in put
ū (oo) as in flute
as in Scottish heard, trip. Rarely used in modern Hindi.
e long e. It is not a diphthong; the tone does not fall.
ai as in Mail, sometimes a longer ए. As in bright (IPA ıj).
o not a diphthong; tone does not fall.
au as in town.

Consonants

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.

Devanagari Transliteration Equivalent/Comments
k as in skip.
kh as in sinkhole.
g as in go.
gh as in doghouse.
as in sing. Used only in Sanskrit loan words, does not occur independently.
c as in church.
ch as in pinchhit.
j as in jump.
jh as in dodge her.
ñ as in canyon. Used only in Sanskrit loan words, does not occur independently.
as in tick. Retroflex, but still a "hard" t sound similar to English.
as in lighthouse. Retroflex
as in doom. Retroflex
as in mudhut. Retroflex
retroflex n. Used only in Sanskrit loan words.
t does not exist in English. more dental t, with a bit of a th sound. Softer than an English t.
th aspirated version of the previous letter, not as in thanks or the.
d dental d.
dh aspirated version of the above.
n dental n.
p as in spin.
ph as in u'ph'ill.
b as in be.
bh as in abhor.
m as in mere.
y as in yet.
r as in Spanish pero, a tongue trip. Don't roll as in Spanish rr, German or Scottish English.
l as in lean.
v as in Spanish vaca, between English v and w, but without the lip rounding of an English w. (IPA: ʋ).
ś as in shoot.
almost indistinguishable retroflex of the above. slightly more aspirated. Used only in Sanskrit loan words.
s as in see.
h as in him.

Stress

For emphasizing words don't stress them by voice (which would be regarded as a sign of aggressiveness) but add a to after them.

yeh kyā hai? ("what's this?") → yeh to kyā hai? - ("what is this?")

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! / śubhkāmnāen! / Good luck

Hindi Phrases

Cultural Notes

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." 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

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 travelling 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" (जी) may be added before to give it a more polite tone. Sometimes, speakers will simply reply with , as an affirmation of something someone says. 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:

  • noun – shop (दुकान dukān) + vāla = shopkeeper (दुकानवाला dukānvāla)
  • verb – to come (आना āna) + vāla = (the) ... is coming (... आनेवाला है ... ānevāla hay)

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 (तू). These change the forms of certain words. Tum is for friends and peers, 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 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.

Basics

Common signs

OPEN 
CLOSED 
ENTRANCE 
EXIT 
PUSH 
PULL 
TOILET 
MEN 
WOMEN 
FORBIDDEN 


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.


English Hindi Transliteration
Hello (used esp. when answering the phone) हेलो helo
Hello नमस्ते namaste
Hello/Goodbye नमस्कार namaskār
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 hain?
How are you? आप ख़ैरियत से हैँ? āp khairiyat se hain?
I am fine मैं ठीक हूँ main ṭhīk hūn
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
Yes हाँ haan
No/not नहीं nahīn
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 nahīn ātī hai.
I can't speak Hindi मैं हिन्दी नहीं बोल सकता हूँ। main hindī nahīn bol sakta hūn.
I speak some Hindi. मुझे कुच हिन्दी आती है। mujhe kuch hindī ātī hai
I don't understand. मैं समझा/समझी नहीं। main samjha/samjhī nahīn
Speak more slowly धीरे धीरे बोलिये dhīre dhīre boliye
Come again? फिरसे? phirse?
What does "..." mean? "..." का मतलब कया है? "..." ka artha/matlab kya hai?
How do you say "..."? "..." कैसे कहते हैं? "..." kaise kahate hain?
Where are you from? आप कहाँ से हैं? āp kahan se hain?
I'm from ... मैं ... से हूँ main ... se hūn
Please कृपया kṛp-ya
Thank you धन्यवाद / शुक्रिया dhanyavād/shukriya (Hindustani/Urdu)
Thank you थैंक्यू thainkyū
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 nahīn
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 kahan hai?
Where is the toilet? शौचालय कहाँ है? śaucālay kahan hai?
Good!, really?, nice, etc. अच्छा accha
Just one minute एक मिनट ek minaṭ

Forms of Address

English Hindi Transliteration
Ji (q.v. ut supra) जी
Mr. मिस्टर misṭar
Mrs. मिसेज़ misez
Mr. श्री śrī
Mrs. श्रीमती śrīmatī
Mr. (Sikh, ਸਰਦਾਰ) सरदार sardār
Mrs. (Sikh, ਸਰਦਾਰਨੀ) सरदारनी sardārnī
Sir महोदय mahodaya
Dr. डॉक्टर ḍākṭar

Interrogatives

English Hindi Transliteration
how/of what kind? कैसा? kaisa
how much/many? कितना/कितने? kitna/kitne
what? क्या? kyā?
when? कब? kab?
where? कहाँ? kahān?
who? कौन? kaun?
which? कौनसा? kaunsa?
why? क्यों? kyon?

Numbers

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.

Roman Devanagari
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9




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.


Numeral Hindi Transliteration Numeral Hindi Transliteration Numeral Hindi Transliteration Numeral Hindi Transliteration
0 शून्य shUnya, bi.ndi 25 पच्चीस paccīs 50 पचास pacās 75 पचहत्तर pachattar
1 एक ek 26 छब्बीस chabbīs 51 इक्यावन ikyāvan 76 छिहत्तर chihattar
2 दो do 27 सत्ताईस satāīs 52 बावन bāvan 77 सतहत्तर sathattar
3 तीन tīn 28 अट्ठाईस aṭṭhāīs 53 तिरपन tirpan 78 अठहत्तर aṭhhattar
4 चार chār 29 उनतीस untīs 54 चौवन cauvan 79 उन्यासी unyāsī
5 पांच pānc 30 तीस tīs 55 पचपन pacpan 80 अस्सी assī
6 छह, छै, छः cheh, chai, cheḥ 31 इकत्तीस ikttīs 56 छप्पन chappan 81 इक्यासी ikyāsī
7 सात sāt 32 बत्तीस battīs 57 सत्तावन sattāvan 82 बयासी bayāsī
8 आठ āṭh 33 तैंतीस taintīs 58 अट्ठावन aṭṭhāvan 83 तिरासी tirāsī
9 नौ nau 34 चौंतीस cauntīs 59 उनसठ unsaṭh 84 चौरासी caurāsī
10 दस das 35 पैंतीस paintīs 60 साठ sāṭh 85 पचासी pacāsī
11 ग्यारह gyāreh 36 छत्तीस chattīs 61 इकसठ iksaṭh 86 छियासी chiyāsī
12 बारह bareh 37 सआंतीस saintīs 62 बासठ bāsaṭh 87 सात्तासी sattāsī
13 तेरह tereh 38 अड़तीस aṛtīs 63 तिरसठ tirsaṭh 88 अट्ठासी aṭṭhāsī
14 चौदह caudeh 39 उनतालीस untālīs 64 चौंसठ cainsaṭh 89 नवासी navāsī
15 पंद्रह pandreh 40 चालीस cālīs 65 पैंसठ painsaṭh 90 नब्बे nabbe
16 सोलह soleh 41 इकतालीस iktālīs 66 छियासठ chiyāsaṭh 91 इक्यानवे ikyānave
17 सत्रह satreh 42 बयालीस bayālīs 67 सरसठ sarsaṭh 92 बानावे bānave
18 अठारह aṭhāreh 43 तैंतालीस taintālīs 68 अड़सठ aṛsaṭh 93 तिरानवे tirānave
19 उन्नीस unnīs 44 चवालीस cavālīs 69 उनत्तहर unhattar 94 चौरानवे caurānave
20 बीस bīs 45 पैंतालीस paintālīs 70 सत्तर sattar 95 पचानवे pacānave
21 इक्कीस ikkīs 46 छियालीस chiyālīs 71 इकहत्तर ikhattar 96 छियानवे chiyānave
22 बाईस bāīs 47 सैंतालीस saintālīs 72 बहत्तर behattar 97 सत्तानवे sattānave
23 तेईस teīs 48 अड़तालीस aṛtālīs 73 तिहत्तर tihattar 98 अट्ठानवे aṭṭhānave
24 चौबीस caubīs 49 उनचास uncās 74 च्हत्तर cauhattar 99 निन्यानवे ninyānave


Numeral Hindi Transliteration
100 सौ sau
200 दो सौ do sau
300 तीन सौ tīn sau
1000 हज़ार hazār
2000 दो हज़ार do hazār
3000 तीन हज़ार tīn hazār
1,00,000 लाख lākh
1,00,00,000 करोड़ karoṛ
1,00,00,00,000 अरब arab
1,00,00,00,00,000 ? kharab
number _____ (train, bus, etc.) नबंर _____ ट्रेन, बस, ... nambar _____ ṭren, bas, ...
1 half आधा ādhā
less कम/थोड़ा kam/thoṛa
more अधिक/ज्यादा adhika/jyada

Time

English Hindi Transliteration
now अब, अभी ab, abhī
later बाद में, फिर bād men, phir
before पहले pehle
morning सुबह, सवेरा subeh, savera(early morn.)
afternoon दोपहर dopehar; sa pehar
evening शाम shām
night रात rāt


Clock time

English Hindi Transliteration
one o'clock AM रात में एक बजे rāt men ek baje
two o'clock AM रात में दो बजे rāt men do baje
noon दोपहर dopehar
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

Duration

English Hindi Transliteration
minute मिनट minaṭ
hour घंटा ghanṭa
day दिन din
week हफ़्ता hafta
month महीना mahīna
year साल sāl

Days

English Hindi Transliteration
Today आज āj
Yesterday/Tomorrow (depends on context/tense) कल … kal
Day after tomorrow/day before yesterday परसों parson
Week हफ़्ता hafta
This week इस हफ़्ते is hafte
Last week पिछले हफ़्ते pichle hafte
Next week अगले हफ़्ते agle hafte
Two weeks दो हफ़्ते do hafte
Month महीना mahīna


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. Þorsdagr, 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.

Day Hindi Transliteration
Sunday इतवार/रवि‍वार itvār, ravivār (Sun)
Monday सोमवार somvār (Moon); pīr
Tuesday मंगलवार/मंगल mangalvār (Mars); mangal
Wednesday बुधवार/बुध budhvār (Mercury); budh
Thursday गुरुवार/बृहस्पितवार guruvār (Jupiter)/brihaspativār
Friday शुक्रवार śukravār (Venus)
Saturday शनि‍वार śanivār (Saturn)

Months

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.

Gregorian Calendar
Name Hindi Transliteration
January जनवरी janvarī
February फ़रवरी farvarī
March मार्च mārc
April अप्रैल aprail
May मई maī
June जून jūn
July जुलाई julāī
August अगस्त agast
September सितम्बर sitambar
October अक्तूबर aktūbar
November नवम्बर navambar
December दिसम्बर disambar
Hindu Calendar

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)
Asāṛh असाढ़ ? (June-July)
Sāvan सावन 31 (July-August)
Bhādon भादों 31 (August-September)
Kvār क्वार 30 (September-October)
Kātik कातिक 30 (October-November)
Aghan अगहन 30 (November-December)
Pūs पूस 30 (December-January)
Māgh माघ 30 (January-February)
Phagun फागुन 30 (February-March)
Malmās मलमास ? ?

Writing the time and date

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."

Colors

Color Hindi Transliteration
color रंग rang
colorful रंगबिरंगी bahut bahAna, rangabirangī
colorless बेरंग berang
black काला kālā
white सफ़ेद safed/shwet
red लाल lāl
pink, rosy गुलाबी gulābī
orange नारंगी nārangī
saffron केसिरया kesirayā
yellow पीला peela
green हरा harā
blue नीला neelā
turquoise फ़िरोज़ी firozī
purple बैंगनी, जाम्नी bainganī, jāmnī
brown भूरा bhūrā
gray स्लेटी sleṭī
golden सुनहरा sunaharā
silver चांदी chāndhī (also the metal)
shiny चमकीला chamkeelā
deep, dark गहरा gaharā
pale, light हल्का halkā

Transportation

Travel Vocabulary

English Hindi Transliteration
Train ट्रेन, रेलगाड़ी ṭren, relgāṛī
Train Station स्टेशन sṭeśan
Bus बस bas; baṛī
Bus Station बस का अड्डा bas ka aḍḍa
Bus Stop बस स्टाप bas sṭāp
Rickshaw रिक्शा rickśa
Auto Rickshaw आटो āṭo
Taxi टैक्सी ṭaiksī
Car गाड़ी, कार gāṛī, kār
Airplane हवाई जवाज़ havāī jahāz
Airport हवाई अड्डा havāī adda

Bus and Train

How much is a ticket to _____ ? 
_____ जाने की टिकट कितने की है? _____ jaane ki ticket kitne ki hai?
One ticket to _____ 
एक _____ की टिकट दीजिये. Ek _____ ki ticket dijiye.
Where does this train go? 
ये ट्रेन किधर जाती है? Yeh train kidhar jaati hai?
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
क्या ये ट्रेन/बस _____ पर रुकती है? Kya yeh train/bus _____ par rukti hai?
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
_____ की ट्रेन/बस कब निकलेगी? _____ ki train/bus kab niklegi?
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
ये ट्रेन/बस _____ कब पहुँचेगी? Yeh train/bus _____ kab pahuchegi?

Directions

How do I get to _____ ? 
____ tak kaise jaoON?
____the train station? 
रेलवे स्टेशन_____? — railway station
____the bus station? 
बस अड्डे____? — bas aḍḍa...?
____the airport? 
हवाई अड्डे____? — اڈّا...؟ —
____Town square? 
चौक____? — chowk
____Hotel? 
_____ होटल...? — hotel
Where can I find (some)____
(कुछ) ____ कहाँ मिलेंगे? — (kuch) ... kidharai? (?)
____hotels? 
होटलें____ — hotelEIN
____restaurants? 
रेस्ट्राँ____? — restRON
____bars? 
शराब ख़ाने...? — sharaab khaNE
____sites to see? 
...dekhne layek jaghain*? (...)
Can you show me on the map? 
मुझे नक़्शे में दिखा दीजिये — mujhe nakSHE mEIN dikhaa deejiYE
Can you tell me the way to _____? 
मुझे _____ का रास्ता बताइए? — — muJHE _____ kaa rasta bataIYE
street 
सड़क — saDak
path 
रास्ता — raastaa
Turn left. 
बायीं तरफ़ मुड़िये — bāyīn muDiye
Turn right. 
दाहिनी तरफ़ मुड़िये — dāhinī muDiye
right 
दाहिना — dāhina
left 
बायाँ — bāyā
straight ahead 
सीधे — sīdhe
towards the _____ 
_____ की ओर — _____ kee OR
past the _____ 
_____ के अगले — _____ ke agle
before the _____ 
_____ के पिछले — _____ ke piCHHle
Watch for the _____. 
_____ देखो — _____ dekho
intersection 
चौराहा — chOWraahaa
north 
उत्तर — uttar
south 
दक्षिण — dakshin
east 
पूर्व — pūrv
west 
पश्चिम — paścim
uphill 
चढ़ाई — chaDHai

Taxi

Taxi! 
टैकसी — taiksi
Take me to _____, please 
_____ जाना है — ____jaanaa hAI
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
____ जाने को कितना लगता है? — ____ jaane ko kitnaa lagtaa hAI

Lodging

Do you have any rooms available? 
Kamra Kirayi pe milega? (...)
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
Ek/Do admi ka kitna lagega? (...)
Does the room come with... 
Room mein ---- hain kya? (...)
...bedsheets? 
...bedsheets? (chaddar hai loI)
...a bathroom? 
...a bathroom? (snaanaghara)
...a telephone? 
...a telephone? (teliphone)
...a TV? 
...a TV? (teevee)
May I see the room first? 
May I see the room first? (phele,kumra dekh lun? )
Do you have anything quieter? 
Do you have anything quieter? (apkai pas aur chupchap/shA.nta/sthira he?)
...bigger? 
...bigger? (Aur Barrha)
...cleaner? 
...cleaner? (Aur Saaf)
...cheaper? 
...cheaper? (Aur Susta)
OK, I'll take it. 
OK, I'll take it. (Theek hai, laileinge)
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
I will stay for _____ night(s). (____raath rahengei)
Can you suggest another hotel? 
Can you suggest another hotel? (Aur koi hotel batadijeeai)
Do you have a safe? 
Do you have a safe? (surakShita sthAna hoga?)
...lockers? 
...lockers? (sharAna sthAna)
Is breakfast/supper included? 
Is breakfast/supper included? (jalapAna/raathka bhojana-byAlu dhArana he?)
What time is breakfast/supper? 
What time is breakfast/supper? (kaleva/byAlu kis samaya he?)
Please clean my room. 
Please clean my room. (kamra saaf kurlo.)
Can you wake me at _____? | Can you wake me at _____? (____time pe jugana)
I want to check out. 
I want to check out. (mainai nikalna he)

Money

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? (American/australian/canadian doelur mAnthai/svIkara karthai he?)
Do you accept British pounds? 
Do you accept British pounds? (British pound svIkara karthaihe?)
Do you accept credit cards? 
Do you accept credit cards? (CreditKaard svIkara karthaihe?)
Can you change money for me? 
Can you change money for me? (rupaya parivartna karthaihe?)
Where can I get money changed? 
Where can I get money changed? (paisa parivartna kidhar karloo?)
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
Can you change a traveler's check for me? (traveler check parivartna kurlaiga?)
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? (traveler check kiddhar parivartna karoo)
What is the exchange rate? 
What is the exchange rate? (parivartna ka bHaoon kitnae?)
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? (AeTeeEmm kiddhare?)

Eating

A table for one person/two people, (please). 
एक/दो लोग/-ओं के लिये जगह चाहिये — ek/do log/-on ke liye jagah cāhiye
Can I look at the menu, please? 
मेणयू कर्ड दीजिये — menyoo kard diijiyeh
Can I look in the kitchen? 
Can I look in the kitchen? (kya mai kitchen ke andar dekh sakta hoon)
Is there a house specialty? 
Is there a house specialty? (iis hotel ka special kya hai)
Is there a local specialty? 
Is there a local specialty? (iis jaga ka special kya hai)
I'm a vegetarian. 
मैं शाकाहारी हूँ — main śākāhārī
I don't eat pork. 
मैं सुअर का मांस नहीं खाता/-ती — main suar ka māns nahīn khāta/-ī
I don't eat beef. 
मैं गाय का मांस नहीं खाता/-ती — main gāy (gā‘ī) māns nahīn khāta
I only eat kosher/halal food. 
मैं सिर्फ़ कोशर/हलाल खाना खाता — main sirf kośar/halāl khāna khāta (?)
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard
Can you make it "lite", please? (kum tail mey mil sakta hai)
fixed-price meal 
एक दाम का खाना — ek dām ka khāna (?)
à la carte 
आ-ला कार्ट — ā-lā kārṭ
breakfast 
नाश्ता — jalapAna
lunch 
दोपहर का खाना — dopehar ka khāna; sa-pehar ka khāna
tea (meal
शाम का खाना — sa.ndhya ka khāna
dinner 
रात का खाना — rāt ka khāna
I want _____. 
मैं _____ चाहिये — mujhe _____ cāhiye
I want a dish containing _____. 
मैं _____ का खाना चाहिये — — mujhe _____ ka khāna cāhiye (?)
meat 
मांस — māns
chicken 
मुर्ग़ — chi.nganA, murgi
beef 
गाय का मांस — gāy ka māns
fish 
मछली — machlī
lamb 
भेड़ का मांस — bheṛ ka māns/mutton
cheese 
पनीर — panīr, chIja
eggs 
अंडा — anḍa
lentils 
दाल — dāl
(fresh) vegetables 
(ताज़ा) सब्ज़ी — tarakAri, bhAji
(fresh) fruits 
(ताज़ा) फल — pHal
bread 
रोटी, नान, पराँठा... — roṭī, parānṭha...
rice 
चावल — cāval
sweetmeats 
लड्डू — laḍḍū
samosa : समोसा — samosa
spice(s) 
मसाला — mirchi
chutney 
चटनी — caṭnī
curry 
सालन, कढ़ी — sālan, kaṛhī (< Tamil கறி)
ghee (clarified butter) 
घी — ghī
May I have a glass/cup/bottle of _____? 
मेरे लिये एक ग्लास/प्याला/बोतल _____ लाना — ميرے ﻟﺌﮯ mere liye ek glās/pyāla/boṭal _____ lāna
coffee 
काफ़ी — kāfī
tea 
चाय — cāy (i.e. chai)
juice 
रस — ras
water 
पानी, जल — pānī, jal
carbonated water 
सोडा — soḍa
milk 
दूध — dūdh
lassi (yoghurt drink) 
लस्सी — lassī
sweet, salty, mango (lassi)
मीठा, नमकी, आम — mīṭha, namakī, ām
cool drink (Indian Eng. 'soda, cola, etc.'
ठंडी/सौफ़्ट ड्रिंक — ţhanḍī/saufṭ ḍrink
soft drink (attn- in S. Asia this means a sherbet drink, not cola!
शरबत — śarbat
alcohol 
शराब — sharāb
beer 
बियर — biyar
red/white wine 
(लाल/साफ़ेद) मिदरा, वाइन — — madira (< Port. Madeira), vāin
Whisky 
ह्विस्की, स्काच — hviskī/wiskī, skāc
May I have some _____? 
May I have some _____? (muje kuch _____ milega)
salt 
नमक — namak
black pepper 
काली मिर्च — kālī mirc
chile 
मिर्च — mirc
butter 
मक्खन — makkhan
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
बैरा!, वेटर! — baira!, veṭar!
I'm finished. 
मैं ख़तम है — main khatam hai (?)
It was delicious. 
बढ़िया — بڑهيا — baṛhiya
Please clear the plates. 
प्लेटें लीजिये — pleten lījiye
The check, please. 
बिल/चेक लाइये — bil/cek lāiye

Bars

Do you serve alcohol? 
Do you serve alcohol? (kya aap shaarab bechte hain)
Is there table service? 
Is there table service? (kya table service mil sakti hai)
A beer/two beers, please. 
A beer/two beers, please. (krupaya ek beer/do beers de)
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
A glass of red/white wine, please. (ek glass lal/safed wine)
A pint, please. 
A pint, please. (ek bottle dena)
A bottle, please. 
A bottle, please. (ek bottle dena)
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
_____ and _____, please. (...)
whiskey 
whiskey (whiskey/daru)
vodka 
vodka (...)
rum 
rum (...)
water 
पानी (pānī)
club soda 
club soda (soda)
tonic water 
tonic water (...)
orange juice 
orange juice (...)
Coke (soda
Coke (Coke)
Do you have any bar snacks? 
Do you have any bar snacks? (kuch khane ke liye hai)
One more, please. 
One more, please. (ek aur)
Another round, please. 
Another round, please. (ek aur round milega)
When is closing time? 
When is closing time? (kab tak khula hai(what time is bar open till)/ bar band kab hota haiWhen is closing time?)

Shopping

Do you have this in my size? 
Do you have this in my size? (...) mere saiz ka milegaa?
How much is this? 
How much is this? (...) iska kitna hoga?
That's too expensive. 
That's too expensive. (...) bahut mehnga hai
Would you take _____? 
Would you take _____? (...) kya aap _____ lena chahege?
expensive 
महंगा mehnga
cheap 
सस्ता sastā
I can't afford it. 
I can't afford it. (...) main nahi le sakta
I don't want it. 
I don't want it. (...) mujhe nahi chahiye
You're cheating me. 
You're cheating me. (...) tu mujhe fassa rahe hoo
I'm not interested. 
I'm not interested. (..) mujhe shauk nahi hai
OK, I'll take it. 
OK, I'll take it. (...) theek hai, main le letā hoon
Can I have a bag? 
Can I have a bag? (...) kyā āp mujhe thaili dege
Do you ship (overseas)? 
Do you ship (overseas)? (...) parcel kar sakthe hoo
I need... 
मुझे ...चाहिये — mujhe ... cāhiye
...toothpaste. 
(दँत) मंजन... — (dant) manjan
...a toothbrush. 
टूथ ब्रश... — tūth braś
...tampons. 
टैम्पोन... — ṭaimpon
...soap. 
साबुन... — sābun
...shampoo. 
शैंपू... — śaimpū
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
दर्द की दवा/"ऐस्प्रिन"... — dard kī dawā
...cold medicine. 
खाँसी की दवा... — khānsī kī dawā
...stomach medicine. 
दस्तावर... — pet ki dawa / dastāvar
...a razor. 
रेज़र/उस्तरा... — rezar, ustara
...an umbrella. 
छाता... — chātā
...sunblock lotion. 
...sunblock lotion. (...)
...a postcard. 
पोस्ट कार्ड... — posṭ kārḍ
...postage stamp. 
डाक शुल्क/महसूल... — ḍāk tikat/sṭaimp
...batteries. 
बैट्री... — baiṭrī
...writing paper. 
काग़ज़... — kāgaz
...a pen. 
क़लम... — kalam
...a pencil 
पेन्सिल... — pensil
...an English-language book. 
अंग्रेज़ी की किताब... — angrezī kī kitāb/pothI
... an English-language magazine. 
अंग्रेज़ी की पत्रिका... — angrezī ka/kī patrika/risālah/maigazīn
...an English-language newspaper. 
अंगरेज़ी का अख़बार... — angrezī kā akhbār; ...an English-Hindi dictionary. : अंग्रेज़ी-हिन्दी कोश... — angrezī-hindī koś

Driving

I want to rent a car. 
मुझे कार किराया चाहिये — mujhe kār kirāya par cāhiye
Can I get insurance? 
मुझे बीमा का कार सकता है? — mera insurance ho sakta (-ī) hai? (?)
gas (petrol) station 
पेट्रोल पंप — peṭrol pamp
petrol 
पेट्रोल — peṭrol
diesel 
डीज़ल — ḍīzal

Note: Indian Traffic Signs are much like those in Europe. Words are written in English and sometimes the regional language.

Problems

Leave me alone. 
(mujhe akela chhod do)
Don't touch me! 
मुझे मत छूओ । (mujhe chunā mat / mujhe mat chuo)
I'll call the police. 
I'll call the police. पोलीस को बुलाता हूं । (police ko bulaaoonga main)
Police! 
पोलीस ! पोलीस ! (police ! police !)
Stop! Thief! 
रुको ! चोर ! (rukho! chor!)
I need your help. 
मुझे अपकी सहायता चाहिये । (mujhe āpki sahayta chahie)
It's an emergency. 
मुसीबत है । (samasya hai)
I'm lost. 
मैं रास्ता भूल गया । (main rasta bhul gaya)
I lost my bag. 
मेरा बैग गुम हो गया । (mera bag alage ho gaya)
I lost my wallet. 
मेरा पर्स गुम हो गया । (mera purse ghoom ho gaya)
I'm sick. 
मेरी तबियत ठीक नहीं है । (meri tabhiyet tikh nai hei)
I've been injured. 
मुझे चोट लगी है । (mujhko chot lagi hai)
I need a doctor. 
मुझे डॉक्टर चाहिये । (mujhko doctor chahie)
Can I use your phone? 
फ़ोन कर सकता हूं ? (phone kar sakta hoon main ?)

Authority

I haven't done anything wrong. 
I haven't done anything wrong. (.maine kuch galat nahi kiya..)
It was a misunderstanding. 
It was a misunderstanding. (.Woh ek bhool thi..)
Where are you taking me? 
Where are you taking me? (.Aap mujhe kahan le ja rahe hain?..)
Am I under arrest? 
Am I under arrest? (.Kya mein giraftaar ho raha hoon?..)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. (.Mein America/Australia/Britain/Canada ka nagrik hoon..)
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate. 
I need to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate. (.Mujhe America/ Australia/Britain/Canada ke rajdoot se sampark karna hai..)
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
I want to talk to a lawyer. (.Mujhe apne vakil se baat karin hai..)
Can I just pay a fine now? 
Can I just pay a fine now? (.Kya mein jurmaana abhi de sakta hoon?..)

Learning more

Books

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.


  • Lonely Planet Hindi & Urdu Phrasebook by Richard Delacy (Lonely Planet Publications). ISBN: 0864424256. Excellent. Rare, in that both Hindi Devanagari and Urdu Naskh are en face. Also includes glossary and cultural notes, etc. Highly recommended for travellers, and a great auxiliary source for students.
  • Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script by Rupert Snell (McGraw-Hill). ISBN: 0071419845. - An entertaining and easy to use introduction to Devanagari.
  • Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi by Rupert Snell (McGraw-Hill). ISBN: 0071424369. If you've never studied a language before or are a younger student this book might be where to start. Otherwise, don't waste your money and get the Complete Course instead.
  • Teach Yourself Hindi Complete Course by Rupert Snell with Simon Weightman (McGraw-Hill). ISBN: 0071420126. By far this book is the most popular, and the usual starting point for those interested in learning Hindi. It is highly recommended that you purchase this with accompanying CD's (they are not available separately).
  • Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary by Rupert Snell (McGraw-Hill). ISBN: 0071435034. Companion to his other books in the Teach Yourself series. For Beginners, or younger students. Is not a complete dictionary in any sense of the word.
  • Introduction to Hindi Grammar by Usha R. Jain (IAS Publishers). ISBN: 094461325X. Usha R. Jain's books, which she wrote for her Hindi class at the University of California at Berkeley are more straightforward and easier to use than Snell. Her books are preferred by Hindi professors and private teachers alike throughout North America and Europe. Available with a set of accompanying CD's.
  • Intermediate Hindi Reader by Usha R Jain (IAS Publishers). ASIN: B000739HIG. 21 readings with serial glossaries to improve the student's comprehension of Hindi and expand vocabulary. Available with accompanying CD's and/or multimedia CD-Rom.
  • A Primer of Modern Standard Hindi by Michael C. Shapiro (Motilal Banarsidass Publishers). ISBN: 8120804759. An academic approach, by an eminent scholar of South Asia. Focuses more on written than conversational Hindi.
  • Say It in Hindi by Veena T. Oldenburg (Dover Publications). ISBN: 0486239594. If Delacy's book lacked anything, you may find it here. Mostly due to the fact that the book focuses on Hindi only. One major flaw is that the book uses an archaic Devanagari font, which may prove difficult to some readers. Worth taking a look at, but as a supplement to other books.
  • Colloquial Hindi: A Complete Language Course by Tej K. Bhatia (Routledge). ISBN: 0415110874. Takes a different approach to teaching the language. Is more sympathetic to the average learner and doesn't go warp speed like Snell and Weightman's Teach Yourself Hindi. However; the biggest flaw is the minimal attention given to Devanagari, and the transliteration is not standard - may be more confusing than necessary to those already comfortable with the conventional style. Perhaps the best feature are the accompanying CD's.

Dictionaries

  • The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary by R. S. McGregor (Oxford University Press). ISBN: 019864339X. Essential for the student.
  • Oxford English-Hindi Dictionary by S. K. Verma (Laurier Books Ltd). ISBN: 0195648196. Common companion to R.S. McGregor's dictionary, but somewhat lacking compared with the former.
  • The Modern English Hindi-Dictionary by I. N. Anand (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers). ISBN: 8121504619. Though designed for Indians translating English, this is also a great tool for students. Includes modern and technical terms.
  • English-Hindi Dictionary by Father Camille Bulcke (French & European Publications). ISBN: 0828811318. Recommended by many professors for their students.

Audio

  • Hindi by Pimsleur (Pimsleur). ISBN: 0743506251. Great for the auditory learner of for listening to in the car. Helps immerse listener into the sounds of Hindi and developing listening skills. Good overall introduction to the language, but be aware that many of the phrases are much too formal to use in common, everyday speech.
  • Teach Yourself Hindi Conversation by Rupert Snell (McGraw-Hil). ISBN: 0071456554. Focus on spoken Hindi. Includes small reference book.
  • Spoken Hindi by Surendra K. Gambhir (Audio-Forum). ISBN: 0884326993. Includes book.

Software

  • Rosetta Stone Hindi Personal Edition Level 1 (CD-Rom). Both Mac and PC.
This is a usable phrasebook. It explains pronunciation and the bare essentials of travel communication. An adventurous person could use it to get by, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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