Sanskrit 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.
Most English speakers find Sanskrit 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: for most of its speakers, Sanskrit is not a mother tongue, and many native speakers are quite used to regional accents and mangling in various degrees.
The key distinction is the difference between short and long vowels. In this phrase book, long vowels are noted with a macron (ā), which short vowels are listed without one. You will often come across non-standard romanizations, noted in parentheses below when applicable.
as in about
as in father
as in sit
as in elite
as in put
as in flute
as in Scottish heard, trip.
long e as in German "zehn". It is not a diphthong; the tone does not fall.
as in Mail, sometimes a longer ए. In Eastern dialects as in bright (IPA ıj).
as in German Kohle, not a diphthong; tone does not fall.
as in oxford. In Eastern dialects as in German lauft, or English 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.
as in skip.
as in sinkhole.
as in go.
as in doghouse.
as in sing. Used only in Sanskrit loan words, does not occur independently.
as in church.
as in pinchhit.
as in jump.
as in dodge her.
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.
does not exist in English. more dental t, with a bit of a th sound. Softer than an English t.
aspirated version of the previous letter, not as in thanks or the.
aspirated version of the above.
as in spin.
as in uphill.
as in be.
as in abhor.
as in mere.
as in yet.
as in Spanish pero, a tongue trip. Don't roll as in Spanish rr, German or Scottish English.
as in lean.
as in Spanish vaca, between English v and w, but without the lip rounding of an English w. (IPA: ʋ).
as in shoot.
almost indistinguishable retroflex of the above. slightly more aspirated. Used only in Sanskrit loan words.
as in see.
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.
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 (British speakers must be aware of this especially: their tone sounds extreme to German ears, and in turn, even German sounds extreme to Hindi speakers, 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
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 can be described as the "aloha" of India, as it is used both for Hello and Goodbye. 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 (ਪੰਜਾਬੀ) is the language of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Scripture. A longer, more formal greeting used exclusively between Sikhs is the greeting proscribed by Sri Guru Gobind Singh (the 10th and final Guru of Sikhism): vāhegurū jī ka khālsa, vāhegurū jī fateh from the Punjabi ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਖਾਲਸਾ, ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਿਤਹ, meaning "(The) Khalsa (a 'baptized' Sikh) belongs to God and to God alone belongs Victory." 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 meant 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:
verb - to come (आना āna) + vāla = (the) ... is coming (... आनेवाला है ... ānavāla 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 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)
Hello/Goodbye (Hindu, respectful)
Hello/Goodbye (Hindu, colloquial)
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
How are you?
आप कैसे/कैसी हैं?
āp kaise/kaisī hain?
How are you?
आप ख़ैरियत से है?
āp khairiyat se hain?
I am fine
मैं ठीक हूँ
main ṭhīk hūn
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).
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
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
Thank you very much
बहुत बहुत ...
bahut bahut ...
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)
Pardon me/I'm sorry
Where is the toilet?
टॉयलेट कहाँ है?
ṭāyaleṭ kahan hai?
Where is the toilet?
शौचालय कहाँ है?
śaucālay kahan hai?
Good!, really?, nice, etc.
Just one minute
Forms of Address
Mr. (Sikh, ਸਰਦਾਰ)
Mrs. (Sikh, ਸਰਦਾਰਨੀ)
how/of what kind?
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.
छह, छै, छः
cheh, chai, cheḥ
number _____ (train, bus, etc.)
नबंर _____ ट्रेन, बस, ...
nambar _____ ṭren, bas, ...
बाद में, फिर
bād men, phir
subeh, savera(early morn.)
dopehar; sa pehar
one o'clock AM
रात में एक बजे
rāt men ek baje
two o'clock AM
रात में दो बजे
rāt men do baje
one o'clock PM
दोपहर एक बजे
dopehar ek baje
two o'clock PM
दोपहर दो बजे
dopehar do baje
Yesterday/Tomorrow (depends on context/tense)
Day after tomorrow/yesterday
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 = Śhani'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, meaning day, time, or period is often dropped colloquially.
itvār, ravivār (Sun)
somvār (Moon); pīr
mangalvār (Mars); mangal
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) 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.
№ of Days
(March - April)
(April - May)
(May - June)
Writing Time and Date
Give some examples how to write clock times and dates if it differs from English.
The time's are written exactly as in English , that is hours followed by minutes.
12:45am will thus be दोपहर के 12 बजकर पैंतालीस मिनट , note that बजकर would indicate something like O'Clock in English . मिनट is just a literal translation of Minutes.
bahut bahAna, rangabirangī
cāndī (also the metal)
बस का अड्डा
bas ka aḍḍa
Bus and Train
How much is a ticket to ... ?
_____ जाने का टिकट कितना है? _____ jaane ka ticket kitna hai?
One ticket to ...
एक टिकट की ... दीजिये : Ek ticket ki ... dijiye
Where does this train go?
रेलगाड़ी किधर जाती है? : RailgaRi kidhar jaathi hai?
Where is the train/bus to _____?
; Where is the train/bus to _____? : ("yah treen kidhar ka?")
Does this train/bus stop in _____?
Does this train/bus stop in _____? (_____rukthai?)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave?
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? (_____ ki train/bus kab/kis samay nikalegi?)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____?
When will this bus arrive in _____? (Treen ____ kab phoncthai?)
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 de)
A bottle, please.
A bottle, please. (ek bottle de)
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please.
_____ and _____, please. (...)
club soda (...)
tonic water (...)
orange juice (...)
Do you have any bar snacks?
Do you have any bar snacks? (...)
One more, please.
One more, please. (...)
Another round, please.
Another round, please. (...)
When is closing time?
When is closing time? (...)
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 (...) mehnga
cheap (...) 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
मुझे ...चाहिये — mujhe ... cāhiye
(दँत) मंजन... — (dant) manjan
टूथ ब्रश... — tūth braś
टैम्पोन... — ṭaimpon
साबुन... — sābun
शैंपू... — śaimpū
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen)
दर्द की दवा/"ऐस्प्रिन"... — dard kī dawā
खाँसी की दवा... — khānsī kī dawā
दस्तावर... — dastāvar
रेज़र/उस्तरा... — rezar, ustara
छाता... — chātā
...sunblock lotion. (...)
पोस्ट कार्ड... — posṭ kārḍ
डाक शुल्क/महसूल... — ḍāk mehsūl/sṭaimp
बैट्री... — baiṭrī
काग़ज़... — kāgaz
क़लम... — kalam
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
I want to rent a car.
मुझे कार किराया चाहिये — mujhe kār kirāya cāhiye
Can I get insurance?
मुझे बीमा का कार सकता है? — mujhe insurance ka kār sakta (-ī) hai? (?)
gas (petrol) station
पेट्रोल पंप — peṭrol pamp
पेट्रोल — peṭrol
डीज़ल — ḍīzal
Note: Indian Traffic Signs are much like those in Europe. Words are written in English and sometimes the regional language.
Leave me alone.
मुझे अकेला छोड़ दो । (mujhe akela chod 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 bulata hum)
पोलीस ! पोलीस ! (police ! police !)
रुको ! चोर ! (rukho! chor!)
I need your help.
मुझे अपकी सहायता चाहिये । (mujhe āpki sahayta chahie)
It's an emergency.
मुसीबत है । (samasya hai)
मैं रास्ता भूल गया । (me 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 alag ho gaya)
मुझे बुख़ार है । (mujhe bhukaar hai)
I've been injured.
मुझे चोट लगी है । (mucheko chot lagi hai)
I need a doctor.
मुझे डॉक्टर चाहिये । (mucheko doctor chahie)
Can I use your phone?
फ़ोन कर सकता हूं ? (phone kar sakta hum ?)
I haven't done anything wrong.
I haven't done anything wrong. (.maine kuch galath nahi kia..)
It was a misunderstanding.
It was a misunderstanding. (.Woh 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?..)
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.
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.
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.
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!