Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hindi, the second most spoken language

Hindi is the second most spoken language in the world, after Chinese. About 500 million people speak Hindi, in India and abroad, and the total number of people who can understand the language may be 800 million. The constitution of India (Article 343) recognizes Hindi as the official language of India. Hindi is also the main language in many states of India such as Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal/ Uttarakhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh. It is spoken by more than 487 million people in the world. The other dialects of Hindi are Brajbhasha, Bundeli, Awadhi, Marwari, Maithili, and Bhojpuri, to name only a few.

Total speakers  487 million
Official language of  India

India  363,839,000
Bangladesh  346,000
Belize   8, 455
Botswana  2000
Germany  24,500
Nepal   170, 997
New Zealand  11,200
Philippines  2,415
Singapore  5000
South Africa   890, 292
Uganda   147, 000
United Kingdom   243 000
USA  26,253
Yemen   65, 000
Total  487,000,000

Clearly there's only one Hindi language, but as in most countries different sections of the population will have different phrases and use of language. Hindi can be traced back to as early as the seventh or eighth century. The dialect that has been chosen as the official language is Khariboli in the Devnagari script. Other dialects of Hindi are Brajbhasa, Bundeli, Awadhi, Marwari, Maithili and Bhojpuri.

It was in the 10th century that authentic Hindi poetry took its form and since then it has been constantly modified. History of Hindi literature as a whole can be divided into four stages: Adikal (the Early Period), Bhaktikal (the Devotional Period), Ritikal (the Scholastic Period) and Adhunikkal (the Modern Period).

Hindi is an Indo-Aryan language with about 487 million speakers. It is one of the official languages of India and is the main language used in the northern states of Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar, and is spoken in much of north and central India alongside other languages such as Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi or Bengali. In other parts of India, as well as in Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, Hindi is understood. In Fiji people of Indian origin speak Hindi, and in some areas the Fijian people also speak it.

History of the Hindi Language Hindi shares with English and most other European languages the same ancestral roots. They evolved from a language thought to have been spoken in Central Asia around 5,000 BC, called by linguists the Indo-European parent language. For this reason and because of the 200-year influence of the British in India, many basic words in Hindi are the same as or similar to their equivalent in English. English words of Hindi origin include cot, loot, thug, chintz, bandanna, dungaree, rajali, pundit, coolie, tom-tom, and juggernaut.

Hindi first started to be used in writing during the 4th century AD. It was originally written with the Brahmi script but since the 11th century AD it has been written with the Devanāgarī alphabet. The first printed book in Hindi was John Gilchrist's Grammar of the Hindoostanee Language which was published in 1796.

Hindi language has its roots in the classical Sanskrit language. The language acquired its current form over many centuries, and numerous dialectical variations still exist. Like Sanskrit, Hindi is written in the Dev Nagari script, which is common to several other Indian languages as well. Much of the vocabulary of Hindi comes from Sanskrit, though Hindi also has a special relationship with Urdu. Their grammar and much of their vocabulary are virtually identical.

The development of Hindi into a national language had its beginnings in the colonial period, when the British began to cultivate it as a standard among government officials. Later it was used for literary purposes and has since become the vehicle for some excellent prose and poetry.
After independence of India, the Government of India worked on standardizing Hindi.
In 1954, the Government of India set up a Committee for preparing a grammar of Hindi. The committee's report was later released as "A Basic Grammar of Modern Hindi" in 1958.
Hindi became the official language of India on January 26, 1965, although English and 21 other languages are recognized as official languages by the Constitution of India.

Vowels and vowel diacritics



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