Friday, January 20, 2006

Hindi

Given India's history, I expected English to be more widely spoken. While it is generally possible to get by with English in large cities/tourist areas, fluency in English varies greatly depending on education, age and region.

In addition to the 22 official languages, hundreds of languages/dialects are spoken in the country. Ideally, learn a few words of the local language before travelling to India. If you are travelling across the country, Hindi is your best pick as it is the most widely spoken language (but avoid using Hindi in states like Tamil Nadu where it might be met with hostility).




Hindi is the native tongue of the people from the "Hindi Belt" in Northern India. Native speakers of Hindi dialects account for 41% of the Indian population (2001 Indian census). Many more speak it as a second language.

A Hindi phrasebook can be found here. In addition learn about non verbal communication in India here.

5 comments:

puce said...

what abt chinese? giving up? Elise, I know you are smart but learning chinese/hindi is quite difficult. focus on one of them!

erasmus-in-india said...

mai hindi ki chatra hu ;)

Sahasi said...

Hello buddy, 350 million people in India speak fluent English, (that is probably more than the total population of several countries put together). When one is in Germany one has to speak German, French in France, Spanish in Mexico, likewise speak Hindi in India.

Sreenidhi said...

Not really sure about this. Hindi might have worked on the IIMB campus and the tea stall wallahs outside who do biz with the IIM students but in Bangalore city... Being a Bangalorean i can categorically state most denizens of my city would speak Hindi as well/badly as you would, try Kannada. In the South English is a better bet than Hindi, i.e. if you can't speak Kannada, Tamil, Telegu or Malyalam in the respective states.

Mayank said...

Ma'am, need to correct your stats... LOL.... India has larger English specking population than even China... I request you to provide a correct picture to your reader....

HOPE YOU WILL HEED ON MY ADVICE....