Hindi Language & Phrasebook

Several hundreds of languages and dialects can be heard across India. Among them, Hindi is the main language as it is spoken by nearly 70% of the population. Hindi is the main first language in North India (including Rajasthan). Hindi is one of the world’s oldest languages and it is the third most-spoken language in the world after Chinese and English.

Even though English is widely spoken and understood in India, learning a few words of Hindi will get you a long way. Local people will always appreciate any effort you will make to speak a few phrases in their language while you travel to India. The following Hindi phrasebook with audio covers a wide range of topics in daily situations.

Student writing in Hindi language
Students learning Hindi

Hindi phrasebook

Being a foreigner, you don’t need to be fluent in Hindi language. However, learning a few sentences in Hindi language will help you win people's love. It will be very much appreciated when interacting with your hosts. With a few minutes of practice every day for a few weeks before your trip, you will be able to communicate with locals when travelling to India. If you want to learn more, the book Teach Yourself Complete Hindi is highly recommended.

Essential Hindi phrases

Namaste - नमस्ते
Hello

Namaskaar - नमस्कार
Hello

Shukriya - शुक्रिया
Thank you

Dhanyavaad - धन्यवाद
Thank you

Haan - हाँ
Yes

Jee haan - जी हाँ
Yes (said with respect)

Nahin - नहीं
No

Jee nahin - जी नहीं
No (said with respect)

Maaf keejiye - माफ़ कीजिये
Sorry

Krpaya - कृपया
Please

Theek hai - ठीक है
Okay

Achchha - अच्छा
Okay / all right / well / good

Koee baat nahin - कोई बात नहीं
No problem

Phir milenge - फिर मिलेंगे
See you later

Note: “jee” is often used as a prefix or suffix to convey respect. For example, it is common to add “jee” at the end of someone’s name (someone named Prakash would be called Prakash-jee).

Meeting people and introductions

Aap kaise hain / aap kaisee hain? - आप कैसे हैं / आप कैसी हैं?
How are you? (asked to a man / woman)

Main theek hoon - मैं ठीक हूँ
I'm fine

Aap se milakar khushee huee - आप से मिलकर ख़ुशी हुई
It is nice to meet you

Aapaka naam kya hai? - आपका नाम क्या है?
What’s your name?

Mera naam Prakash hai - मेरा नाम प्रकाश है
My name is Prakash

Aap kahaan ke rahane vaale hain? - आप कहाँ के रहने वाले हैं?
Where are you from?

Main Jaipur se hoon - मैं जयपुर से हूँ
I’m from Jaipur

Aapakee umr kya hai? - आपकी उम्र क्या है?
How old are you?

Main … saal ka hoon - मैं … साल का हूँ
I’m … years old

Kya aap shaadeeshuda hain? - क्या आप शादीशुदा हैं?
Are you married?

Yah mera … hai - यह मेरा … है
This is my …

… dost - दोस्त / sahelee - सहेली
… friend (man / woman)

… pati - पति
… husband

… patnee - पत्नी
… wife

… pita - पिता
… father

… maa - मां
… mother

… bhaee - भाई
… brother

… bahan - बहन
… sister

… beta - बेटा
… son

… betee - बेटी
… daughter

Aap kya kaam karate hain? - आप क्या काम करते हैं?
What’s your occupation?

Main ek … hoon - मैं एक … हूँ
I am a …

… shikshak - शिक्षक
… teacher

… chhaatr - छात्र
… student

… kaaryaalay ke karmachaaree - कार्यालय के कर्मचारी
… office worker

Hindi writing in India
Hindi language on boards

Language difficulties

Kya aap angrezee bolate hain? - क्या आप अंग्रेज़ी बोलते हैं?
Do you speak English?

Kya aap samajhe? - क्या आप समझे?
Do you understand?

Mai samajhata hun - मै समझता हुँ
I understand

Mujhe samajh nahin aaya - मुझे समझ नहीं आया
I don’t understand

Main hindee nahin bolata - मैं हिंदी नहीं बोलता
I don’t speak Hindi

Main thodee hindee bolata hoon - मैं थोड़ी हिंदी बोलता हूं
I speak a little bit of Hindi

Kya aap dohara sakate hain? - क्या आप दोहरा सकते हैं?
Could you repeat?

Kya aap dheere baat karenge? - क्या आप धीरे बात करेंगे?
Could you speak slowly?

Kya … matalab hai? - क्या मतलब है?
What does … mean?

Aap kaise kahate hain … hindee mein? - आप कैसे कहते हैं … हिंदी में?
How do you say … in Hindi?

Eating at a Restaurant

Mujhe bhaarateey khaana pasand hai - मुझे भारतीय खाना पसंद है
I love Indian cuisine

Kya aapane khaana kha liya? - क्या आपने खाना खा लिया?
Have you had your meal?

Khaana svaadisht hai - खाना स्वादिष्ट है
The food is delicious

Main shaakaahaaree hoon - मैं शाकाहारी हूँ
I am vegetarian

Main maansaahaaree hoon - मैं मांसाहारी हूँ
I am non-vegetarian

Kya main menoo dekh sakata hoon? - क्या मैं मेनू देख सकता हूँ?
Could I see the menu please?

Kya mujhe thoda paanee mil sakata hai? - क्या मुझे थोड़ा पानी मिल सकता है?
Could I have some water please?

Ek chaay / kofee chaahie - एक चाय / कॉफ़ी चाहिए
One tea / coffee, please

Teekha kam rakhiyega - तीखा कम रखियेगा
Please, make it less spicy

Mujhe aur rotiyaan chaahie - मुझे और रोटियाँ चाहिए
I need more bread

Kya mujhe bill mil sakata hai? - क्या मुझे बिल मिल सकता है?
Could I have the bill please?

Men speaking Hindi
Hindi language in Rajasthan street

Directions and information

Is shahar ka naam kya hai? - इस शहर का नाम क्या है?
What is the name of this city?

Hotal kitanee door hai? - होटल कितनी दूर है?
How far is the hotel?

Baink kahaan hai? - बैंक कहाँ है?
Where is the bank?

Toilet kahaan milega - टॉयलेट कहाँ मिलेगा
Where can I find toilets?

Taj Mahal ka raasta kaun sa hai? - ताज महल का रास्ता कौन सा है?
What is the route to the Taj Mahal?

Daen mudana hai - दाएं मुड़ना है
Turn right

Baen mudana hai - बाएँ मुड़ना है
Turn left

Seedhe chale jaiye - सीधे चले जाइये
Go straight

Yah sadak kahaan jaatee hai? - यह सड़क कहाँ जाती है?
Where does this road go?

Kitane baje hain - कितने बजे हैं
What time is it?

Yah kis samay khulata hai? - यह किस समय खुलता है?
What time does it open?

Yah kitane baje band hotee hai? - यह कितने बजे बंद होती है?
What time does it close?

Main is smaarak ke lie pravesh tikat kahaan se khareed sakata hoon? - मैं इस स्मारक के लिए प्रवेश टिकट कहां से खरीद सकता हूं?
Where can I buy the entrance ticket for this monument?

Kya aap mujhe raasta dikha sakate hain? - क्या आप मुझे रास्ता दिखा सकते हैं?
Could you show me the way?

Mujhe bhaarat desh pasand hai - मुझे भारत देश पसंद है
I like India

Staying at a Hotel

Krpaya mujhe ek kamara book karana hai - कृपया मुझे एक कमरा बुक करना है
I’d like to book a room please

Mainne ek kamara buk kiya hai - मैंने एक कमरा बुक किया है
I have booked a room

Kya aapake paas ek double room hai? - क्या आपके पास एक डबल रूम है?
Do you have a double room?

Main 2 raaton ke lie rukana chaahata hoon - मैं 2 रातों के लिए रुकना चाहता हूं
I’d like to stay for 2 nights

Kya ham credit card dvaara pay kar sakate hain? - क्या हम क्रेडिट कार्ड द्वारा पय कर सकते हैं?
Can I pay by credit card?

Kya internet kaam kar raha hai? क्या इंटरनेट काम कर रहा है?
Is internet working?

AC / TV kaam nahin kar raha hai - एसी / टीवी काम नहीं कर रहा है
The AC / TV doesn’t work

Kya naashta shaamil hai? - क्या नाश्ता शामिल है?
Is the breakfast included?

Naashta kab aur kahaan milata hai - नाश्ता कब और कहाँ मिलता है
When and where is the breakfast served?

Krpaya, mujhe subah 8 baje jaga dena - कृपया, मुझे सुबह 8 बजे जगा देना
Please, wake me up at 8.00 am

Kya mujhe meree chaabee mil sakatee hai? - क्या मुझे मेरी चाबी मिल सकती है?
Could I have my key please?

Kya main apana saamaan yahaan chhod sakata hoon? - क्या मैं अपना सामान यहाँ छोड़ सकता हूँ?
Could I leave my luggage here?

Main shaam 4 baje vaapas aa raha hoon - मैं शाम चार बजे वापस आ रहा हूं
I am coming back at 4.00 pm

Hotal ka pata aur phone number kya hai? - होटल का पता और फोन नंबर क्या है?
What is the hotel address and phone number?

Speaking Hindi at the market
Bargaining in Hindi at a shop in Rajasthan

Shopping and Bargaining

Yah kitane ka hai? - यह कितने का है?
How much is it?

Kya daam hai? - क्या दाम है?
What’s the price?

Yah bahut mahanga hai - यह बहुत महंगा है
This is very expensive

Mujhe yah chaahie - मुझे यह चाहिए
I want this

Mujhe yah nahin chaahie - मुझे यह नहीं चाहिए
I don’t want this

Main … kahaan se khareed sakata hoon? - मैं … कहाँ से खरीद सकता हूं?
Where can I buy … ?

Main … dhoondh raha hoon - मैं … ढूंढ रहा हूं
I am looking for …

In Case of Emergency

Mujhe madad chaahie - मुझे मदद चाहिए
I need help

Meree madad keejie - मेरी मदद कीजिए
Please, help me

Doctor ko bulao - डाक्टर को बुलाओ
Call a doctor

Police ko bulao - पुलिस को बुलाओ
Call the police

Kya main teleephon ka upayog kar sakata hoon? - क्या मैं टेलीफोन का उपयोग कर सकता हूँ?
Could I use the telephone?

Mai beemaar hoon - मै बीमार हूँ
I’m sick

Kya paas mein koee dava kee dukaan hogee? - क्या पास में कोई दवा की दुकान होगी?
Is there a drugstore nearby?

Mera paasaport kho gaya hai - मेरा पासपोर्ट खो गया है
I lost my passport

Krpaya, mere embassy ko kol karen - कृपया, मेरे एम्बेसी को कॉल करें
Please, call my embassy

Discussing in Hindi language
Hindi script on auto rickshaw

Useful Words

Time

Subah - सुबह
Morning

Dopahar - दोपहर
Afternoon

Raat - रात
Night

Samay - समय
Time

Kab - कब
When


Aaj - आज
Today

Kal - कल
Yesterday / tomorrow

Ghanta - घंटा
Hour

Din - दिन
Day

Saptaah - सप्ताह
Week

Maheena - महीना
Month

Saal - साल
Year


Colours

Rang - रंग
Colour

Kaala - काला
Black

Saphed - सफेद
White

Laal - लाल
Red

Neela - नीला
Blue

Hara - हरा
Green

Peela - पीला
Yellow

Gulaabee - गुलाबी
Pink


Places

Mahal - महल
Palace

Shahar - शहर
City

Havaee adda - हवाई अड्डा
Airport

Hotal - होटल
Hotel

Restorent - रेस्टोरेंट
Restautant


Food

Khaana - खाना
Lunch / Dinner / Meal / Food

Naashta - नाश्ता
Breakfast

Paanee - पानी
Water

Chaay - चाय
Tea

Doodh - दूध
Milk

Anda - अंडा
Egg

Phal - फल
Fruit

Sabzee - सब्ज़ी
Vegetable

Rotee - रोटी
Indian bread / Chapati

Chaaval - चावल
Rice

Masala - मसाला
Spices

Chammach - चम्मच
Spoon

Chaakoo - चाकू
Knife

Kaanch - कांच
Glass

Kam - कम
Less

Zyaada - ज़्यादा
More

Bas - बस
Enough

Numbers

0: shoony - शून्य

1: ek - एक

2: do - दो

3: teen - तीन

4: chaar - चार

5: paanch - पांच

6: chhah - छह

7: saat - सात

8: aath - आठ

9: nau - नौ

10: das - दस

20: bees - बीस

30: tees - तीस

40: chaalees - चालीस

50: pachaas - पचास

100: sau - सौ

1000: hazaar - हज़ार

Hindi script and pronunciation

The Hindi language uses the script called Devanagari. Devanagari consists of the words “deva” and “nagari.” Deva means divine. In India we also call a Hindu God by the term “Deva”. The Nagari script comes from the Sanskrit word “nagaram” meaning “a town.” Hence, the etymology of the word Devanagari entails the town of god or the abode of deities.

Devanagari is a very sophisticated script and has some interesting features.

The writing script itself is an assimilation of symbols and alphabets. It contains a total of 47 characters. Out of these 47 characters, 33 are consonants and 14 are vowels. The structure of the alphabets in Devanagari is such that all the characters hang from a horizontal line.

We write the Devanagari script from left to right.

The Devanagari script is adopted by many languages over the world. Apart from the Hindi language, Marathi, Nepali, Sanskrit, Sherpa, Haryanvi, and Kashmiri are some of the other languages that use Devanagari as either part of their scripts or as their only script.

In total, 120 languages in the world use the Devanagari script. Devanagari comes at the fourth position on the list of widely used scripts.

Another interesting fact about this script is that, Devanagari has no capital letters.

History of the Hindi language

The Hindi language has developed a lot over time. At first, Hindi was known by many names like Hindui, Hindavi, Rekhta, Rekhti, etc.

Since Hindi was born out of Sanskrit and Prakrit, which are few of the oldest Indo-Aryan languages, it is believed that the history of Hindi is at least a thousand years old.

Origin of Hindi

Sanskrit also known as Sauraseni or Devbhasha, served as one of the parent languages for the Hindi dialect. During the Vedic era, sacred Hindu texts were written from the Indo-Aryan language. In order to preserve the purity of this language, scholars from the Brahmin community rose up to become the world’s first linguists.

They fixed the old Indo-Aryan language in the grammar of panini and came up with the classical Sanskrit. This classical Sanskrit was called Sancta and it meant refined. This refined Sanskrit was used for Hindi literature.

However, for communication a more natural form of Sanskrit, called Prakrit.

Sanskrit was always considered as a prestigious language for Hindu speakers and a sense of gatekeeping was developed among the elite classes to preserve the language. Thus, people were encouraged to use more simpler versions of these languages.

And so, these languages evolved and were adopted by various cultures and religions. Buddhists took up Pali whereas Jains started using Prakrits for their scriptures.

Upon further evolution, languages like Punjabi, Hindi, Bengali, etc. came to existence

Influences on Hindi language

Impact of the Mughal rule

In the Mughal rule, Persian was the language introduced in the Indo-Muslim education. This Persian was, however, arabicized. Arabic is a sacred language for Muslims, hence after ruling over Iran and Central Asia, the cultural language that they brought to India was Persian with a lot of loan words from Arabic.

The local Khari Boli (upright speech) of the city of Delhi fused borrowed words from the Persian language and eventually developed to modern Hindi and Urdu.

Impact of the British Raj

Under the British Raj, there was a shift in the language used for administrative purposes, from Persian to English. The laws were written in English, and were translated to Persian for the subjects. However, subjects could not speak Persian, they usually spoke Bengali.

Due to this confusion, the East India Company established Fort William College in Calcutta in order to impart knowledge of Indian languages among British officials.

Thus, English also inspired a few common words of the Hindi language. For instance, the Hindi word “botal” comes from the English word “bottle”.

Hindi and Urdu were also now somewhat evolved in northern India, and became a part of the religious identities of Hindus and Muslims. This ultimately creates a sense of opposition in these two languages.

Modern History of Hindi

Around the late 19th century, Hindi was well established. People started treating Hindi as a tool to ground themselves in their cultural identity. Freedom fighter, Mahatma Gandhi, encouraged the use Hindi as a regional language in order create unity and national pride among common people.

Post 1947 independence, the Indian Union, along with English, adopted Hindi as an official language of the republic of India. Due to the political environment around the 1960s and 1970s, there was a revolt from certain majority communities to make Hindi the sole official language of the country.

However, the leaders saw it to be a source of divide, an unfair title as India consisted of a plethora of varied languages and dialects. In order to respect the diversity of India, an official languages act was passed. This act stated that all languages should be treated equally, none is superior to the other.

Providing an equal status to all Indian languages helped in bringing communities together and this move brought the unity in diversity in India’s culture.

Demographics of Hindi Language

In India, 70% of the population speaks Hindi. A total of about 600 million people around the world have Hindi as their mother tongue. Hindi is the 3rd most spoken language worldwide.

Linguistic Scholars have identified the Hindi Belt in India. It includes Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. These are the states where Hindi is the dominant language.

Conclusion

Hindi is a widely spoken language. It is rich and is embedded in the History of India, making it a part of that complex but eloquent history.

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