During my freshman year of college I decided to take Hindi I at the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages. I have traveled to India several times because I have good friends there who work on wildlife conservation and environmental education. They live in Mumbai, and I have also travelled to several tiger reserves in the northern part of the country – Ranthambhore, Sariska, and Corbett.

India is almost impossible to describe, especially to Westerners who have never been to Asia. It’s a beautiful and overwhelming country. So I’m going to cut myself short and not even try to describe it, and save all of us my awkward non-articulation. Maybe I’ll try again in December, when I’m actually there.

Long story short, I have had amazing experiences there, so I wanted to learn Hindi. One of the craziest coincidences was that my freshman year roommate also wanted to. She is interested in Buddhism and wants to learn Sanskrit, but Sanskrit is not taught at the Five Colleges, so we decided to enroll in Hindi I together.

This was not your normal language class. We attended two classes per week, with two different instructors. The first was a conversation class, where we learned vocabulary, practiced basic conversational phrases, learned etiquette, and listened to lots of Bollywood music. There were only two of us in the class (a third person dropped out after the first week)! The second was a homework class, which was held individually with a tutor, to go over the week’s homework and talk about the nitty gritty of writing, pronunciation, and grammar.

Overall it was a wonderful experience and I learned a considerable amount of Hindi in those four months. I hope to take Hindi II when I have more time, maybe during my last year at Mount Holyoke.

If you speak Hindi or would like to hear a little Hindi, please let me know! I would love to talk to you and get some practice.

(Also fun fact, linguistically Hindi is basically the same language as Urdu, but they are written in different scripts and Hindi uses more Sanskrit words. So it’s incredible how many people you can speak to if you learn/know Hindi!)

As with my post about Dzongkha, I’m going to close by including a few useful phrases in Hindi.

  • Hello नमस्ते namastē
  • How are you? आप कैसे/कैसी हैं? āp kaisē/kaisī haĩ?
  • What is your name? आपका नाम क्या है? āpkā nām kyā hai?
  • My name is ___ . मेरा नाम ___ है। mērā nām ___ hai.
  • Where are you from? आप कहाँ से हैं? āp kahā̃ sē haĩ?
  • Thank you धन्यवाद / शुक्रिया dhanyavād/śukriyā (Hindustani/Urdu)

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