Difficulty of Hindi

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alirwez061
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Difficulty of Hindi

Postby alirwez061 » Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:23 pm

Hi everybody,

I recently heard that learning Hindi is very challenging for English-speakers.
But in addition to English, my native language is Arabic and I can totally speak Persian (Farsi) like a native.
Will that make any difference in the difficulty of learning this language?

Thanks for help and time :D
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David1917
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Re: Difficulty of Hindi

Postby David1917 » Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:39 am

If you speak Persian at a native level then Hindi will probably be considerably more simple for you than any old English speaker. You get a lot in the way of vocabulary (if I recall correctly, "Hindi" as we know it essentially originated as a pidgin language of various Indian dialects trying to communicate in Persian when it was the court language [yes oversimplified]) as well as sentence structures.

It's by no means mutually intelligible, but you certainly have a leg up.
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Saim
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Re: Difficulty of Hindi

Postby Saim » Fri Feb 19, 2021 5:38 am

You have a huge discount when it comes to vocabulary. You’ll find it substantially easier than English speakers do. Formal Hindi does have an additional layer of Sanskrit loans besides all the Arabic and Persian, so formal Urdu would be a bit easier for you.

David1917 wrote:If you speak Persian at a native level then Hindi will probably be considerably more simple for you than any old English speaker. You get a lot in the way of vocabulary (if I recall correctly, "Hindi" as we know it essentially originated as a pidgin language of various Indian dialects trying to communicate in Persian when it was the court language [yes oversimplified]) as well as sentence structures.

It's by no means mutually intelligible, but you certainly have a leg up.


I don’t think it developed as a pidgin, nor does it really have much influence from different dialects. It’s basicaly the traditional dialect of Delhi with Persian loanwords.
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verdastelo
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Re: Difficulty of Hindi

Postby verdastelo » Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:34 am

alirwez061 wrote:... my native language is Arabic and I can totally speak Persian (Farsi) like a native.
Will that make any difference in the difficulty of learning this language?


Saim has already pointed out that you will get many words for free! I would like to add a note on pronunciation. Although my native Punjabi (and semi-native Hindi-Urdu) and Persian share a ton of vocabulary, our pronunciation of Persian words is usually incomprehensible to Iranians, Tajikis, and Afghans. Not unlike the notorious Indian-English accent of our own times. ;)

Here's an popular track entirely in Persian from India. Because Persian is semi-native to you, I'm interested in how much you understand of Mr. Sartaj's ظفرنامه. If you learn Gurmukhi, you can read the lyrics in Persian and compare our pronunciation with the natives.



Returning to the question of vocabulary, Persian was for a long time (> 500 years) the language of the Indian elite (akin to English today). Unsurprisingly, there is hardly a sentence I can complete in Punjabi without at least one Persian word. In the next image, I have squared the words many Punjabi and Hindi speakers already know. The vocabulary is from Chapter 1 of Iraj Bashiri's Persian for Beginners.

Image

There were (and are) attempts to replace the Persian words in Punjabi with Sanskrit (or English), but the local intelligentsia is against it. Once I read in an article dealing with the subject. A slogan from the article has been etched into my memory: "If Sanskrit is our mother then Persian is our aunt. We love them both." However, the situation in Hindi is different. Official Hindi has dropped hundreds of Persian words. Thankfully, Bollywood (for all its ills) keeps Bazaar Hindustani alive. Here's an example (I can find dozens):



Here you can read the lyrics (starting from 20s). I changed all Persian words to red.

Image

Lest I give you a wrong impression, just because Hindi and Persian share a ton of words doesn't mean you will be able to learn Hindi without any effort. French doesn't come easy to English speakers despite there being literally thousands of common words. That being said, a knowledge of Persian will definitely give you an edge.

Finally, Bazaar Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) covers a vast geographical area: from Afghanistan in the west to Bengal in the east and from Kashmir in the North to the Vindhayas in the South. Persian will help you with the version spoken in the north and the west more than in the south and the east. A rule of the thumb is that the deeper you travel into the Indian mainland, the more Persian words lose their prestige. For me, madri zuban (mother tongue) is normal. A few kilometers south, only matra bhasha (mother tongue) carries the day.

Good luck with your Hindi studies!

PS. If Devanagari poses any challenges, you can start with Urdu. It's Hindi but in name. ;)
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