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Hindi and Urdu langauge learning pack.

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Hindi native speakers: 425 million. Urdu native speakers: 70 million. Hindi is written in the Devanagari script and uses more Sanskrit words, and Urdu is written in the Perso-Arabic script and uses more Arabic and Persian words. Hindi is the most commonly used official language in India. Urdu —or, more precisely, Modern Standard Urdu—is a Persianised standard register of the Hindustani language. It is the official national language and lingua franca of Pakistan.

Hindi got its name from the Persian word Hind, meaning 'land of the Indus River'. Persian speaking Turks who invaded Punjab and Gangetic plains in the early 11th century named the language of the region Hindi, 'language of the land of the Indus River'.
Nearly 425 million people speak Hindi as a first language and around 120 million as a second language. Hindi is one of the languages spoken in India. It's the official language of India, English being the other official language. There are several regional languages in India, such as Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi and Assamese, but Hindi is used by the largest number of people as their first language.

Hindi is the main language of Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the capital Delhi in North India; Bihar and Jharkhand in Eastern India; Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in Central India and Rajasthan in West India. It's widely understood in several other states of India. Hindi is also spoken in some countries outside India, such as in Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Nepal.





You'll find many familiar words in English which are either Hindi or of Hindi origin. For example guru, jungle, karma, yoga, bungalow, cheetah, looting, thug and avatar. On the other hand, Hindi also uses lots of English words. They are read and pronounced as they are in English, but are written in Hindi. For example, डॉक्टर is pronounced doctor and स्टेशन is pronounced station. Other English words that are used are hospital, railway, train, cycle, motor, bus, car, cricket, football, tennis, judge, court.
Hindi or Modern Standard Hindi, is a standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language. In India, the official standardized variety of the language is based primarily on the Khariboli dialect of Delhi and other nearby areas of northern India.

Language family: Indo-European languages, Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Iranian languages.
Regulated by: Central Hindi Directorate.
Writing system: Devanagari, Devanagari Braille.

Just like European languages, Hindi is written from left to right. It's fairly easy to read Hindi. In Hindi, unlike in European languages, words are written as they are pronounced because each character has a different sound. The other good news is that Hindi doesn't have articles (words for 'the' or 'a'). However, sentence structure is different from English. Verbs always go to the end of sentences in Hindi and auxiliary verbs go at the very end of a sentence.





A Hindi joke:

1 rupee is 100 paise.

संताःकेला कितने में?
फलवालाःएक रूपए.
संताः 60 पैसे में दोगे?
फलवालाःइतने में तो बस छिलका मिलेगा.
संताःये लो 40 पैसे, मुझे बस केला चाहिए.
[Santa: Kelaa kitne mein?
Falwala: 1 rupaye.
Santa: 60 paise mein doge?
Falwala: Itne me to sirf kele kaa chhilkaa milegaa.
Santa: Ye lo 40 paise, mujhe bas kelaa chahiye.]
Santa: How much is a banana?
Grocer: 1 rupee.
Santa: Would you sell it for 60 paise?
Grocer: You could only get the skin of the fruit for that price.
Santa: Take 40 paise, just give me the banana, (and keep the skin).







India Background:

The Indus Valley civilization, one of the world’s oldest, flourished during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. and extended into northwestern India. Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C.—which reached its zenith under ASHOKA—united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture. Islam spread across the subcontinent over a period of 700 years. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established the Delhi Sultanate. In the early 16th century, the Emperor BABUR established the Mughal Dynasty which ruled India for more than three centuries. European explorers began establishing footholds in India during the 16th century. By the 19th century, Great Britain had become the dominant political power on the subcontinent. The British Indian Army played a vital role in both World Wars. Years of nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU, eventually resulted in Indian independence, which was granted in 1947. Large-scale communal violence took place before and after the subcontinent partition into two separate states—India and Pakistan. The neighboring nations have fought three wars since independence, the last of which was in 1971 and resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. India’s nuclear weapons tests in 1998 emboldened Pakistan to conduct its own tests that same year. In November 2008, terrorists originating from Pakistan conducted a series of coordinated attacks in Mumbai, India’s financial capital. Despite pressing problems such as significant overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and widespread corruption, economic growth following the launch of economic reforms in 1991 and a massive youthful population are driving India’s emergence as a regional and
global power.

Economy—overview:

India is developing into an open-market economy, yet traces of its past autarkic policies remain. Economic liberalization measures, including industrial deregulation, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and reduced controls on foreign trade and investment, began in the early 1990s and served to accelerate the country’s growth, which averaged under 7% per year from 1997 to 2011. India’s diverse economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of services. Slightly less than half of the work force is in agriculture, but, services are the major source of economic growth, accounting for nearly two-thirds of India’s output with less than one-third of its labor force. India has capitalized on its large educated English-speaking population to become a major exporter of information technology services, business outsourcing services, and software workers. India’s economic growth began slowing in 2011 because of a decline in investment, caused by high interest rates, rising inflation, and investor pessimism about the government’s commitment to further economic reforms and about the global situation. In late 2012, the Indian Government announced additional reforms and deficit reduction measures, including allowing higher levels of foreign participation in direct investment in the economy. The outlook for India’s long-term growth is moderately positive due to a young population and corresponding low dependency ratio, healthy savings and investment rates, and increasing integration into the global economy. However, India has many challenges that it has yet to fully address, including poverty, corruption, violence and discrimination against women and girls, an inefficient power generation and distribution system, ineffective enforcement of intellectual property rights, decades-long civil litigation dockets, inadequate transport and agricultural infrastructure, limited non-agricultural employment opportunities, high spending and poorly-targeted subsidies, inadequate availability of quality basic and higher education, and accommodating rural-to-urban migration. Growth in 2013 fell to a decade low based on weak fundamentals, and India’s economic leaders are now struggling to improve the country’s wide fiscal and current account deficits. Improving conditions in Western countries have led investors to shift investment away from India and prompted a severe depreciation in the rupee.



TRANSNATIONAL ISSUES



Disputes—international:


Since China and India launched a security and foreign policy dialogue in 2005, consolidated discussions related to the dispute over most of their rugged, militarized boundary, regional nuclear proliferation, Indian claims that China transferred missiles to Pakistan, and other matters continue; Kashmir remains the site of the world’s largest and most militarized territorial dispute with portions under the de facto administration of China (Aksai Chin), India (Jammu and Kashmir), and Pakistan (Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas); India and Pakistan resumed bilateral dialogue in February 2011 after a two-year hiatus, have maintained the 2003 cease-fire in Kashmir, and continue to have disputes over water sharing of the Indus River and its tributaries; UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan has maintained a small group of peacekeepers since 1949; India does not recognize Pakistan’s ceding historic Kashmir lands to China in 1964; to defuse tensions and prepare for discussions on a maritime boundary, India and Pakistan seek technical resolution of the disputed boundary in Sir Creek estuary at the mouth of the Rann of Kutch in the Arabian Sea; Pakistani maps continue to show its Junagadh claim in Indian Gujarat State; Prime Minister Singh’s September 2011 visit to Bangladesh resulted in the signing of a Protocol to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh, which had called for the settlement of longstanding boundary disputes over undemarcated areas and the exchange of territorial enclaves, but which had never been implemented; Bangladesh referred its maritime boundary claims with Burma and India to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; Joint Border Committee with Nepal continues to examine contested boundary sections, including the 400 square kilometer dispute over the source of the Kalapani River; India maintains a strict border regime to keep out Maoist insurgents and control illegal cross-border activities from Nepal.

(End of text/excerpt from the CIA World FactBook. You can download the book via a CIA-post on our frontpage.)







Hindi in its present form emerged through different stages, during which it was known by other names. The earliest form of old Hindi was Apabhramsa. In 400 AD, Kalidas, a famous Indian literary playwright, wrote a romantic play in Apabhramsa called Vikramorvashiyam. The modern Devanagari script came into existence in the 11th century. The earliest evidence of Hindi printing is found in Grammar of the Hindoostani Language, a book by John Gilchrist, published in 1796 in Calcutta. It deals with the Hindustani language, which is a common form of Hindi and Urdu, but is mostly a spoken language. The book has traces of Hindi/Devanagari texts but it is more of an Urdu-English book than a Hindi book. Prem Sagar, meaning ‘Ocean of Love’, by Lalloo Lal was published in 1805. It’s considered the first published Hindi book and tells the deeds of Lord Krishna, a Hindu religious figure.





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