hindiWith some 700 million native speakers, Hindi is one of the two official languages of communication in India, one of the twenty-two scheduled languages of the Indian constitution, and the second most widely-spoken language in the world. Hindi is the predominant language of Northern India (in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Andman-Nikobaar) and is taught as a second language in all other Indian states. Outside of India, Hindi speakers can be found in the USA, UK, Canada, Fiji, Guyana, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, Singapore, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen and many more countries where Indians have made their homes.


Hindi is a direct descendant of Sanskrit through Pali, Prakrit and Apabhransha. Hindi started to emerge as Apabhransha in the 7th century and by the 10 century became stable. Several dialects of Hindi have been used in literature.  Braj, Avadhi and Maithilee were the popular literary dialects, until it was replaced by “Khari Boli” in the mid 18th -19th century. It has been influenced and enriched by Dravidian, Turkish, Farsi, Arabic, Portuguese and English.  It is a very expressive language.  In poetry and songs, it can convey deep emotions by using simple and gentle words.  Its vocabulary is very large and, particularly when it comes to modern terms, it may derive many words from other languages.  Hindi is written in an elegant and easy script called Devanagari, which is phonetic, so the letters are pronounced as they are written. That makes it possible to learn the characters of the script and the sound of the language, at the same time.

Hindi has a very rich literature. All kind of literary forms are written in Hindi such as novels, poems, stories, plays, essays etc. Hindi is the language of popular Bollywood movies. These movies are watched all over the world and made Hindi popular among non-Indian communities, too. Outside India, Hindi movies are largely watched in Middle East, East Asia, Great Britain, Africa, and in America.  Hindi language has developed very rapidly in recent years and its literature is still getting rich every day.

If you are interested in taking Hindi at Rutgers, the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures currently offers it through the advanced (300) level, as well as the option to Minor in Hindi.