Basic Hindi for Travelers

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1 Basic Hindi for Travelers This is a brief introduction to Hindi, one of the official languages of India. This introduction contains basic instruction about pronunciation and important words and phrases. Anywhere you travel in India, the ability to communicate in Hindi will greatly enhance your experience. Even if you do not plan on studying the language in-depth, we strongly suggest learning and using basic greetings and phrases. The locals will greatly appreciate your efforts and will be all the more welcoming to you during your stay. If you would like to complete a beginning course in Hindi, there are a number of self-study books and tapes. Lonely Planet s Hindi, Urdu & Bengali Phrasebook (2005) and Berlitz s Hindi Phrase Book and Dictionary (2006) are two very helpful books. Pronunciation Hindi is written in the Devanagari script, which is also the script used for Sanskrit, Nepali, and many other languages. There are 67 characters, each with only one pronunciation. The Devanagari script is not used in this guide; however, a list of the Devanagari characters can be found at the end of this document. Hindi has eleven vowel sounds. a u as in run aa a as in father ai ai as in aisle ay ay as in day au ow as in cow e e as in bed ee ee as in bee i i as in bit o o as in go oo oo as in fool u u as in put Generally, Hindi consonants are pronounced the same as in English. b as in bat ch as in chew d as in dog f as in frog g as in go h as in hit j as in jaw k as in kennel l as in last m as in mill n as in neat ng as in finger ny as in canyon p as in pin r as in rabbit, but slightly trilled s as in sit sh as in ship t as in stop v as in van y as in yolk z as in zero Page 1 of 6

2 There are two special types of consonants: aspirated consonants and retroflex consonants. Aspirated consonants are pronounced much more forcefully and with a puff of air. Below are the proper pronunciations of the aspirated consonants. bh b as in bus chh ch + h as in punch hard dh d in duck gh g in go jh j in jump kh k in kill ph p in pit, or like an f th t in time Retroflex consonants are pronounced by touching the tongue to the roof of the mouth while pronouncing the consonants. Only four consonants can be pronounced this way (d, t, n, dh). In this guide, we have not distinguished between regular consonants, and the aspirated and retroflex consonants. You will still be understood if you do not use them. In Hindi, word stress is very light, and is determined by a complex set of rules. In this guide, however, the stressed syllable will be in italics. Greetings Hello See you later. How are you? I m fine, and you? Okay na-ma-ste Goodbye na-ma-ste pir mi-leng-ge aap kay-se/kay-see hayng (m/f) mayng theek hoong aap su-naa-i-ye theek Introductions My name is What is your name? Pleased to meet you. I am from America. Where are you from? I am a student. I work in me-raa naam hay. aap kaa naam kyaa hay? aap se mil-kar ba-hut ku-shee he-ee mayng am-ree-kaa kaa/kee hoong (m/f) aap ha-haang ke/kee hayng? (m/f) mayng chaa-tra hoong mayng meng kaam kar-taa/kar-tee hoong (m/f) Etiquette Thank you waad You re welcome Please Sorry Excuse me (to get attention) Excuse me (to pass) thayn-kyoo; dhan-yako-ee baat na-heeng kri-pa-yaa maaf kee-ji-ye su-ni-ye raas-taa de dee-ji-ye Page 2 of 6

3 Relationships/Titles I/me You (formal) You (informal) Friend Family Daughter Son Brother Sister Father Mother Husband Wife Doctor Teacher Man Mister/Sir Woman Mrs./Madam Ms./Miss mayng aap tum dost pa-ri-vaar be-tee be-taa baa-ee be-han pi-taa maang pa-ti pat-nee daak-tar tee-char aad-mee shree-man/sar stree shree-ma-tee/may-dam mis/ku-maa-ree Food and Drinks I am hungry. I am thirsty. I would like Food Bread Meat Fish Vegetables Fruit Chicken Rice Lentils Coffee Tea Water Milk Beer The meal was delicious. mu-je book la-gee hay mu-je pyaas la-gee hay mu-je chaa-hi-ye kaa-naa ro-tee naan gosht mach-lee sab-zee pal mur-gee chaa-val daal kaa-fee chaai paa-nee dood bi-yar ba-hut ma-ze-daar hu-aa Page 3 of 6

4 Important Locations Market Temple Mosque Church Shop School Hospital Home Bathroom Toilet (flushing) Shower Kitchen Garden baa-zaar man-dir mas-jid gir-jaa du-kaan skool as-pa-taal ghar baat-rum taa-i-let shaa-var ra-so-ree ba-gee-cha Cost How much is it? Money Price Expensive Cheap kit-ne kaa hay? pay-se daam mahan-gaa sas-taa Time of Day Today Morning Afternoon Evening Night aaj save-raa do-pa-har shaam raat Useful Words and Phrases Yes No Maybe Now May I use the? What is this? Where is the? I want to go I would like to buy I am tired. I am lost. I am ill. jee haang na-heeng shaa-yad ab kyaa mayng kaa is-te-maal kar sak-taa/saktee hoong? (m/f) voh kyaa hay? ka-haang hay? jaa-ne kaa man ho ra-haa hay mu-je chaa-hi-ye mu-je ta-kaan hu-ee hay mu-je ko ga-yaa/ga-yee hoong (m/f) mayng bee-maar hoong Page 4 of 6

5 Do you speak English? I don t understand. do you say this? What does mean? Can you repeat that please? Repeat that slowly. Good night Help! Who? Where? Why? What? When? How? kyaa aap ko an-gree-zee aa-tee hay? mayng na-heeng sam-jaa/sam-jee (m/f) How yeh kay-se keh-te hayng? kaa kyaa mat-lab hay? kri-pa-yaa pir se ka-hi-ye? kri-pa-yaa dee-re bo-li-ye shub raa-tri ma-dad kee-ji-ye kaun? ka-haang? kyong? kya? kab? kai-se? Miscellaneous Love Enough Beautiful Slowly Less More Bad Good pyaar kaa-fee sun-dar dee-re dee-re kam zyaa-daa bu-raa ach-chaa Numbers The Hindi counting system has no discernable patterns. Below are a few helpful numbers. 0 shoon-yaa 16 so-lah 1 ek 17 sat-rah 2 do 18 a-taa-rah 3 teen 19 un-nees 4 chaar 20 bees 5 paanch 30 tees 6 chay 40 chaa-lees 7 saat 50 pa-chaas 8 aat 60 saat 9 nau 70 sat-tar 10 das 80 as-see 11 gyaa-rah 90 nab-be 12 baa-rah 100 sau 13 te-rah 200 do sau 14 chau-dah 1,000 ek ha-zaar 15 pan-drah 100,000 ek laak Page 5 of 6

6 Vowels The Hindi Alphabet (Devanagari script).(ٽ = dot Nasal vowels are indicated by a dot over the letter (or a half circle and a c â c+ ah cf âh cf+ i O or O{ î O+ or O{+ u p or pm û p+ or pm+ e P ê P+ o cf] ai P] aî P]+ au cf} aû cf}+ ri C There are also special forms of some vowels whenever they follow consonants. The letter a is not on this list, because it is assumed that all consonants are followed by a unless otherwise indicated. Consonants ah f o f] e ] i l or L u [ k s kh v g u gh # c r ch % j h jh Of p k ph km b a bh e s if or ; sh z t t th y d b dh w t ^ th & d * dh ( n g n )f ng * ny ` m d l n y o w j r / h X Page 6 of 6

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