Hindi and Urdu

Language section number: 321 (How to register for Critical Languages classes)


Caroline Joseph leads a Hindi class session at CLP

Hindi is a standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language. Hindi is an official language of the Union of India, and the lingua franca of the Hindi belt languages. In the 2001 Indian census, 258 million people in India reported Hindi to be their native language. However, this number includes tens of millions of people who are native speakers of related languages but who consider their speech to be a dialect of Hindi. Hindi is the fourth-most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish and English.

The dialect of Hindustani on which Standard Hindi is based is Khariboli, the vernacular of Delhi and the surrounding western Uttar Pradesh and southern Uttarakhand. Urdu, literally meaning, "the language of the camp", a dialect of Hindustani, acquired official linguistic prestige in the later Mughal period (1800s). In the late 19th century, the movement standardising a written language from Khariboli, for the Indian masses in North India, started to standardise Hindi as a separate language from Urdu, which was learnt by the Mughal elite. In 1881, Bihar accepted Hindi as its sole official language, replacing Urdu, and thus became the first state of India to adopt Hindi.

Linguistically, Hindi and Urdu are two registers of the same language. Hindi is written in the Devanagari script and uses more Sanskrit words, whereas Urdu is written in the Perso-Arabic script and uses more Arabic and Persian words. Hindi along with English is the most commonly used official language in India. Urdu is the official language of Pakistan (along with English), and is one of the 22 official languages of India.

CLP's Hindi Tutors


Caroline Joseph

Pankhuri Kharbanda

Jayanti Pokhrel

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hindi", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.