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Hindi is the official and link language of multilingual India. Its homeland is in the north of India, but it is the most widely spoken and understood language throughout India. Hindi is written in the Devanagari script, which is also used for Sanskrit, Marathi and Nepali. Hindi has a special relationship with Urdu because they have the same grammar and they share basic conversational vocabulary and expressions. On many college campuses in the US, Hindi and Urdu are taught as one language under the title Hindi-Urdu. The two languages, however, use different scripts and have different preferences when it comes to borrowing new formal and literary vocabulary. Although Hindi has many Perso-Arabic words, most of the recent borrowings are from Sanskrit in the written style and from English in the spoken style.

Hindi has a rich literary tradition that dates back to the eleventh century. Early literature, which was predominantly poetry, was written in a variety of Hindi dialects such as Braj and Avadhi. Modern literature is mostly written in Modern Standard Hindi that has developed from Khari Boli, a dialect of Hindi spoken around Delhi and Meerut. Hindi literature consists of all genres, such as poetry, drama, short stories, novels, and essays. These days, there are some good literary magazines available free of charge on the Internet.

Hindi is the primary language of entertainment, media and journalism in India. Bollywood films and songs have particularly popularized Hindi at home and abroad. Modern pop Hindi music is highly popular with Indians settled around the world, including in America, Canada, London, Fiji, Trinidad, parts of Africa, and many countries of the Middle East. Film music has almost become an identity shawl for overseas Indians, many of whom love to sing and dance at the tunes of Hindi songs on Indian cultural and national holidays.

Hindi is taught as a foreign language at many college campuses in the United States. Students learn it for academic, business, and/or personal reasons. There are several good Hindi magazines and newspapers on line that helps learners to access authentic language and Indian culture without leaving their dorms. The University of Pennsylvania offers several levels of Hindi courses, and you can see the course descriptions here.

Online Resources

NEW! Business Hindi Textbook

Course Resources

“New Directions, New People, नई दिशाएं नए लोग”
  Web-based instruction in Hindi for advanced beginners and intermediate students, 
by Dr. Vijay Gambhir and Dr. Surendra Gambhir


BBC Hindi
  News in Hindi from the BBC.
  Radio station broadcasting music in Hindi on the web
SmasHits Radio
  Another radio station broadcasting music in Hindi and other South Asian languages on the web. Also see its sister site which has a collection of songs available for listening on the web in RealAudio.

Literary Materials

Bharat Darshan
  A Hindi literary magazine. Has poetry, short stories, editorials and interviews.
Virtual Hindi
  This site has the beginning of a reference grammar and some exercises. The short stories and the texts about festivals, all in Hindi, seem to be original to this site.
  The story, folktales and Bhagavad Gita sections have several stories in Hindi (and several in English). This site also has cultural information about India.
  Abhivyakti is a Hindi magazine. It has several texts in Hindi in multiple genres.
  Short stories and poems in Hindi.

Other Resources

Hindi Language Resources
  This page is still useful but hasn't been updated in a long time.
Online teaching of Hindi at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing in India.
  The link above points to the main page of Web-LILA. The actual web-based software is a bit hard to find: here's a direct link to it.
Index to Mellon Project
  Resources for the advanced study of Hindi.