Hindi is an Indo-Aryan language with about 545 million speakers, 425 million
of whom are native speakers. It is one of the official languages of India and
is the main language used in the northern states of Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana,
Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh,
Jharkhand and Bihar, and is spoken in much of north and central India alongside
other languages such as Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi or Bengali. In other parts
of India, as well as in Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, Hindi is understood,
and there is a significant number of Hindi speakers in South Africa, Mauritius,
Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Nepal.
In Fiji people of Indian origin speak Hindi, and in some areas the Fijian people
also speak it.
Hindi at a glance
Native name: हिन्दी (Hindī)
Linguistic affliation: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan,
Central Zone, Western Hindi, Hindustani, Khariboli
Number of speakers: 545 million
Spoken in: India, Nepal, Fiji, South Africa, Mauritius,
Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Nepal
Status: Official language and national language of the
Federal Government of India; official language of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi,
Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh
and Uttarakhand states.
Hindi is closely related to Urdu, the main language of
Pakistan, which is written with the Arabic script, and linguists consider Standard
Hindi and Standard Urdu to be different formal registers both derived from the Khari
Boli dialect, which is also known as Hindustani. Apart from the difference in
writing systems, the other main difference between Hindi and Urdu is that Hindi
contains more vocabulary from Sanskrit, while Urdu contains more vocabulary from
Persian. At an informal spoken level there are few significant differences
between Urdu and Hindi and they could be considered varieties a single language.
Hindi first started to be used in writing during the 4th century AD. It was
originally written with the Brahmi script but since the
11th century AD it has been written with the Devanāgarī alphabet.
The first printed book in Hindi was John Gilchrist's Grammar of the Hindoostanee
Language which was published in 1796.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason
and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Thanks to Arvind Iyengar for providing the above sample text.