As the third most spoken language in the world, Hindi is an excellent choice for those wanting to learn a new language. Learning Hindi online is a valuable experience that can stimulate the mind and open one up to a whole new world of art, literature, and culture. Those interested in learning Hindi first need to become familiar with the Devanagari script. This writing system differs greatly from the Latin alphabet that most Western languages are based on, and while Devanagari may initially look intimidating, it is an intuitive system.
The Basics of Devanagari
While the letters of the Devanagari alphabet may look completely unfamiliar at first, one thing that immediately makes Hindi more manageable is that it is read from left to right, like English. Another similarity to the Latin alphabet is that the Devanagari script is made up of consonants and vowels.
A major difference between the Devanagari script and English is that Hindi is a phonetic language. This means that each sound is made by one Devanagari letter. This differs from English where each letter may have several possible sounds based on the context they are used in, and many sounds can be by several letters. Because of this, in some ways, Hindi is easier to learn than other languages. Once you understand the sounds associated with each letter, pronunciation will be a breeze.
As you look at Hindi words, one thing that you will notice is that they all have a horizontal line. The line is written above a word, and each word has its own horizontal line. Vertical lines are also important to the Hindi language, as they serve as the full stop of a sentence.
In the next section, we will discuss the basics of Devanagari consonants and vowels.
There are eleven vowels in Devanagari script, and they have two vowel forms. These forms are independent and dependent.
When vowels are independent, this means that they are used at the beginning of a word, alone in a word, or directly after another vowel. Visually, this means that vowels are unmodified and look like their original forms.
Dependent vowels, also called maatraa, are used when the vowel is used after a consonant. Maatraa refers to the character that is added to a vowel when it is in its dependent form. Upon first glance, this may make each vowel look like an entirely different letter, but if you look closely, you’ll see that dependent vowels resemble original vowels with the maatraa character attached.
In Devanagari script, there are 25 consonants. Consonants are categorized based on how the mouth physically produces its sounds. These categories include:
As you familiarize yourself with the Hindi alphabet, you will see examples of how to produce the sounds for each consonant. Some consonants require articulating from parts of the mouth not commonly used for English sounds. Watch the video below for an introduction into the Hindi alphabet and Devanagari Script:
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Begin Learning Hindi Online With LanguageBird Today!
Learning a language with an entirely new alphabet system may feel like a daunting task, but LanguageBird can help. Our immersive instruction is done on your schedule, and LanguageBird offers private coaching to give you personalized assistance. For more information about LanguageBird’s online Hindi language program, contact us.