And … we’re back! I apologize for the delay in posts, but my power (and subsequently internet) wasn’t restored until the end of this weekend. There are many still in Louisville and other parts of Kentucky that do not have power and my thoughts are with them. Here’s hoping for speedy service!
Now, on to Hindi. Or rather the end? My observations, despite being interrupted, were kind of quick this time. Hindi is very intricate and there are so many layers to it that make it even more intriguing.
SUMMARY: Hindi emerged around the 900s, evolving and drawing heavily from Sanskrit centuries (if not a millennium) before. Much of the credit goes to Panini, which laid the groundwork for the ancient language. Hinduism, which uses Sanskrit as a liturgical language, would experience a golden age around the Gupta dynasty before India would be divvied up by ruling families for centuries in the middle ages. In the 1300s, India would be controlled by Muslim sultanates, so Hindi would subsequently acquire bits and pieces from Islam. India would later find itself in the palm of British rule after in the 1800s, before eventually gaining independence. Hindi was then standardized and made an official language along with 18 others, including English.
Another huge thing I didn’t mention is the use of Urdu, another official tongue that’s considered a separate language or the same as Hindi. While they use the same words, Hindi is written in Devanagari while Urdu is written in Persian and uses more Persian and Arabic words. As stated at Hindi Language, the difference is political and could be attributed to Muslim settlement in India’s history. Before the partition of Pakistan and India, Hindustani, a blend of Urdu and Hindi, existed. (Remember Moldova/Romanian? It’s sort of the same thing.)
FINAL IMPRESSIONS: I almost don’t feel like I should be done. Hindi is kind of broad because, despite its connection to India’s history in general, there are so many dialects spoken in India alone, which can vary greatly. Along with that, Hindi has a lot of loan words from sister languages like Gujarati. Hindi is linked with Hinduism, so it makes me wonder how much I would actually have to know about Hinduism to get a feel for the language. Along with that, Hindi (or more specifically Sanskrit) comes from a primarily oral tradition, in which epic works were sung; I think this carries over to Bollywood obviously, but probably explains why the language has a musical feel. I find it really ethereal and alluring.
The grammar is kind of opposite of English’s. Hindi mostly uses subject-object-verb, postpositions instead of prepositions and auxilary verbs don’t exist. Also, Hindi shows its Indo-European roots by using masculine/feminine forms of nouns like the Romance languages. Verbs are also inflected based on formality and familiarity, like Japanese. One good thing is that there are a lot of monosyllabic words, which could make for easier memorization. The bad thing about this is that syllables seem to be truncated or, if occuring at the end, joined with the beginning syllables of other words. For example, Devanagari kind of sounds like, “devnagri.”
Speaking of Devanagari, that is a completely different world and I am not afraid to say that it would impair me from learning Hindi. I am still overwhelmed by the alphabet and think it would take a while to learn. So beautiful, yet out of my immediate grasp. Ah, well.
That being said, I love this song from aforementioned movie, “Kal Ho Naa Ho”:
COMING UP: Finnish