First, Hindi is an Indo European language which is a part of the Indo Aryan branch. It derives from a standardisation of Hindustani dialects which use Sanskrit signs and lexicon. We find it mainly in North and Central India.

Second, before the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, Hindi and Urdu formed a same language. But Indian cinema still uses this version called Hindustani.

Third, with about 620 million speakers, Hindi is the 3rd language the most spoken in the world, after Chinese and English. If the number of Indian people is the double, in fact the country accepts more than 20 dialects. Linguists think that about 40% of Indians use it as a first language, and a quarter as a second one. While India does not always use Hindi as a lingua franca, it remains the main dialect there. Also, it is still growing as all states of India teach it.


Since the 1970s, people from other regions of the country where Hindi is not the first language, often choose it as second language instead of English.

Also, due to contact with tourists, many locals are able to speak French just a little bit or good. Indeed, French people love history and Art. Thus, they are a lot to visit India and its most famous regions like Rajasthan.

While English is the other official language of India, only 1% of the people is able to speak it very well. But in fact quasi 10% of locals can understand and speak it at least a bit. Plus, from the 1990s, English has come back via the opening of India to the world.

Elite Translation Distribution of dialects in India, spread of Hindi


Like other Indo Aryan dialects, Hindi comes from an early form of Vedic Sanskrit which emerged in the 7th century. Later, Old Hindi borrowed from Persian and Arabic, due to Islamic influence in North India. The latter, called Hindustani, then evolved into Urdu in the 18th century. Soon, the Hindus built a Sanskrit version, which led to the modern standard Hindi.

On the one hand, we write Hindi from left to right, in both the standard and sustained versions. Also, its lexicon, syntax and verbs derive mainly from Sanskrit. On the other hand, Urdu has its roots much more in the Arabic script. However, speakers of both languages can understand each other.

Actually, most of Hindi words derive from five main groups:

  • First, Tatsam words. The spelling is the same in both Hindi and Sanskrit. First, they include words coming from Sanskrit via Prakrit which have survived without any change. Second, they also include forms borrowed directly from Sanskrit in more modern times. Cependant, la façon de prononcer les mots peut varier entre les deux.
  • Second, Ardhatatsam words. They are usually earlier loanwords from Sanskrit which have undergone sound changes subsequent to being borrowed.
  • Third, Tadbhav words. Some phonological rules affected them and their spelling differs from Sanskrit.
  • Fourth, Deshaj words. They concerns onomatopoetic words or ones borrowed from local non Indo Aryan dialects.
  • Fifth, Videshi words. These include all loanwords from non native dialects. Their most common sources are Persian, Arabic, English and Portuguese.
Cardinal numeral adjectives

From 0 to 100, the cardinal numeral adjectives (figures and numbers) are all different in Hindi. Of course, some are recurrent. But, for instance with 45, we cannot deduce from 5, 40, 25 or 35. In other words, you have to learn them one by one.

Borrowing from French

As strange as it may be at first glance, some words in Hindi are very similar to French. And this, despite the distance that separates France from India. In fact, Hindi (mostly from Sanskrit), and French (mostly from Latin), share common origins. Indeed, both belong to the Indo European language group.

Thus, Je or Moi = [], Lèvre = [Lab], Tu = [], Meurs = [Mar],  maman = [], Quoi = [Kyā], Deux = [Do], Sept = [Sāt], Dix = [Das], Donner = [Dena], Nom = [Nam], Divin = [Déva], Jaloux = [Jale]. Conversely, French also borrowed some words from Hindi. Actually, this dates back to the middle of the 16th century. At that time, France had a great influence over a large part of India before the British came in.

Elite Translation Article learn about the Hindi language map showing the Indo Aryan language areas and Hindi numbers