It is the language of poetry, wisdom, mystery, philosophy and song. In the over 1000 years since its initial emergence, Hindi has enriched and expanded the Asian world through these and other fields, and has spread to become the second most spoken language in the world (Mandarin is first). Its speakers today view it as one of the most beautiful and emotionally expressive languages one can learn, enabling them to communicate just as forcefully in poetry as in commerce.
Hindi is a direct descendant of Sanskrit through Prakrit and Apabhramsha, and has been influenced by Dravidian, Turkish, Farsi, Arabic, Portuguese and English. In terms of difficulty, it ranks as one of the easiest and most logical languages to read, write, and pronounce. Furthermore, Hindi speakers live all over the globe – in Germany, India, Mauritius, Nepal, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, the United States and Yemen, comprising 366 million speakers worldwide. In addition, Urdu – the official language of Pakistan – can be understood by speakers of Hindi, opening up yet another avenue of opportunity.
Currently, Hindi is gaining in global significance. For film buffs, Indian films (from the Indian film industry dubbed “Bollywood”) are the second most prolific in the world, behind Hollywood. Furthermore, Indian music is becoming increasingly influential in mainstream music in the United States, with elements from the language and traditional songs being integrated into songs by artists such as Sting, Missy Elliot, Redman, Shania Twain and Madonna. Many of these songs integrate not only Indian rhythms and melodies but also lyrics – you may find your Hindi helps you understand Jay-Z better!
In science, business, commerce, information systems, and digital media, India’s growth as a viable world economy has spurred investor interest in the region. Corporations looking to expand their operations and sales to the South Asian region will be recruiting people who are familiar with Hindi and the Indian culture to market their products to a Hindi-speaking population.
Regardless of the career path you follow, you will always be able to find a use for you Hindi language skills.
*Note: Combined, there are 18 official languages and over 300 dialects represented by the population of India. If you are interested in exploring these other language learning opportunities, you may want to check and see if your study abroad program offers language instruction in one of India’s other prevalent languages besides Hindi.