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Thread: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

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    Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Hi,
    I am trying to learn the language that real people use in the Hindi Belt in Northern India to talk to their families and buy things at the market. From what I have read, this language is called Hindustani, while Hindi is actually a more formal language taught in school. I have read that Hindustani has more Persian words than Sanskrit words and is closer to Urdu than it is to Modern Standard Hindi. This seems to be the case with Bollywood movies as well, which I have read are closer to Urdu in their language than to Suddh Hindi, and sometimes have whole songs in Urdu. So my question is this: If I want to be able to talk to people in the Hindi Belt and understand them, is it better for me to learn Urdu, or Hindi? It seems like Urdu would be the better option, so I don't waste my time learning tons of Sanskrit vocabulary that nobody uses. I already know how to write and read in Devanagari so that is not an issue.

    Shukriya!
    Please don't hesitate to correct me!

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Honestly if you need to use the language to just find your way through things, you don't need to worry about learning shudh language. Learning proper Urdu would be just as hard as leaning purist Hindi. When you're learning vocabulary, my suggestion would be to always pick the simpler word to memorize, regardless of its origins in either Urdu or Hindi.

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Quote Originally Posted by BelligerentPacifist View Post
    Honestly if you need to use the language to just find your way through things, you don't need to worry about learning shudh language. Learning proper Urdu would be just as hard as leaning purist Hindi. When you're learning vocabulary, my suggestion would be to always pick the simpler word to memorize, regardless of its origins in either Urdu or Hindi.
    I guess my question is whether I should be spending my time on a Teach Yourself Urdu course or on a Teach Yourself Hindi course. Which would have the most useful vocabulary base?
    Please don't hesitate to correct me!

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    I'd like to reiterate BP's comments above, but if you're confused about which book to use (out of those two), I'd suggest Snell's Teach Yourself Hindi. The font is much more friendlier (The TYU font is not beginner friendly and quite tiny) and the text has been used successfully by many learners. The book does however have its share of problems...

    David Mathew's book is also good, and maybe you can use it in conjunction if you can balance both scripts.

    PG
    Correccions en qualsevol idioma sempre són agraïdes.

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    I have all of these which I used to teach some people:

    Teach Yourself Urdu Complete Course by David Matthews, Mohamed Kasim Dalvi

    ISBN-10: 0071420193
    ISBN-13: 978-0071420198

    Colloquial Urdu: The Complete Course for Beginners

    Tej K. Bhatia

    ISBN-10: 0415135400
    ISBN-13: 978-0415135405

    Urdu: An Essential Grammar (Routledge Grammars)

    Ruth Schmidt (Author)

    ISBN-10: 0415163811
    ISBN-13: 978-0415163811

    I also have this:

    Colloquial Hindi: The Complete Course for Beginners

    ~ Tej Bhatia

     ISBN-10: 0415419565
     ISBN-13: 978-0415419567

    Most come with 1 or 2 CDs.

    I also have an old edition of Snell's Hindi.

    The font issue can be a problem for the Urdu learner except for Schmidt’s Essentials of Urdu Grammar.
    Font very clear here.

    I’m not a fan of the noorii nasta’liiq script (the font used almost everywhere) and much prefer nasx / naskh (used in Arabic books) but I don’t know of any “new” Urdu books that uses that. My old Platt’s “A Grammar of the Hindustani or Urdu Languageuses nasx – printed in India.
    Recently, an addition has been made to this collection by the reprinting of A Grammar of the Urdu or Hindustani Language by John Dowson.

    ISBN-10: 1113153261
    ISBN-13: 978-1113153265

    The old copy I have of Dobson also uses the nasx font. Don't know about the new edition.
    Utlub al-‘ilm min al-mahd ilal-laHd Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave (Ali ibn Abi Talib)

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Quote Originally Posted by BelligerentPacifist View Post
    Honestly if you need to use the language to just find your way through things, you don't need to worry about learning shudh language. Learning proper Urdu would be just as hard as leaning purist Hindi. When you're learning vocabulary, my suggestion would be to always pick the simpler word to memorize, regardless of its origins in either Urdu or Hindi.
    שתהיה לך שבת שלום || शुभम् भवतु ||

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    The everyday Urdu I learned in Pakistan serves quite well in India, but much of the Hindi I learned at university is not useful in Pakistan. And whenever I speak Urdu in India, people say, "Oh! you speak Hindi!" Whereas the Sanskritized stuff will just get baffled looks in Pakistan.

    Therefore, I think that Urdu is more useful, because it works on both sides of the border.

    Look at it this way: the language of Bollywood and romance and poetry is more Urdu than shuddh Hindi.

    I mean honestly, how many people, except for pandits in Varanasi, go around saying tatha instead of aur?

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Faylasoof View Post
    I have all of these which I used to teach some people:

    Teach Yourself Urdu Complete Course by David Matthews, Mohamed Kasim Dalvi

    ISBN-10: 0071420193
    ISBN-13: 978-0071420198

    Colloquial Urdu: The Complete Course for Beginners

    Tej K. Bhatia

    ISBN-10: 0415135400
    ISBN-13: 978-0415135405

    Urdu: An Essential Grammar (Routledge Grammars)

    Ruth Schmidt (Author)

    ISBN-10: 0415163811
    ISBN-13: 978-0415163811

    I also have this:

    Colloquial Hindi: The Complete Course for Beginners

    ~ Tej Bhatia

     ISBN-10: 0415419565
     ISBN-13: 978-0415419567

    Most come with 1 or 2 CDs.

    I also have an old edition of Snell's Hindi.

    The font issue can be a problem for the Urdu learner except for Schmidt’s Essentials of Urdu Grammar.
    Font very clear here.

    I’m not a fan of the noorii nasta’liiq script (the font used almost everywhere) and much prefer nasx / naskh (used in Arabic books) but I don’t know of any “new” Urdu books that uses that. My old Platt’s “A Grammar of the Hindustani or Urdu Languageuses nasx – printed in India.
    Recently, an addition has been made to this collection by the reprinting of A Grammar of the Urdu or Hindustani Language by John Dowson.

    ISBN-10: 1113153261
    ISBN-13: 978-1113153265

    The old copy I have of Dobson also uses the nasx font. Don't know about the new edition.
    Have you tried using Nafees Nastaleeq? It's a free download and so beautiful and easy to read. http://www.crulp.org/software/locali...Nastaleeq.html

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Thanks teaboy. nasta3liiq and even more so naskh are too Arabic for my taste. I like this nafees nastaliiq. Well I'd be naturally biased towards it: it was developed at my university! The CRULP team is doing a good job indeed.

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Yes, thanks I know about this and much prefer it to the font being used in nearly all of the books I mention above. If this were to be used insted then the font issue would melt away.

    There is only one Urdu-Hindi course I know that has no script issues at all - it is Romanised!

    A new course in Urdu and spoken Hindi for learners in Britain, Volume 1 By Ralph Russell. Link.

    (I met him. Great teacher, good friend.)
    Utlub al-‘ilm min al-mahd ilal-laHd Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave (Ali ibn Abi Talib)

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Quote Originally Posted by bjoleniacz View Post
    Hi,
    I am trying to learn the language that real people use in the Hindi Belt in Northern India to talk to their families and buy things at the market. From what I have read, this language is called Hindustani, while Hindi is actually a more formal language taught in school... I already know how to write and read in Devanagari so that is not an issue.
    In Hindi belt, you can use Hindi and hence learn it if you are not comfortable in the language. Learning Urdu won't be practically necessary because most Urdu speakers in India know Hindi but most Hindi speakers don't know Urdu. Hence for your purpose, you can only concentrate on Hindi.

    Also, don't get confused with Bollywood movies with their lyrics which have so many Urdu words. Most Indians don't understand meaning of all those Urdu words but still sing those songs. So movies are no reference places if you want to do conversations in India.
    तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय/ Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya < Lead me from darkness to Light>

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Quote Originally Posted by JaiHind View Post
    In Hindi belt, you can use Hindi and hence learn it if you are not comfortable in the language. Learning Urdu won't be practically necessary because most Urdu speakers in India know Hindi but most Hindi speakers don't know Urdu. Hence for your purpose, you can only concentrate on Hindi.

    Also, don't get confused with Bollywood movies with their lyrics which have so many Urdu words. Most Indians don't understand meaning of all those Urdu words but still sing those songs. So movies are no reference places if you want to do conversations in India.
    Strange logic! So, the best thing Bollywood film makers could do is to make the films in Hindi so that all Hindi speakers can understand everything in them. Urdu speakers (by your logic) would know Hindi anyway, so they will be able to enjoy them equally. As for speakers of rest of the languages, they too will probably know Hindi, just like Urdu speakers.

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    The logic is not strange, as I have also said earlier: Indian filmmakers target audiences in Islamic countries, too, and hence the language used in songs is much more Urdu than something often comprehensible in India. This was much truer earlier: now, the language of films and songs is coming more to what is actually spoken (listen to recent movie Barfi's songs, as example: excellent lyrics, sheer poetry as well as complete understandability).

    To answer the original question, Hindi and Urdu are simply two registers of the same language, Hindustani, so as long as you do not immerse yourself in too much Persian/Arabic-derived or Sanskrit-derived words, you should be fine and easily understood by most Hindi-Urdu speakers.

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    There is no simpler way to learn Hindustani than to learn Hindustani!

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Quote Originally Posted by bjoleniacz View Post
    Hi,
    I am trying to learn the language that real people use in the Hindi Belt in Northern India to talk to their families and buy things at the market. From what I have read, this language is called Hindustani, while Hindi is actually a more formal language taught in school. I have read that Hindustani has more Persian words than Sanskrit words and is closer to Urdu than it is to Modern Standard Hindi. This seems to be the case with Bollywood movies as well, which I have read are closer to Urdu in their language than to Suddh Hindi, and sometimes have whole songs in Urdu. So my question is this: If I want to be able to talk to people in the Hindi Belt and understand them, is it better for me to learn Urdu, or Hindi? It seems like Urdu would be the better option, so I don't waste my time learning tons of Sanskrit vocabulary that nobody uses. I already know how to write and read in Devanagari so that is not an issue.

    Shukriya!
    Quote Originally Posted by greatbear View Post
    To answer the original question, Hindi and Urdu are simply two registers of the same language, Hindustani, so as long as you do not immerse yourself in too much Persian/Arabic-derived or Sanskrit-derived words, you should be fine and easily understood by most Hindi-Urdu speakers.
    With regard to the truth about what Urdu and what Hindi is, please look at this thread, especially the works by Tara Chand and Faruqi: posts# 4 and 17
    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2140277

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Quote Originally Posted by greatbear View Post
    The logic is not strange, as I have also said earlier: Indian filmmakers target audiences in Islamic countries, too, and hence the language used in songs is much more Urdu than something often comprehensible in India. This was much truer earlier: now, the language of films and songs is coming more to what is actually spoken (listen to recent movie Barfi's songs, as example: excellent lyrics, sheer poetry as well as complete understandability).
    Do I understand the presented logic correctly that the songs or dialogues are (more) Urdu so that they can be understood in islamic countries? Is the consequence of this reasoning that Indian filmmakers use Urdu to gain popularity in the islamic countries, risking incomprehension in India?

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Quote Originally Posted by marrish View Post
    Do I understand the presented logic correctly that the songs or dialogues are (more) Urdu so that they can be understood in islamic countries? Is the consequence of this reasoning that Indian filmmakers use Urdu to gain popularity in the islamic countries, risking incomprehension in India?
    Songs are definitely more Urdu than movie dialogue, tending to use higher-level Urdu words that are not common in colloquial Hindi. Also, this should be a non-issue really. The movies do contain Sanskrit-based Hindi too! I have heard it, but as in reality, it is used from time to time by most speakers.
    Last edited by tonyspeed; 19th September 2012 at 3:07 AM.

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyspeed
    Songs are definitely more Urdu than movie dialogue, tending to use higher-level Urdu words that are not common in colloquial Hindi.
    Agree, even in modern cinema...for example, in the songs of the movie quoted by greatbear one finds the following Urdu words:
    برفی (barfi) ، اعلٰی (a'alaa) ، خوابوں (xaaboN) ، گم صم (gum-Sum) ، خرافات (xuraafaat) ، مولا (maulaa) ، پلک (palak) ، دل (dil) ، اف (uff)
    آوارگی (aawaragi)، بیکار (bekaar) ، حالات (Haalaat) ، غلطی (ghalati)
    آشیاں (aashiyaaN) ، خوشی (xushi) ، خوابوں (xaaboN) ، دیواریں (deewaaroN) ، پردے (parde) ، مستی (masti) ، مہینے (maheene) ، خرچہ (xarchah) ، ترانے (taraane) ، زمین (zameen)
    خاموشی (xaamoshi) ، خوابوں (xaaboN) ، خواہشیں (xaahisheN) ، زبان (zabaan) ، گفتگو (guftugu) ، جستجو (justuju)
    دل مجبور (dil-e-majboor) ، راس (raas) ، مکمل (mukammal) ، باقی (baaqi) ، یاد (yaad) ، قسمت (qismat) ، منظور (manzoor) ، راس (raas) ، بدستور (badastuur) ، مسلسل (musalsal) ، راہ (raah) ، قبول (qubuul) ، میسّر (muyassar)
    رستوں (rastoN) ، المست (almast) ، پہچانی (pehchaani) ، راہوں (raahoN) ، خیال (xayaal) ، زندگی (zindagi) ، نشے (nashe) ، تلاش (talaash) ، باغیچوں (baaGheechoN) ، فرصت (furSat) ، فضاؤں (fazaa'oN) ، ہواؤں (hawaa'on) ، حال (Haal)
    شروع (shuru'u) ، خیال (xayaal) ، جواں (jawaaN) ، خوابوں (xaaboN)
    مست (mast) ، زبردست (zabardast) ، بطخ (battax) ، مصالح (maSaalaH) ، نیست و نابود (nist-o-naaboud)
    Of course, many of these are even used (perhaps more than the Hindi/shudh variety) and considered part of colloquial Hindi. Most movies probably wouldn't have dialogues like (from GT): "tum mere hirde meiN reh te/ti ho" , "mujhse truti hoga'i" , "meri sthiti buri hai" , "jo upalabdh hai woh svikaar karo. dusre ki akaanksha chhoRo"

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alfaaz View Post
    Agree, even in modern cinema...for example, in the songs of the movie quoted by greatbear one finds the following Urdu words:
    برفی (barfi) ، اعلٰی (a'alaa) ، خوابوں (xaaboN) ، گم صم (gum-Sum) ، خرافات (xuraafaat) ، مولا (maulaa) ، پلک (palak) ، دل (dil) ، اف (uff)
    آوارگی (aawaragi)، بیکار (bekaar) ، حالات (Haalaat) ، غلطی (ghalati)
    آشیاں (aashiyaaN) ، خوشی (xushi) ، خوابوں (xaaboN) ، دیواریں (deewaaroN) ، پردے (parde) ، مستی (masti) ، مہینے (maheene) ، خرچہ (xarchah) ، ترانے (taraane) ، زمین (zameen)
    خاموشی (xaamoshi) ، خوابوں (xaaboN) ، خواہشیں (xaahisheN) ، زبان (zabaan) ، گفتگو (guftugu) ، جستجو (justuju)
    دل مجبور (dil-e-majboor) ، راس (raas) ، مکمل (mukammal) ، باقی (baaqi) ، یاد (yaad) ، قسمت (qismat) ، منظور (manzoor) ، راس (raas) ، بدستور (badastuur) ، مسلسل (musalsal) ، راہ (raah) ، قبول (qubuul) ، میسّر (muyassar)
    رستوں (rastoN) ، المست (almast) ، پہچانی (pehchaani) ، راہوں (raahoN) ، خیال (xayaal) ، زندگی (zindagi) ، نشے (nashe) ، تلاش (talaash) ، باغیچوں (baaGheechoN) ، فرصت (furSat) ، فضاؤں (fazaa'oN) ، ہواؤں (hawaa'on) ، حال (Haal)
    شروع (shuru'u) ، خیال (xayaal) ، جواں (jawaaN) ، خوابوں (xaaboN)
    مست (mast) ، زبردست (zabardast) ، بطخ (battax) ، مصالح (maSaalaH) ، نیست و نابود (nist-o-naaboud)
    Of course, many of these are even used (perhaps more than the Hindi/shudh variety) and considered part of colloquial Hindi.
    They are not just "considered" part of colloquial Hindi, Alfaaz, but every one of those words is very much Hindi (and also Urdu). It is words like "anjuman" that are getting rarer as finally Hindi filmmakers are coming of age: people are now seeing what they want, not whatever is available to them. Modern-day Hindi films are refreshing not just because of better stories better told, but also for having dialogues closer to what Indian speakers actually speak.

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    Re: Best way to learn Hindustani: Learn Urdu or Hindi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alfaaz View Post
    Agree, even in modern cinema...for example, in the songs of the movie quoted by greatbear one finds the following Urdu words:
    برفی (barfi) ، اعلٰی (a'alaa) ، خوابوں (xaaboN) ، گم صم (gum-Sum) ، خرافات (xuraafaat) ، مولا (maulaa) ، پلک (palak) ، دل (dil) ، اف (uff) .....
    ……….
    شروع (shuru'u) ، خیال (xayaal) ، جواں (jawaaN) ، خوابوں (xaaboN)
    مست (mast) ، زبردست (zabardast) ، بطخ (battax) ، مصالح (maSaalaH) ، نیست و نابود (nist-o-naaboud)
    Of course, many of these are even used (perhaps more than the Hindi/shudh variety) and considered part of colloquial Hindi. Most movies probably wouldn't have dialogues like (from GT): "tum mere hirde meiN reh te/ti ho" , "mujhse truti hoga'i" , "meri sthiti buri hai" , "jo upalabdh hai woh svikaar karo. dusre ki akaanksha chhoRo"
    True enough, Alfaaz SaaHib! These words are not only used in films and Indian dramas -both with a wide audience and appeal- but also in common parlance, i.e. colloquial Hindi.
    Utlub al-‘ilm min al-mahd ilal-laHd Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave (Ali ibn Abi Talib)

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