Why Learn Hindi ?
Did you know that studying a second language, like Hindi, can improve a student’s skills and grades in math and English and can improve entrance exam scores— SATs, ACTs, GREs, MCATs, and LSATs?
Research has shown that math and verbal SAT scores climb higher with each additional year of foreign language study, which means that longer one studies a foreign language, the stronger their skills become to succeed in school. Studying an additional language like Hindi can improve one’s analytic and interpretive capacities. Three or more years of language study on one’s record will catch the eye of anyone reading job or college application. If one has already learned Hindi at home, expanding the knowledge of its vocabulary, grammar, culture, and literature — at the same time one is learning English—will also improve one’s chances for success in college and in your career.
Not only English
"I speak English, so I don't have to learn any other language...."
Everyone speaks English, right? Well, certainly not everyone speaks English. According to the CIA World Fact Book, only 5.6 % of the world's total population speaks English as a primary language. That number doubles when people who speak English as a second or third language are counted. By conservative estimates, that means that well over four-fifths of the world's population does not speak English.
It's true that English has become a global lingua franca over the past several decades. This fact, however, really should have little effect on your decision to learn a second language. The attitude that English alone is enough in fact creates self-imposed limitations. To remain monolingual is to stunt your educational development, to restrict your communication and thinking abilities, and to deny yourself the ability to fully appreciate and understand the world in which you live. Learning another language, like Hindi, opens up new opportunities and gives you perspectives that you might never have encountered otherwise. Personal, professional, social, and economic considerations all point to the advantages of learning second languages.
Is Hindi a good choice for a second language?
Hindi is the language of poetry, wisdom, mystery, philosophy and song. Hindi is the second most spoken language in the world, after Chinese. About 500 million people speak Hindi, in India and abroad, and the total number of people who can understand the language may be 800 million. A 1997 survey found that 66% of all Indians can speak Hindi, and 77% of the Indians regard Hindi as "one language across the nation". More than 180 million people in India regard Hindi as their mother tongue. Another 300 million use it as second language. Outside of India, there are 100,000 Hindi speakers in USA; 685,170 Hindi speakers in Mauritius; 890,292 Hindi speakers in South Africa; 232,760 Hindi speakers in Yemen; 147,000 Hindi speakers in Uganda; 5,000 Hindi speakers in Singapore; 20,000 Hindi speakers in New Zealand; 30,000 Hindi speakers in Germany.
Urdu, the official language of Pakistan, is very similar to Hindi but written using the Arabic script instead of Devnagari script which Hindi uses. Urdu is spoken by about 41 million people in Pakistan and other countries. Hindi became one of the official languages of India on January 26, 1965. and it is a minority language in a number of countries, including Fiji, Mauritius, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and United Arab Emirates.
Hindi is generally classified in the Central Zone of the Indo-Aryan languages. Hindi is the predominant language in the states and territories of Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, as well as the cities of Bombay and Hyderabad. It is not easy to delimit the borders of the Hindi speaking region.
Hindi serves as a window to desi culture and desi values. Reading Hindi literature introduces students to desi values like respect for elders and parents, “tyag” – sacrifice personal needs for greater good of family or community, Ahimsa – non violence both in physical and spiritual nature, Hospitality inherent in “Athithi devo bhava” or “Guest is God” maxim, sacredness and spirituality of nature and presence of God in every natural creation man, animal and plant, honor and respect for one’s work, tools and food. Study of Hindi literature also brings to lives social, cultural, mythological and historical heroes whose lives re-emphasize the values as inherent in desi marriages, family and community behavior and duties and responsibilities of an individual in various phases of life as a child, adult, householder and retiree.