Hindi is one of the world’s “Big Five” languages alongside English, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic. More than half a billion people speak it, and about half of those are native speakers, mostly in northern India.
Hindi became the lingua franca of India when the British were expelled in 1947. English remained a national language, but the expectation was that it would be dropped from the constitution after 15 years of independence. Today, both are among the 23 official languages of India. This is only the tip of the iceberg. More than 1,600 spoken languages are used in this culturally diverse country.
Here are some introductory words in Hindi. The word for India is Bhaarat and the word for Indian is bhartiya. One often sees the phrase desi meaning “Indian”, as in, “the way Indians do things.” This phrase comes from the other word desh, or “country” and deshi, meaning “someone from a country.”