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Your Ultimate Hindi Pronunciation Guide

Learning correct Hindi pronunciation is vital to polishing your Hindi language skills. It helps you sound like a native Hindi speaker, making Hindi pronunciation for beginners essential.

When it comes to Hindi phrases, pronunciation also makes communication more effective. This is because just like in English, a seemingly small change in syllable or replacement of a letter in Hindi can turn the meaning of a word upside down.

Pronouncing words incorrectly not only distorts the beauty of the language, but also creates a lot of confusion. On the other hand, natural and flawless speech is a sign of thorough command over the Hindi language.

As we move forward into this article, you’ll get a better picture of why pronunciation is so important while learning Hindi. For now, we’ve just scratched the surface, and there’s a lot more to explore!

So, keep your spirits up and let’s get started with our guide to Hindi pronunciation for beginners.

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1. The Hindi Language and its Writing System

The first step toward understanding Hindi pronunciation (alphabet) is to have a rough overview of the writing system that applies to the Hindi language. The Hindi language uses Devanagari script, where it follows the alphasyllabary writing system.

“Alphasyllabary” means that vowels and consonants are written as a unit. In each unit, the consonant forms the base and the vowel follows it.

Is all of this messing with your head and making you nervous? Maybe it’s time for you to check out our Hindi alphabet page for a better understanding of what we’re talking about. A little later on, we’ll start to go over Hindi pronunciation for English words and Hindi pronunciation to English

2. Importance of Learning Hindi Alphabets

Correct Pronunciation

The best thing about the Hindi language is that it’s read exactly the way it’s written; that’s why Hindi alphabets and pronunciation go hand-in-hand. So, once you’re well-acquainted with its alphabets and the diacritics, it becomes quite easy to pronounce the words correctly.

While things may not seem so easy initially, when you’re just a beginner, we’ve got your back! HindiPod101 will teach you a variety of ways to learn the pronunciation of the eleven vowels and thirty-five consonants in Hindi.

You can easily download a Hindi alphabets pronunciation in English PDF, which is available on our website and start practicing anytime, anywhere. By the time you know all the Hindi alphabets by heart, you’ll have won half the battle already.

You can also visit our Hindi to English pronunciation dictionary, and you can translate English to Hindi with pronunciation for any word that comes to mind. And not only that, but we’ve also made it even more user-friendly with our Hindi word pronunciation audios for many words.

In short, the dictionary also helps you with English to Hindi pronunciation & translation. It works as a great Hindi pronunciation app for all levels of learners who are looking for a one-stop solution for word pronunciation, English to Hindi.

3. The Hindi Transliteration System for Beginners

Secrets to Learning

In case you’ve been wondering—yes, Hindi transliteration is possible with the use of English alphabets. But there’s a catch to it. The thing is, in Hindi, there’s a handful of sounds and alphabets which don’t appear in the English language. And this changes the whole story. Here’s what we mean about the Hindi pronunciation alphabet.

Unless and until you’re familiar with the whole Hindi Varnamala pronunciation in English, chances are you’ll end up struggling with the transliteration too.

In addition to that, Indians use a multitude of English words on a day-to-day basis while speaking in Hindi. However, we have a peculiar Hindi pronunciation of English alphabets. For example, the “th” in “thus” pronunciation in Hindi is transcribed as ‘द ’ (-D) and “th” in “think” is written as in ‘थ ’ (-TH) in Hindi. The same goes for the two different sounds of “-sh.”

In the sections below, we’ll tell you more about the different sounds in the Hindi language and how these sounds will help you learn English pronunciation in Hindi.

4. Sounds

Introduction

We’ll be covering two basic groups of sounds while going over Hindi pronunciation of alphabets:

Vowel Sounds

Consonant Sounds

1- Vowel Sounds for an English Native Speaker

Here’s a piece of good news! Being an English speaker, you already know almost all of the Hindi vowels’ pronunciations. Let’s see how these Hindi vowel sounds are used in various English words.

1. On the Basis of Parts of Mouth Involved

Throat: - अ [a] and आ [aa]

Palate: - इ [i] and ई [ii]

Retroflex: - ऋ [ri] and ॠ [rri]

Throat and Lips: - ओ [o] and औ [au]

Throat and Palate: - ए [e] and ऐ [ai]

Lips: - उ [u] and ऊ [uu]

Nasal: - अं [an]

2. Examples of English Words Using Similar Hindi Vowel Sounds

The अ (a) sound is used as [a] in “alone,” “about,” “aloof,” and “award,” or as [u] in “stuff,” and “bud.”

The आ (aa) sound is used as [a] in “farm,” “farmer,” “bark,” “large,” and “father.”

The इ (i) sound is used as [i] in “still,” “fit,” “live,” and “pick.”

The ई (ii) sound is used as [e] in “eke” or as [ea] in “lean,” as [ee] in “seep,” etc.

The उ (u) sound is used as [u] in “full” and “put,” or as [oo] in “book,” and “foot.”

The ऊ (uu) sound is used as [oo] in “fool” and “droop,” or as [ou] in “you,” or as [ue] in “true.”

The ऋ (ri) sound is used as [rhy] in “rhythm.”

The ॠ (rri) sound is used as the conjugated sound of [r] and [rhy] as above.

The ए (e) sound is used as [e] in “deck,” “fed,” and “fellow,” or, with a slightly longer stretch, as [a] in “late,” or [ai] in “bail” and “available” pronunciation, in Hindi.

The ऐ (ai) sound is used as [a] in “as,” “sat,” “shallow,” and “back.”

The ओ (o) sound is used as [o] in “flow” and “no,” or as [ou] in “four.”

The औ (au) sound is used as a stressed and long sound of [o] in “college” and “dollar.”

The अं(an) sound is used as [n] in “funk” and “donkey.” 

2- Consonant Sounds

When talking about the consonants in Hindi, keep in mind that plenty of them produce the same sound as English consonants. On the other hand, some are completely new for a beginner and require practice. As you learn to pronounce Hindi words, you may run into a few bumps in the road,but the practice is well worth it!

1. Sounds from the Throat

(Familiar Sounds)

क (k)— This sound is equivalent to the [k] in “king” and “kiss,” as well as the [c] in “carb” and “coffee.”

(g) — This sound is equivalent to the [g] in “gross,” “great,” and “group.”

घ (gh) — This is the coupled sound of [g] + [h] = [gh], as in “ghost” and “ghastly.”

(Unfamiliar Sounds)

ख (kh) — This is the coupled sound of [k] + [h] = [kh], as in “Khyber.”

(n)— This is pronounced as the [gn] in “gnome.” It doesn’t produce a particular sound. Instead, it’s just used for articulation of the tongue while pronouncing the next word.

2. Sounds from the Palate

(Familiar Sounds)

च (c) — This is pronounced as the [ch] in “cherry,” “chalk,” and “chips.”

ज (j) — This is pronounced as the [j] in “juice,” “jam,” and “jaguar.”

(Unfamiliar Sounds)

छ (ch)— The tongue touches a bit away from the teeth (to the inner-side) while pronouncing [ch] as in “chew.” Imagine speaking the “ch” with an “h” sound in it.

झ (jh)— This is produced using the nasal sounds while the tongue touches the upper part of the mouth cavity.

(n)— This is just like the [gn] of “gnome,” with a slight upward movement of the tongue. It has no particular sound; it’s just for articulation while speaking.

3. Retroflex Sounds

(Familiar Sounds)

ट (t) — This is pronounced as the [t] in “tablet,” “tight,” and “typical.”

ड (d) — This is pronounced as the [d] in “dot,” “date,” and “double.”

(Unfamiliar Sounds)

ठ (th)— This is pronounced like the hard sound of [t]. It’s not available in English.

ढ (dh)— This is the coupled sound of [d] + [h] = [dh]. It’s not available in English, but can be remembered as the [dh] in the Indian musical instrument dhol.

ण (n) — This is another new sound for a beginner and is quite difficult to pronounce. First, let’s look at how your mouth parts are used to produce this nasal sound. As you can remember, in the above न sound, the roots of the teeth and tongue touch each other. But for ण, the key is to maintain a little gap between the tongue and the teeth.

4. Dental Sounds

(Familiar Sounds)

थ (TH) — This is pronounced as the [th] in “thermos,” “thimble,” “theology,” and “thought.”

द (D) — This is pronounced as the [th] in “there,” “them,” and “that.”

न (N)— (This is also a nasal sound.) It’s pronounced as the [n] in “name,” “man,” and “never.”

(Unfamiliar Sounds)

त (T)— This is pronounced as the soft sound of [t] as used in the Italian pronunciation of “pasta.” English speakers use it in a milder form while saying “pizza” (pii-t-zaa).

ध (DH)— This sound isn’t available in English. Again, this is a nasal sound produced by coupling soft [D] + [h] = [DH].

5. Sounds from the Lips

(Familiar Sounds)

प (p)— This is pronounced as the [p] in “pink,” “pup,” and “pure.”

ब (b)— This is pronounced as the [b] in “bud,” “black,” and “best.”

भ (bh)— This is the coupled sound of [b] + [h] = [bh]. It’s pronounced like it is in the word “abhorrent.”

म (m)— (This is also a nasal sound.) It’s pronounced as the [m] in “must,” “March,” and “mask.”

(Unfamiliar Sounds)

(ph) — This is the sound of [f] if pronounced with closed lips or [f] in the German language.

6. Semi-Vowels

य (y)—  This is pronounced as the [y] in “yes,” “yuck,” and “yesterday.”

र (r)— This is pronounced as the [r] in “red,” “really,” and “road.”

ल (L)— This is pronounced as the [l] in “lust,” “light,” and “luck.”

व (v)— This is pronounced as the [v] in “vow,” “view,” and “vest.”

7. Sibilants

श (s)— To pronounce this, the tongue touches the upper part of the mouth cavity. It sounds like the [sh] in “ship,” “shrink,” and “shout.”

ष (s)— To pronounce this, the tongue touches the roots of the teeth.

स (S)— This is pronounced as the [s] in “simple,” “seduce,” and “solid.”

8. Fricative

ह (h)— This is pronounced as the [h] in “hat,” “help,” and “how.”

9. Peculiar Coupled Sounds

ज्ञ (gy)— This is the coupled sound of [j] + [n] = [jn].

त्र (Tr)— This is the coupled sound of soft [T] + [r] = [Tr]. It’s pronounced like in the Italian pronunciation of “restaurant.”

क्ष (ks)— This is the coupled sound of [k] + [s] + [h] = [ks]. It’s a bit similar to [x].

श्र (sr)— This is the coupled sound of [s] + [h] + [r] = [sr]. It’s pronounced as the [shr] in “shrimp” and “shriek.”

10. Half Consonant Sounds

Half consonant sounds are created by joining two letters, which is done by chopping off the first letter and attaching it to the second to make a combined sound.

All consonants have an inbuilt -a vowel, also known as schwa. But when the consonant is pronounced with the vowel, it becomes a half consonant.

Example:

Think of the English word “stabbed.” There’s an extra force when pronouncing the (-bb) in it. While in Hindi, half consonant sounds may not always follow a similar example, it’s quite similar to that.

For the Hindi word SvaaD, which means “taste,” the combined letters are -Sa and -va. Here, the first letter, -Sa, has been chopped to become -S and then it’s attached to the second letter, which is -va. This makes it SvaaD.

Other Examples of Half Consonants:

लज्जा (Lajjaa) [”Shame”] = La + j + ja (Chopping middle ja)

हल्का (haLkaa) [”Lightweight”] = ha + L + Ka (Chopping La)

मक्खन (makkhaN) [”Butter”] = ma + k + kha + Na (Chopping Ka)

11. Foreign Sounds / Modified Consonants

क़ (q): This is pronounced as the sound of the [k] produced from the throat; it’s equal to [q] in English (e.g. “Quran”).

ख़: This is pronounced as the sound of the [kh] produced from the throat. It sounds like the [kh] used in “Khan” and “Akhtar,” and is similar to the “Bach.”

ग़: This is pronounced as thesound of the [g] produced from the throat, like in the word “Ghalib.”

ज़ (z): This is pronounced asthe [z] in “zebra” and “zest.”

ड़: Although it’s just another variation of [d], you won’t find this sound in the English language. To pronounce ड़ correctly, make sure that your tongue is far away from your teeth, and touches the back portion of the roof of your mouth. For more clarity, you can also listen to the Hindi pronunciation audio for the word ‘सक’ (sadak) which means “road.”

ढ़: This sound is also not available in English. It’s a coupled sound of [dh].

फ़ (f): This is pronounced as the [f] in “fast,” “flower,” and “cuff.”

ळ: This is pronounced as the sound of [l] when the tongue almost touches the throat.

5. Top Five Pronunciation Mistakes to Avoid

Mistakes

Hindi words’ and phrases’ pronunciation can take a while to get the hang of. No matter how hard you try, some slip-ups are bound to happen on the path to learning a new language. One of the most inevitable of them is pronunciation mistakes. What are the most common pronunciation mistakes that foreigners make? Read on to see for yourself. And don’t forget to check out the Top 10 Hardest Hindi words to pronounce!

Confusion over the pronunciation of t and T.

If you’re an English speaker, you’re more accustomed to the hard “t” sound (as in “stop”), but less accustomed to the soft “T” sound (as in pasta in an Italian accent). In Hindi, both of these sounds are quite commonly spoken. And honestly, it’s not just about the sound. Interchanging “t” and “T” can make a word lose its meaning completely.

Confusion over the pronunciation of g and gh.

Another pair of sounds that could make your head spin is that of “g” and “gh.” The possibility of confusion arises for beginners because the “gh” sound is quite new to them. So, this is another pronunciation issue you need to be aware of.

Confusion over the pronunciation of s and S.

Learners often face problems when trying to make out the difference between “s” and “S.” We’ve already explained above how there are three different sounds of “S” produced in Hindi. Believe it or not, even native speakers get confused with these sounds and often make a lot of mistakes.

Confusion over the pronunciation of D and DH.

Similar to the above sound confusions, another most common mistake made by Hindi learners is differentiating between “D” and “DH.” While both of these are soft sounds, the first sound is less aspirated than the second.

Incorrect Usage of Diacritics.

Another mind-wrenching technicality is the use of diacritics. And the diacritics scare native speakers just as much as they scare non-native speakers. Hence, this is again something you need to pay attention to for proper Hindi pronunciation.

6. Other Relevant Features of Hindi Pronunciation

Correct Pronunciation

To wrap up our Hindi lesson about pronunciation, let’s go over a couple more important aspects of the language to keep in mind.

1 - Tone

With so many tones and dialects spoken all over India, practicing authentic Hindi pronunciation becomes an essential requirement for a beginner.

Take for example the state of West Bengal, where you can see people speaking the same Hindi alphabets with Bengali pronunciation. Watch it transform into an entirely new language.

“Bose” is a Bengali surname that’s written and spoken as बोस (boS) in Hindi. But the same spelling is pronounced as बोश (bos) as in “Bo-sh” in Bengali.

2 - Homonyms

Some words sound similar, but have completely different meanings. Using one wrong letter could lead to a lot of confusion and alter the whole meaning of the word.

Examples:

जूठा (juuthaa) and झूठा (jhuuthaa). (The first word means “leftover,” whereas the latter word means “liar.”)

आसन (aaSaN) and आसान (aaSaaN). (The first word means “a place to sit,” whereas the second word means “easy.”)

बाग़ (baag) and बाघ (baagh). (The first word means “garden” and the second word means “tiger.”)

7. Why is Correct Pronunciation in Hindi Important?

Improve your pronunciation!

Proper pronunciation is important, very important. Some say it’s even more important than getting the grammar perfectly correct! Why would this be?

1) Good Understanding 

If communicating with native speakers matters to you when learning Hindi, you need to be understood when you talk, and you need to be able to understand the native speakers. After all, without understanding, the purpose of language is null and void! In order to be understood, you need to be able to speak the language in a way that is familiar to native speakers, or at least recognizable by them. 

When learning to speak a new language, you will learn that the more you progress the more intricate it becomes! For instance, almost every language has vocabulary that may look the same in writing, but because the words are pronounced differently, they have very different meanings. This means that you may say a word in Hindi, and because of a slight change in pronunciation, the meaning of the word changes completely. Understandably, this can make for pretty embarrassing situations! At worst, your mispronounced Hindi will sound garbled to a native speaker. 

Knowing the nuances of how a word or letter is pronounced will also help you to understand spoken Hindi better.

No worries if this feels hard; you’re learning, and with our help at HindiPod101, you will not have a problem with mispronunciation if you follow our advice and examples carefully.

2) Good Communication 

Not pronouncing Hindi or any other language correctly can lead to a lot of frustration because you’re unable to express what you mean, and you will not be understood correctly. Even if you have total knowledge of Hindi grammar, and can write it like a native, not knowing how to speak it properly will only make for very frustrating communication all around.

3) A Good Impression 

Even if you’re only a beginner, it is possible to speak any language correctly. This way, you are bound to make a good impression on native speakers, and when you’re more fluent, you will be likely to garner a lot more respect than a fumbling newbie speaker who doesn’t care much for correct pronunciation. 

People often have a lot of patience for someone who is learning to speak a new language, but native speakers are more likely to address you and engage with you in conversation if you work hard on your accent. This is simply because you’ll be able to understand one another! So, proficiency in pronunciation can mean the difference between having none or plenty of Hindi speaking friends. It will also serve you well in the workplace, and make you popular with your Hindi speaking managers and employers or employees.

Learning to speak Hindi properly is also a sign of respect for not only the language, but also the native speakers and their customs. 

8. Secrets to Learning the Correct Hindi Pronunciation

Improve Pronunciation

1) Use voice recording tools to perfect your pronunciation

HindiPod101 has plenty of resources to help you with your Hindi pronunciation, so be sure to make thorough use of our recordings with native Hindi speakers. These are available not only to demonstrate to you how you should pronounce Hindi vocabulary, but also sentences and dialogues. Watch and listen to these over and over again to train your ear, and watch the teacher’s mouth as she speaks in the video lessons. Then, copy the speech as best you can. Later, you can record yourself to hear if you sound like a native speaker and compare yourself with native speakers. Great for self-motivation.

2) Practice in front of the mirror.

And see that you’re copying the correct lip and mouth movements.

3) Use our HindiPod101 dictionary!

Use the Hindi dictionary provided by HindiPod101 to look up words and listen to the audio pronunciation. This will go a long way towards giving you an idea of how to pronounce a word or letter correctly.

4) Train your ear to the language!

Make an effort to listen often to Hindi music and recorded books, and watch plenty of Hindi movies and/or TV shows in Hindi. This will train your ear to the language, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you pick up the accent. Remember, this is the way we learned to speak when we were young - mostly by listening to the adults talking, and repeating what they say!

5) Practice, practice, practice… 

Repetition of the same thing may be boring, but in learning a new language, you’re creating new pathways in your brain. For these to remain and become habitual, you will need to repeat the correct pronunciation often.

6) Make friends with a native Hindi speaker.

Don’t be shy to address them in Hindi! Ask them to correct you when you make a pronunciation mistake - this is a wonderful way to practice and learn the language first-hand, and also to make new friends.

7) Practice your pronunciation with your Hindi teacher!

If you’re a serious student and don’t know where to meet native Hindi speakers, consider investing in HindiPod101’s Premium PLUS plan. This means you will have your own native Hindi teacher available to practice your pronunciation with, and much more! Send recordings of yourself speaking Hindi and get feedback from your Hindi teacher.

9. Flawless Hindi Pronunciation with HindiPod101

We hope you learned a lot with our Hindi pronunciation guide, and that your Hindi vocabulary and pronunciation skills are strengthened because of it!

HindiPod101.com is the biggest platform to help you learn Hindi in a faster and smarter way. We have all the necessary and advanced tools to make your Hindi pronunciation smooth as silk.

With our online dictionary, latest voice recorder, audio lessons, fun reading materials, and downloadable PDFs, Hindi learners can sharpen their Hindi pronunciation and communication skills like a native speaker.

Simply sign up on our homepage and you’ll find many resources to empower your Hindi learning experience like never before.

Also feel free to download our mobile application and start learning anywhere, anytime!

10. How to Download Your Free Guide to Beginner Hindi

Download Your FREE Guide to Beginner Hindi!

If you want to master the Hindi language and become fluent, you must learn the Hindi alphabet letters first. And you need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Hindi learning beginners!

FREE Hindi eBook

Download your FREE Hindi practice sheets PDF today and learn the Hindi language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

Log in with Your Free Lifetime Account and we’ll give you a bundle of PDF cheat sheet including Survival Phrases, Romantic Lines, Learning Tips… — absolutely FREE!

3 Reasons to Learn Hindi Through PDF Lessons

Let’s now take a closer look at how studying Hindi lessons in PDF format can help you reach your dream in up to half the time of normal video or audio lessons!

① Saves Minutes on Your Data Plan

Learning Hindi through PDF lessons can dramatically reduce your data use. Once a lesson or tool is downloaded, you can then access it offline via your computer or smartphone any time or place regardless of Internet access. And once you’ve downloaded the Hindi lessons in PDF format, you can actually access them faster than logging in and trying to do so via a live site. So not only will learning Hindi using PDF lessons save minutes on your data plan—it will save you some significant time as well as the lessons add up!

② Print and Take All Hindi Lessons and PDF Tools With You Anywhere

Sometimes, a tiny smartphone screen just isn’t adequate, especially when you are trying to learn something new. The great thing about PDF lessons, tools or files is that they can be quickly printed and taken anywhere after you download them. In fact, printing out Hindi lessons in PDF format can actually save you time when compared to going through the material on a smartphone with a small screen—even with the extra printing time!

③ Great Study Tool to Boost Retention and Mastery

Studying video or audio lessons online is a great way to learn a language because students can play and rewind sections as many times as needed until the lesson is mastered. But when you review the same Hindi lessons again in PDF format, an incredible thing happens: your retention dramatically improves! Thanks to Time Spaced Repetition, seeing the information again in written format helps reinforce the information in your mind and improves both retention and recall. The benefits of learning Hindi using PDF lessons quickly add up to significant time savings for you, your data plan, and your dream of learning a new language!

Why are we giving it away?

Learning to read and write is a must for all beginners. Although you get video lessons on how to write in Hindi at HindiPod101, you’ll still need physical worksheets to practice on. That’s why you’re getting this printable tutorial PDFs as a gift.

11. Related Lessons

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Do you know how to say hello in Hindi? It’s the most basic phrase that you’ll need to say and hear in everyday life. If you don’t know yet, learn 15 ways to say hello and greet others in Hindi. Why 15? The more variations you know, the more you can speak and the more fluent you become!
How to Introduce Yourself in Hindi
Can you introduce yourself in Hindi? Don’t worry! Check out the 10 Hindi Lines You Need To Introduce Yourself with this free Review Sheet. From “My name is…“ and “I live in…” down to “My hobbies are…” Just review the 10 lines. It will only take you 2 minutes. Then, introduce yourself in the comment section below!
Hindi Alphabet
Learn everything you need to know about the Hindi alphabet. At HindiPod101, we introduce you to Hindi writing in simple, easy-to-follow steps, and you can ask for advice or help anywhere along the way. It is important to master the Hindi alphabet completely from the start.
How to Say Thank You in Hindi
Has anyone thanked you today? We will. Thank you for reading this article and learning with us! In fact, today, you’ll learn the many different ways to say “Thank You” in Hindi. It’s one of the most important Hindi phrases. Check it out and watch the video too to practice your pronunciation.

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