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Lesson Transcript

Hi!
Welcome to Introduction to Hindi.
My name is Alisha and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone! I'm Venus.
In this lesson, you'll learn the basics of Hindi pronunciation.
English vs. Hindi sounds
Just like English, Hindi also has consonants and vowels.
Hindi mainly has 33 consonants and 11 vowels. If you learn the sounds of these consonants and vowels, you will be able to pronounce every single word in Hindi.
There are also two additional consonants and two additional vowels, as well as a few conjuncts, but you don't have to worry about them right now.
Yes, because once you are comfortable with the 33 main consonants and the 11 vowels, the rest will come pretty easily.
It may seem like a difficult task, but actually, you already know many of these sounds in English.
So, how about we first take a look at some of the consonants in Hindi.
Yes, let's begin with some unaspirated consonants along with their aspirated counterparts.
We won't be working on the consonants in the order they occur in the Hindi alphabet system, simply because some of them are more commonly used than others. We will take a look at these in order when we get to the lesson on writing.
Aspirated and Unaspirated Consonants in Hindi
Hindi consonants are known as vyṅjaN or व्यंजन
Yes, you are already familiar with many of them because the sounds already exist in English or are quite similar to certain sounds in English.
For example, the first consonant in Hindi is k (क), which is the same as the English alphabet "k".
But the next one doesn't exist in English.
Yes, this one is kh (ख). When you say k (क) without aspiration, you get k (क), but when you say it with aspiration, it becomes kh (ख).
Interesting. But let me first explain what aspirated and unaspirated sounds are. In very simple words, we can say that aspirated sounds are spoken with a burst of air and an unaspirated sound isn't.
For example, the sound of "h" in the English word "hat". Saying this sound involves a forceful expulsion of air. Try it yourself.
"Ha"
"Ha"
In Hindi, when you say k (क), there is no forceful expulsion of air. But when you say kh (ख), you will feel yourself expelling the air from your mouth. Try it yourself and see the difference.
k (क)
kh (ख)
Next, let's take a look at g (ग) which is the same as the sound of "g" in the English word "game".
Yes, when you say g (ग) without aspiration, you get g (ग), but when you say it with aspiration, you get gh (घ)
Yes, that's the next consonant.
It works the same way for some other consonants too.
Yes, like c (च) is the same as "ch" in the English word "chain", without aspiration. When you say c (च) with aspiration, it becomes ch (छ)
Similarly, we have
j (ज) and jh (झ)
t (ट) and th (ठ)
d (ड) and dh (ढ)
T (त) and TH (थ)
D (द) and DH (ध)
p (प) and ph (फ)
b (ब) and bh (भ)
But what about the other consonants?
Definitely, that doesn't complete our list of consonant sounds. Now, let's take a look at some of the other consonants and how they sound.
A Few More Important Consonants
Let's first take a look at the consonant h (ह). It sounds like the sound of "h" in the English word "hug".
We also have y (य) which is like the sound of "y" in the English word "yacht".
There are two letters that sound like the sound of "sh" in the English word "share".
Yes, these are श and ष. They sound the same when spoken. We will use the small letter s to denote them both from now on.
We also have a sound that is similar to the English sound "s", like in the word "sun". This is S (स)
This one is स and we will use the capital S from now on when we refer to it.
Okay, what's next?
We also have N
न = N
N is just the sound of the English letter "n".
r (र) is same as the sound of "r" in say "rat".
L (ल) is same as the sound of "l" in say "lamb".
m (म) is the same as the sound of "m" in "Mars".
v (व) is the same as the sound of "w" in say "work".
Are there any other consonants in Hindi that we haven't discussed?
We also have n.
ण = n
That may seem to be a difficult sound as it doesn't exist in English.
Just try saying N but roll back your tongue slightly.
N
But aren't we still missing two consonants?
Yes, we are! We also have ṅ (ङ) and n (ञ), but we don't have to worry much about them since they aren't used alone ever.
So, now that we have taken a look at the consonants, how about we take a quick look at the vowels too.
The Hindi Vowels.
The Hindi vowels are known as Svar (स्वर)
There are 11 main vowels in Hindi and most of them are the same as in English.
For example, a (अ) is like the sound of "a" in the English word "apply".
aa (आ) is like the sound of "a" in the word "father".
i (इ) is like the "i" in "tin".
ii (ई) is like "ee" in "see".
Then we have u (उ), which is like the "u" in "put" and uu (ऊ) is like the sound "oo" in "room".
e (ए) is like the "a" in "may" and ai (ऐ) is like the sound of "a" in "hat".
We also have o (ओ) and au (औ).
o sounds like the "o" in "box" and au sounds like the "aw" in "saw".
We also have another vowel which is ri (ऋ), something like the "ri" in "riddle".
We actually learned a word in the last lesson which uses ri, kripyaa which means "please".
Indeed! So, how are vowels used in Hindi?
The Two Ways Hindi Vowels are Used
Hindi vowels can be used alone or in the form of a maaTraa (मात्रा), or "vowel signs," where it modifies a consonant.
A good example where both the forms can be used in a single word is the Hindi word acchaa meaning "good" or "okay".
अच्छा
The first letter a is a standalone form of the vowel "a".
छा
But if you see the maaTraa at the end, after the letter ch (the vowel aa here), is modifying the consonant ch.
This means that the sound now becomes ch (छ) + aa (आ) = chaa (छा).
Let's see how the vowels modify the consonant k. It can become kaa (का), ki (कि), kii (की), ku (कु), kuu (कू), ke (के), kai (कै), ko (को), kau (कौ).
Summary
That's a lot that we learned about the sounds in Hindi!
True, the best thing to do is practice, practice, and practice.
It may seem as too much to learn in the beginning. But as you continue to practice, things will get easier.
In this lesson, we learned that in Hindi there are 33 consonants and 11 vowels.
Consonants are called vyṅjaN (व्यंजन) in Hindi and vowels are called Svar (स्वर).
The vowels have a standalone version and when they are attached to a consonant, they modify its sound.
So, in the word acchaa (अच्छा), the first a is a standalone form of the vowel "a", but the last vowel aa (आ) appears in the form of a modifier and turns ch (छ) into chaa (छा).
Among the consonants, we realized that there are forms that are already present in English. When we speak out these consonants without aspiration, we get one consonant. When we speak them out with aspiration, we get another consonant, which generally doesn't exist in English.
For example, k is a consonant and when we say it with aspiration, it becomes another consonant kh.
We just learned the basics of pronunciation in Hindi in this lesson and in the next lesson we will learn the basics of Hindi grammar.
See you in the next lesson. Bye~!
DHaNyavaaD and namaSTe!

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HindiPod101.com
Friday at 6:30 pm
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HindiPod101.com
Sunday at 1:27 pm
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Hi Asiff,


Sorry to hear that you didn't like the video.


If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to let us know.


All the best!

Roohi

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Asiff
Saturday at 3:33 am
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No. I hated this video




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HindiPod101.com
Sunday at 12:05 pm
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Hi Manji,


Thanks for your post.


Did you mean to say that the video is good? If yes, I would like to say thanks on behalf of the HindiPod101.com team!


I would also like to help you get the sentence correct in Hindi. Try this:


यह वीडियो अच्छा है। - yah viidiyo acchaa hai. - This video is good.


I hope that helps! If you have any questions, please do let us know.


All the best!

Roohi

Team HindiPod101.com

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मंजि
Tuesday at 2:16 pm
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उका विदीओ अचछा है


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HindiPod101.com
Saturday at 10:36 pm
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Hi Mark,


Thanks for sharing your comment about sounds.


I am sure it will help many new Hindi learners.


If you have any questions, feel free to let us know.


All the best!

Roohi

Team HindiPod101.com


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Mark
Monday at 9:37 am
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It isn't precisely true that English doesn't have aspirated consonants; rather in English, the two sounds (aspirated and unaspirated) are interchangeable, with aspiration depending on position in a word and other phonetic circumstances. For example, k is aspirated in "king", but not in "cat", so that in devanagari, they can respectively be best written as खिं and कैट्. In other words, we have the aspirated sounds, but they are not regarded as a separate letter. The difficulty for English speakers learning Hindi or other Indic languages is first to learn to be aware of the difference, and to make the different sounds consciously.


Also, I am surprised to hear that शकार and षकार are pronounced the same. I haven't before heard that about Hindi, or most other Indic languages, although it is typical of Bengali. Well, for those who want to be more old-fashioned, I will mention that traditionally ष is pronounced with the tongue-tip curled back to touch the top of the mouth, like with ण. श by contrast traditionally has the tongue tip close to the teeth. Certainly if you also tackle Sanskrit, this difference will become crucial; even if you just want to read or recite verses from, say, Bhagavad-Gita, or songs or prayers in a mandir. In fact, you can't sing George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" properly if you can't pronounce ष traditionally!