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Lesson Transcript

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 writing.
The Hindi Script
To begin with, Hindi is written in Devanagari script, spelled as DevaNaagarii (देवनागरी) .
Is written from right to left or left to right?
Hindi is written from left to right, just like English.
There is another interesting thing about Hindi, which is different from English.
What is that?
Hindi is a phonetic language. This means that it is written as it is spoken. In English, some of the spellings can be quite confusing for a learner. For example, the sound of the letter "c" in "city" is the same as the sound of the letter "s" in "sit". At the same time, the sound of the letter "c" in "city" is different from the sound of the letter "c" in "cup".
For someone who knows English, this isn't a difficult thing. But if you are learning the language, this can be confusing indeed while reading and writing.
But in Hindi, you don't have to worry about these things. If the sound is ka, you write ka (क). If the sound is kuu (कू) you write kuu (कू).
This makes it quite easy to learn the script, doesn't it?
Yes! Once you know the consonants and vowels, you can easily begin to read the script!
What about the punctuation marks? Are they different from English?
In Hindi, we use the same punctuation marks as in English. This means you use the same commas and question marks. So, nothing to worry about. However, the Hindi full-stop is different than the English full-stop.
Really? How do we make the Hindi full-stop?
It appears like a vertical or standing line at the end of the sentence and is called a puurnaviraam (पूर्णविराम). Take this sentence, for example, written in Hindi script. मैं ठीक हूँ। Notice the vertical line at the end of the sentence? This is the Hindi full-stop.
This one seems quite easy to make too!
Yes, indeed!
So, how about we go on to how the Hindi alphabets are written?
The Hindi alphabets
In a previous lesson, we learned that Hindi has 33 consonants and 11 vowels.
You are absolutely correct! And we also learned most of the consonants during our pronunciation lesson.
How about we take a quick look at them and then go on to see how vowels modify the sounds of these consonants.
Sure! Here they are!
क (k) ख (kh) ग (g) घ (gh) ङ (ṅ)
च (c) छ (ch) ज (j) झ (jh) ञ (n)
ट (t) ठ (th) ड (d) ढ (dh) ण (n)
त (T) थ (TH) द (D) ध (DH) न (N)
प (p) फ (ph) ब (b) भ (bh) म (m)
य (y) र (r) ल (l) व (v) श (s)
ष (s) स (S) ह (h)
Okay, great! The best way to learn the script is to practice reading and writing it as much as you can.
Yes, indeed!
So, how do vowels generally appear in Hindi script?
The Hindi Vowels
Let's start with how they are written individually. Here they are!
अ (a) आ (aa)
इ (i) ई (ii)
उ (u) ऊ (uu)
ए (e) ऐ (ai)
ओ (o) औ (au)
ऋ (r)
How do they appear when they are attached to a consonant?
Let's take a few words that use these vowels in the form of maTraas (मात्रा)
Let's take a few words that use these vowels in the form of maTraa (मात्रा)
"work" = kaam = काम
See the vertical line between the letters क and म. This is the vowel aa (आ) and is called aa kii maaTraa or "maaTraa of aa". Whenever you notice this vertical line added to a consonant, you add the vowel aa to that consonant. So, k becomes kaa.
Let's try another.
"how much" = kiTNaa = कितना
See this maaTraa on the letter क (k), that is called the chotii i kii maaTraa or इ (i) or "maaTraa of the small i". Whenever you see this maaTraa on a consonant, add the vowel sound to the consonant and say it. So, k becomes ki.
Let's look at another word.
"cat" = biLii = बिल्ली
See this maaTraa on the letter ल (L), that is called the badee i kii maaTraa or ई (ii) or "maaTraa of the big i". Here, L becomes Lii.
Here's another word.
"dog" = kuTTaa = कुत्ता
Notice this maaTraa on the letter क (k). This is the chotii u kii maaTraa or उ (u) or "maaTraa of the small u". This maaTraa makes k: ku.
Let's now look at...
"shoe" = juuTaa = जूता
This maaTraa below the letter ज (j) is the badii uu kii maaTraa or ऊ (uu) or "maaTraa of the big uu". This maaTraa makes j: juu.
Now let's take...
"apple" = Seb = सेब
The maaTraa above the letter स is called the chotii e kii maaTraa or ए (e) or "maaTraa of the small e". This maaTraa changes S to Se.
Let's now take the word for "money".
"money" = paiSaa = पैसा
The maaTraa above the letter प (p) is called the badii e kii maatraa or ऐ (ai) or "maaTraa of the big ai". This changes p to pai.
Now, let's take a look at ओ (o) and औ (au).
"gold" = SoNaa = सोना
The maaTraa on the letter स (S) is called the chotii o kii maatraa or ओ (o) or "maaTraa of the small o". This maaTraa changes S to So.
"who" = kauN = कौन
The maaTraa on the letter क (k) is called the badii o kii maatraa or औ (au) or "maaTraa of the big o". This maaTraa modifies the sound of k to kau.
The vowel ऋ (ri) appears slightly differently. Let's take a word we learned in the first lesson.
"Please" = kripyaa = कृपया
This maaTraa below the letter क (k) is called the ri kii maaTraa or "the maaTraa of ri".
What else is there that we should know about the Hindi script?
Nasalized vowels
There are two more things you will often notice in the Hindi script and that's called the anusvara (अनुस्वार) and the chandrabindu (चंद्रबिंदु).
How does that look like?
The anusvara appears as a dot and the chandrabindu is the "moon dot".
Notice the small dot along with the vowel e in मैं (main) or "I". This is the anusvara and when it occurs at the end of a word, it nasalizes the vowel.
When the dot appears before a letter in the middle of the word, it nasalizes the sound of that consonant. Let's check out the word for "color".
"color" = rang = रंग
Here, the anusvara makes it sound like the "ng" in the English word "song".
The chandrabindu is no different than the anusvara and it works very similarly to it, by nasalizing the vowel above which it is placed. For example,
"clocks" = ghadiyaan = घड़ियाँ
Here the chandrabindu can be seen above the last vowel aa.
In this lesson, we learned how the Hindi full-stop appears and we also came to know that Hindi is a phonetic language and is spoken exactly as it is written. That makes things quite easy! We also learned how the consonants look and how the vowels look individually, when they are attached to a consonant, and how their nasalized versions appear in written Hindi.
We just learned the basics of Hindi Writing. In the next lesson, we will teach you some basic phrases in Hindi.
See you in the next lesson. Bye~!
DHaNyavaaD and namaSTe!