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What you must know about Hindi

“India doesn't have national languages; India has official languages. There are two official languages, Hindi and English, and then there are 21 other Indian languages that are official, and there are actually 19,500 dialects spoken in India and 121 languages spoken by more than 10,000 people. Hindi is not my first Indian language, I speak Kaanada which is the language spoken in the state of Karnataka. India is a high population country of 1.3 billion people, and every state has its own languages and dialects. India is a very diverse country where every state has a culture of its own in terms of food, practices and language.”

But Hindi has a special status?
“Hindi and English are the official of the official, so to speak. To be an inclusive nation to all these various states and languages, Hindi needs to have equal status as a language. Hindi is the Indian language that’s possibly most widely spoken, alongside English. English is very much a part of the curriculum as well in Indian schools, so there is a very high standard of English spoken in India. There are English-medium schools and Hindi-medium schools. On top of that, students might learn Sanskrit. Sanskrit is an ancient language, it's an Indo-European language with links to Greek and Latin, and some of the Indian languages are derived from Sanskrit, for example, there are commonalities in root words. Like many Indian languages, Hindi is a highly contextual language meaning that meaning is embedded within the context. So for example, the word ‘kal’ in Hindi means ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’.”

That's interesting. Do you feel language is more than just a medium for communicating?
“Yes, language is a big part of our identity. I can share a personal story. We were in Nyhavn, waiting to take a boat to Hven, and I suddenly heard a family speaking Kaanada, and it just made me explode with excitement! For someone like me who speaks a language that's such a minority language in the global world, coming to a country like Denmark and hearing my own language after months and months of not hearing it - it was just beautiful.”

Poornima is the mother of Tejas and Rohan, Grade 3 and 6, and she took time to translate our manifesto to Hindi and share all these interesting facts with us. Thank you, Poornima!