Hindi belongs to the Indo-Aryan language group, within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a descendent of Sanskrit, which was spoken by the Aryan settlers in northwestern India, and the earliest forms of Hindi date back to the 10th century A.D. The name Hindi comes from the Persian word Hind, which means “land of the Indus River”, as given by Persian speaking Turk invaders in the 11th century.
There are 260 million native speakers of Hindi and another 120 million who speak it as a second language. Hindi is the official language of India (along with English) and of Fiji, and a minority language in Guyana, Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad, and Tobago. Hindi is written from left to right and uses the Devanagari script. Hindi is the fourth most spoken first language in the world and the third most spoken language in the world.
Free Resources to Learn Hindi
Free Learning/Studying Apps
Duolingo – iTunes – Google Play – Duolingo has become a leader in the language learning world and for good reason. It’s fast, fun, well designed, suitable for all ages, and turns learning a foreign language into a challenging and pretty addictive game.
Tinycards – iTunes – Google Play – Tinycards is a free flashcards app, from the creators of Duolingo, which uses spaced repetition and nicely designed “decks” to help you learn anything, including foreign languages. Tinycards uses gamification, like Duolingo, which makes it fun and easy to use.
Memrise – iTunes – Google Play – Memrise is a really fast, fun and free language learning app / website that is sure to get you hooked. There is a visual flashcard component which also incorporates audio from a community of native speakers. Memrise uses spaced repetition and is really effective at drilling vocabulary and phrases into your memory.
Learn Hindi by 50 Languages – iTunes – Google Play – This app is great for beginners (A1-A2) to increase practical vocabulary which is useful for managing everyday situations (at a store, restaurant, bank, doctor, etc). With the free version, you will have access to 30 complete lessons.
Learn Hindi Phrasebook – iTunes – This useful app will help you learn Hindi words and sentences with recordings made by native speakers. The free version has 200+ practical phrases.
HelloTalk – iTunes – Google Play – HelloTalk is a global language learning social network that connects you with native speakers of other languages so that you can practice your speaking and listening skills with native speakers via text/audio messages and free audio and video calls. The free version allows you to choose one native language and one target language.
Internet Polyglot – iTunes – Google Play – This free app uses lessons, games, and pictures to teach foreign languages to beginners. Although Internet Polyglot is far from a standalone language learning tool, it is a useful supplement to help you to learn and retain vocabulary.
Hindi Alphabet by TenguGo – iTunes – Google Play – This app will teach you how to read and write using the Hindi alphabet, Devanagari. It is organized into chapters with quizzes and flashcards for review and features audio examples from native speakers.
Beginner Hindi – Google Play – This app is based on the “learn a word a day” concept and uses a simple and direct approach to teaching Hindi to beginners.
Start From Zero Hindi – Google Play – This app will boost your vocabulary skills by helping you learn thousands of the most commonly used Hindi words and phrases. It also offers quiz and flashcard functionality to test your progress.
6000 Words – Learn Hindi Language for Free – iTunes – Google Play – This app will teach you more than 6000 Hindi words with images, phonetic transcriptions and pronunciations recorded by native speakers. The vocabulary words are organized into 15 themes with 140 subtopics.
Learn Hindi Quickly – iTunes – Google Play – This app will help you learn more than 1100 of the most frequently used Hindi phrases and words. The app features quizzes, flashcards, favorites lists and audio by native Hindi speakers.
Free Hindi Dictionary/Translation Apps
Hindi English Dictionary by Shabdkosh.com – iTunes – Google Play – This popular Hindi / English dictionary app works fast, free and offline. Nice features include spoken English and Hindi pronunciations, synonyms and antonyms and word games.
Hindi English Dictionary & Translator – iTunes – Google Play – This free app works offline and provides detailed definitions, example sentences and pronunciation guidance for Hindi & English words, as well as flashcards for learning.
Google Translate – iTunes – Google Play – Google Translate offers online text translation between 103 languages by typing, offline translation for 59 languages, camera translation for 38 languages, image translation for 37 languages, conversation translation in 32 languages, and translation of handwritten characters in 93 languages. The app also has a phrasebook which allows you to save translated words and phrases for future reference in all languages.
iTranslate – iTunes – Google Play – iTranslate is a leading free translator and dictionary app that provides translations for text in over 100 languages. Other functionality includes transliteration, sharing, favorites, history, and audio in both male and female voices. Voice to voice translations and the use of offline mode is not available with the free version.
Klays-Development Hindi-English Translator – Google Play – This free app translates words and complete sentences instantly. It features a favorites list, history, voice input and a user-friendly interface.
The Apps Castle Hindi English Translator – Google Play – This Hindi English translation and dictionary app can be used offline and has built-in audio.
Learn Hindi with HindiPod101.com – This is a fun and helpful set of videos to add to your regular Hindi language learning regimen.
Edupedia World – The Edupedia World YouTube channel offers a set of 63 free Hindi language lessons for beginners.
Easy Hindi – These YouTube videos are the work of a non-profit project which uses lighthearted street interviews as a method to teach languages. Each video has a topic and the host asks questions to native Hindi speakers on the street based on the theme. Each video contains subtitles in both Hindi and English. Check out the Easy Hindi Phrases playlist for a handful of introductory lessons, as well.
Hamari Boli Video Interviews – Hamarii Boli is a program created by The Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning at the University of Texas at Austin that features video interviews with native Hindi-Urdu speakers. In the short videos, the viewer sees a variety of responses to questions covering a wide range of topics.
Hindi in America Project: Videos of Conversational Hindi – The Hindi in America Project is a resource created by The Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning at the University of Texas at Austin. The program consists of a collection of video interviews with Hindi-speakers which are accompanied by full transcriptions. The goal of the project is to provide learners with unscripted examples of the contemporary colloquial language.
LangMedia – LangMedia provides language learning resources, including grammar video lessons – YouTube, audio/video samples, dictation exercises, etc. LangMedia is run by the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages and their mission is to share examples of linguistic and cultural diversity with language learners. In the “Language by Country” section of the LangMedia website they provide videos which focus on practical aspects of everyday life (For Ex: Basic Communication, Shopping, Transportation, Culture and Social Life). The conversations often include colloquial language and all videos are accompanied by translations and transcripts. LangMedia highlights Hindi in North India in this section. The “CultureTalk” section of the LangMedia website features video interviews with people of different ages and backgrounds. The interviews are primarily conducted by students and translations and transcripts are provided.
Columbia University STARTALK Hindi Lessons – This STARTALK Hindi project introduces 42 thematic audio-visual modules, which are based on real-life situations with varied linguistic, social and cultural contents. The video clips, which are unscripted and unrehearsed, were filmed in Jaipur, Pushkar, and Delhi, and show examples of native Hindi speakers from all ages and backgrounds. Each video is accompanied by a description, vocabulary list, lesson plans, and transcript.
Virtual Hindi Lessons – Virtual Hindi is a program created by New York University for its Hindi language students, which they have made available to the public.
EdX Hindi Lessons – Edx Hindi is an initiative of Saakshar Language Centre in Singapore and it provides educational videos to teach the Hindi Language and promote Indian Culture around the world.
Hindi-University Lessons – Hindi-University is a Washington DC-based non-profit organization which focuses on providing Hindi language learning resources to the world through YouTube video lessons.
Anil Mahato’s Hindi Lessons – Anil’s YouTube channel features a wide variety of content including grammar lessons, conversational Hindi lessons, Devanagari script tutorials, and even videos about Indian travel, food, and culture.
Learn Hindi with HindiPod101.com – iTunes – This is a fun and informative podcast to add to your regular Hindi language learning regimen. Every lesson is free for a period of time; each new audio and video lesson (3-5 lessons are published per week) is free to access for 3 weeks before being locked into their library, which can be accessed only with paid membership.
Hindi SurvivalPhrases – iTunes – These fun and innovative audio lessons teach basic Hindi and are accompanied by PDF guides.
A Spoken Thesaurus of Hindi Urdu – iTunes – Language learners often run into questions about which words are the best fit for a particular sentence, how to speak in colloquial language versus textbook style, how synonyms found in the dictionary really differ from each other and so on. This Hindi Thesaurus addresses these questions using lively and unscripted Hindi conversations focused on groups of words of related meaning. The podcast features conversations between Hindi teacher, Rupert Snell and Neha Ladha, a native Hindi speaker. They focus on mainstream words and phrases and aim to help listeners to increase their vocabulary by exposing them to styles of language that are truly appropriate for everyday speech. This podcast was created by The Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning at the University of Texas at Austin. Transcripts for each podcast can be read online or downloaded in PDF format.
Glossaries Alive: Bringing Hindi Words to Life – iTunes – This podcast aims to teach listeners useful Hindi vocabulary and phrases while emphasizing pronunciation and contextual usage of words. The podcast draws its vocabulary from the Complete Hindi textbook but can be used as in independent learning tool without the use of a book. The podcast features conversations between Hindi teacher, Rupert Snell and Neha Ladha, a native Hindi speaker. This podcast was created by The Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning at the University of Texas at Austin. Transcripts for each podcast can be read online or downloaded in PDF format.
Learn to Speak Hindi Beginner Course – Spotify – This podcast will teach you basic Hindi vocabulary and phrases over the course of 36 lessons with a combined running time of 3 hours and 45 minutes.
Quick Vocab Hindi Vocabulary Builder on Spotify – These audio lessons will teach you 1000 of the most common Hindi and English vocabulary words. Each word is pronounced by a native speaker. The podcast is divided into four parts, each containing 250 Hindi vocabulary words.
- Quick Vocab Hindi Vocabulary Builder Part 1 on Spotify
- Quick Vocab Hindi Vocabulary Builder Part 2 on Spotify
- Quick Vocab Hindi Vocabulary Builder Part 3 on Spotify
- Quick Vocab Hindi Vocabulary Builder Part 4 on Spotify
Hindi Urdu Talks: Lectures and Performances from the Hindi Urdu Flagship at the University of Texas at Austin – iTunes – UT Austin frequently invites leading Hindi-Urdu scholars and artists to speak and interact with students. The University films these seminars and performances, workshops and classroom sessions with the speakers and makes these recordings available to all.
Hindi Urdu Lives – iTunes – The Hindi Urdu Flagship at the University of Texas at Austin has hosted numerous well-known Hindi-Urdu scholars and artists and created video recordings of interviews with these individuals about their work and the Hindi-Urdu language. One of the goals of this project is to allow the viewer to listen to a native speaker and provide insight into the intellectual and artistic worlds which use Hindi-Urdu.
Colloquial Hindi: The Complete Course for Beginners – This collection of audio files, each a few minutes in length, provides concise and clear Hindi language instruction for beginners. These free audio lessons were made to accompany the Colloquial Hindi: The Complete Course for Beginners textbook, which is a book aimed at teaching Hindi to beginners in a practical way to prepare them to effectively communicate with confidence in everyday situations.
Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Hindi Active Introduction Course – The Foreign Service Institute (U.S. Department of State) originally created this and many other language learning courses to train government employees and members of the foreign service in preparation for a post abroad. This course was designed to train participants to speak Hindi naturally and confidently with native speakers and prepare students for real-life conversations. The course is accompanied by an e-textbook in PDF format with 142 pages.
Peace Corps Hindi Language Lessons – The Hindi Language Course, which provides a lot of practical information surrounding culture, vocabulary, grammar and communication skills, was developed by the United States Peace Corps to train their volunteers prior to sending them to do agricultural work in India. Includes 1 e-textbook in PDF format with 199 pages.
A Door into Hindi – This course was created by Afroz Taj, a professor at the University of North Carolina a Chapel Hill. The program is divided into 6 sections: The Writing System, Lesson Dialogues (24 lessons), Glossaries and Vocabulary, Grammatical Explanations, Exercises and Tests, and Additional Resources. Three additional learning resources are available: Glossary (containing all vocabulary words and a flashcard game), Exercises and a Quiz. Students must be familiar with the Hindi writing system, Devanagari, before beginning the program.
University of Pennsylvania New Directions New People Hindi Lessons – The Hindi video instructional series “New Directions New People” was originally produced in 1986 under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and is now available online. The web version of the program was produced by University of Pennsylvania professors Dr. Vijay Gambhir and Dr. Surendra Gambhir. The course consists of two volumes, each of which has ten lessons. To begin the first volume, students must have some knowledge of Hindi, at least an equivalent of one semester of classroom instruction. After completing Volume 1, students should be able to navigate everyday situations (personal, social, survival) using Hindi. After completing Volume 2, which is for intermediate learners, students should be able to talk about people, places, and social issues in informal and semi-formal situations.
- New Directions New People Hindi Lessons Volume 1 – 10 video lessons for advanced beginners.
- New Directions New People Hindi Lessons Volume 2 – 10 video lessons for intermediate learners.
University of Pennsylvania Business Hindi Course – This business Hindi course was created by University of Pennsylvania professor Surendra Gambhir, Ph.D. Both Volume 1 and Volume 2 consist of 48 units on 12 different topics. Each unit is accompanied by a glossary, grammatical and cultural notes, audio files, and reading comprehension questions, etc. In order to begin the course, an Intermediate level knowledge of Hindi is required, and a high intermediate or advanced level of Hindi is required to begin Volume 2.
LanguageGuide.org – Explore the world of Hindi by learning an abundance of vocabulary in a sound integrated, animated guide. After learning the vocabulary you can take part in games to test your comprehension.
The Devanagari Script Tutor – This cool web app shows how to write and pronounce each character in the Devanagari script. It serves as a great learning aid and even includes some interactive tests.
Devanagari Tables by UT Austin – This Hindi learning resource is brought to you by the Hindi Urdu Flagship at the University of Texas at Austin.
The Hindi-Urdu Verb by UT Austin – This Hindi learning resource is brought to you by the Hindi Urdu Flagship at the University of Texas at Austin. This guide teaches the main Hindi verb tenses and uses Roman script.
Lexilogos Devanagari Keyboard – Type in Hindi using this Devanagari Keyboard.
ielanguages.com – This website offers free basic language learning text and audio instruction.
Learn101 – This website features free beginner lessons to guide you through learning Hindi, step by step, starting with the Alphabet, moving on to grammar, vocabulary, and phrases, and finally offering simple quizzes to test your progress. These lessons are a basic introduction to the language and have images, text, and audio.
University of Pennsylvania Hindi Alphabet Lessons – This Hindi resource project was directed by University of Pennsylvania professors Dr. Surendra Gambhir and Dr. Vijay Gambhir.
Presenting Hindi Slideshows by UT Austin – This collection of slideshows was developed by a University of Texas at Austin professor Jishnu Shankar for Hindi teachers and students. The slideshow features various categories that focus on specific language topics (for ex: health, economics, politics) and cover various grammar points (alphabet, participles, conditionals, etc.) The slideshows are viewable online or can be downloaded.
Hindi Worksheets – The University of Texas at Austin has made these PDF worksheets available to Hindi language learners. They were created primarily to accompany The Complete Hindi and Beginner’s Hindi textbooks by Rupert Snell.
Learning Hindi Lessons by George – George is a Hindi language learner who channeled his love of Hindi into a fantastic and free educational website. This site packs a lot of great learning content that aims to make it fun and easy to learn Hindi. In addition to lessons for beginner and intermediate level learners, George has created an e-book which summarizes most of the lessons on the website. The Hindi E-book, along with a selection of children’s books with translations and audio, as well as the audio files from the Learning Hindi website have all been made available on Google drive.
Hindi Verbs – This website provides a one-stop Hindi verb and grammar reference.
Ilanguages – This site is designed to teach Hindi with free vocabulary, phrases, grammar, and flashcards while focusing on highly used words and phrases necessary for everyday living.
Hindi Stories by BookBox – Cartoons have always been a wonderful asset to language learning, particularity for children. These animated children’s stories are great because the viewer can read along with the narration, which is shown on-screen as “Same Language Subtitles (SLS).” Each word is highlighted in time with the audio, which helps with comprehension and retention.
Omniglot – This site specializes in providing information about languages and their alphabets and writing systems.
Digital Dialects – This website makes learning vocabulary fun with interactive games.
Hello World – Hello World has created hundreds of free language learning games and activities that cater to the way children learn best. The goal is to teach languages using cognitive immersion and to keep the process fun in order to increase learning potential. Approximately 1300 vocabulary words are introduced over 70 different categories.
Goethe Verlag – This website offers 100 Hindi lessons for beginners, each with words, phrases and corresponding audio files.
Loecsen – Loecson offers a free mini-course consisting of fun lessons that provide a basic introduction to Hindi with the help of text, audio, simple illustrations, and quizzes to test your progress. You will learn high-frequency vocabulary words and commonly used phrases relating to 17 themes which are relevant to everyday life.
Verbix – Online Hindi verb conjugator.
Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Hindi Tutorial – This Language Survival Kit Module for Hindi contains basic vocabulary with audio. Both the audio files and the PDF text can be downloaded.
I Love Languages Hindi Lessons – This site provides 17 beginner Hindi lessons designed to help you improve your speaking, reading, and writing skills. Supplementary resources include vocabulary, grammar tips, and phrases.
Audio and Flashcards by the University of Washington – This website provides audio clips paired with flashcards to study vocabulary found in the Elementary Hindi textbook by Richard Delacy and Sudha Joshi.
Devanagari Alphabet Tutorial – Australian National University created this helpful tutorial, which teaches how to write the Devanagari alphabet using video animations with audio.
Syracuse University Hindi Lessons – This website is divided into three sections, with increasing levels of difficulty. Hindi 101 introduces basic vocabulary lists, Hindi 201 aims to enhance the student’s language proficiency by providing more extensive vocabulary and finally, Hindi 520 provides articles, stories, and poetry in Hindi for reading practice.
Learn Hindi Letters with UCLA Heritage Language Lessons – This Hindi Letters program was created by The National Heritage Language Resource Center, at the University of California, Los Angeles, with funding by the U.S. Department of Education to foster language learning for heritage speakers (those who speak a language other than English at home).
Lang-8 – This free network is a nice tool to support your language learning. Native speakers are available to make corrections to your text and provide feedback. In return, you provide help to others.
HiNative – iTunes – Google Play – HiNative is an app brought to you by the creators of Lang-8 that allows you to ask questions to native speakers from around the world using your smartphone. HiNative was created to be used alongside Lang-8, and is different from Lang-8 in that it focuses on a Q&A type of learning while Lang-8 is a journal writing experience.
RhinoSpike – RhinoSpike is an interesting website that connects language learners from all over the world allowing them to exchange audio files to help improve pronunciation skills. It allows you to submit text that you would like to hear read aloud by a native speaker, and in turn, you receive the audio file. In exchange, and to speed up the process you can, in turn, provide audio files in your native language for other learners.
MyLanguageExchange.com – This online language learning community connects you with other learners so that you can practice speaking in your second language with a native speaker and vice-versa.
Italki – A community of over 2 million language learners that facilitates free language practice with native speakers. You simply exchange time teaching your native language for time learning a foreign language, making it mutually beneficial and free.
BBC News – This is the Hindi language service of the BBC.
Jansatta – This is a top daily Hindi newspaper from India.
Dainik Bhaskar – This is the most circulated Hindi newspaper in India.
Dainik Jagran – This is the most read Hindi newspaper in India, and the second most circulated.
Deutsche Welle – German broadcasting company DW provides news in Hindi.
Google News – Read the world news in Hindi with Google News.
Radio Mirchi – This is a national Indian radio network that offers a ton of radio programming.
SBS Radio Hindi Program – iTunes – SBS is an Australian broadcasting company that targets non-native English speakers and creates programming in many languages. This podcast allows you to listen to interviews, features and community stories from the SBS Radio Hindi program, including Australian and world news.
Forvo – This crowd-sourced site is a great tool to help with pronunciation as it allows you to listen to words and phrases spoken by native speakers.
Bab.La – This “language portal” boasts 44 dictionaries for 28 languages, as well as a wealth of other language learning resources, such as helpful articles, games and quizzes, verb conjugations and phrase books.
Collins Dictionary Online – Here you can access the online version of the popular Collins Dictionary.
Tatoeba – Tatoeba is a large, crowdsourced database of sentences and translations. This free resource allows you to search for a word and get results showing that word in sentences with translations.
Talkify – This free, multilingual website is a very interesting and valuable resource that allows you to listen to text in foreign languages. Simply insert a URL into the search field on Talkify and it will automatically detect the language and read the text of that website aloud in a natural sounding voice.
Digital Dictionaries of South Asia – The goal of the University of Chicago DDSA program is to put the highest quality dictionaries (like the Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary), each chosen by a panel of language experts, online for all to use, for free.
Hindi-English Dictionary – This online dictionary allows you to search using either the Roman alphabet or Devanagari characters.
Hobson-Jobson: Being a Glossary of Anglo-India Colloquial Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive – This historic dictionary of Anglo-Indian terms, written by Sir Henry Yule and Arthur C. Burnel in 1886, gives the definition and etymology of over 2000 words which were commonly used in the late nineteenth century in colonial India.
Hindi WordNet – This system was created by Prof. Pushpak Bhattacharyya of The Center For Indian Languages Technology, to bring together different lexical and semantic relations between Hindi words. The Hindi WordNet takes design inspiration from Princeton University’s English WordNet.
First-Year Hindi Textbooks from The University of Texas at Austin – The Hindi Urdu Flagship of the University of Texas at Austin offers introductory Hindi course books in PDF format.
- First-Year Hindi Course Textbook Part 1
- First-Year Hindi Course Textbook Part 2
- First-Year Hindi Course Workbook Part 1
- Hindi Praveshika: Beginner’s Hindi Writing and Conversation
Hindi and Urdu Since 1800: A Common Reader by Christopher Shackle and Rupert Snell – The University of Texas at Austin has made this out of print book available in PDF format.
Hindi Reader – This book was created for intermediate level Hindi students by Dr. Aftab Ahmad of the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University.
Introductory Manual of the Hindi Language with Extracts From the Premsâgar – This 100-year-old book by F. P. Luigi Josa also includes technical vocabularies for theologians and missionaries, lawyers, judges, magistrates and police officers, the medical profession and dispensers, and interpreters.
Hindi Grammar – This book by Edwin Greaves was published in 1921 and still offers great value today.
Learning Hindi E-Book by George – George is a Hindi language learner who channeled his love of Hindi into a fantastic and free educational website. This Hindi E-Book combines and summarizes most of the beginner and intermediate level lessons from the website.
What Are Your Favorite Free Hindi Language Learning Resources?
We have done a lot of research to bring you the best, free resources that the internet has to offer and we want to make sure our list is always comprehensive. Please share your favorites in the comments below.