Top 10 Hindi hacks

How to become fluent in a language that is spoken by 1/5 of the Earth's population? Well, it takes time, arduous efforts and motivation; but more importantly, fitting methods and a positive mindset! Here, we have 10 tailored tricks for people who are learning Hindi or are thinking about starting their Hindi lessons.

Remember, there is no shortcut to mastering any languages. So in addition to these 10 hacks, practice, practice, and practice. The more you have practice, the more confident you'll feel about your progress; and the more confident you are, the more invested--and therefore, better--you will be!

Hack #1: Start with Sounds

Now that you've decided to learn Hindi, it's time to dig into the language learning process. But where should you even begin?

The answer is simple: sounds. Learning how to hear, pronounce and recognize written Hindi sounds is a great place to get started even before you begin memorizing words and their meanings. 

Unlike English, most Hindi words are pronounced just like they're written. While Hindi grammar is a bit more complicated than English grammar, Hindi pronunciation definitely isn't! Even so, it's always a good idea to learn how to pronounce Hindi sounds before memorizing vocabulary and studying grammar.

The key is to first spend some time focusing on Hindi sounds and spelling so that they are longer foreign to you.Study the Hindi vowels and Hindi consonantsidentify the letters and practice all of the sounds. 

You can also listen to pronunciation guides on YouTube, or watch movies or series with subtitles in Hindi while reading along. All of these are great ways to learn Hindi alphabets and sounds and set the foundation for a great Indian accent.

Hack #2: Learn on the Go

Let's face it: you probably have a busy life, and it's difficult to set time aside to study Hindi. Fortunately, however, one of the best ways to take advantage of your free time is to learn Hindi on the go.

A great way to do this is by taking advantage of American academic and polyglot Alexander Arguelles' Shadowing Technique.

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This language learning technique involves listening to Chinese with earphones and simultaneously repeating it out loud while walking outdoors. There are three main keys to this exercise.

1. Walk outdoors as quickly as possible.
If you feel shy or embarrassed to do this in public, find a road or path where you can speak Hindi loudly and proudly without many other people around you.

2. Maintain a perfectly upright posture.
According to Arguelles, maintaining a good posture contributes to this method's efficacy.

3. Articulate well and in a loud, clear voice.
This is very important in order to effectively learn the rhythm, structure and sound of the language.

Say the sounds as soon as you hear them. Don't wait for the entire word. In fact, at first you may only catch a small portion of what's being said and sound like you're speaking nonsense.

This may feel silly at first, but its results will amaze you. By speaking out loud as soon as you hear Hindi sounds, you're developing a sense of how the language is structured and sounds, even if you don't understand everything that's being said.

Don't worry if you can't catch and repeat everything. As you improve, you'll gradually begin developing the accent and rhythm of Hindi. You'll also understand more and more words as your studies progress.

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Some other great tricks for learning Hindi on the go include taking advantage of your morning subway or bus commute by studying flashcards or listening to Hindi eBooks or music in the car.

Make learning Hindi a part of your life, and you'll be amazed how much time you have to study when you learn on the go.

Hack #3: Learn the Practical Characters First

Learning a new language requires learning a lot of new words. There's no way around it. Many people use their "bad memories" as an excuse for not learning a new language, but we have some comforting news for these people (and even those with great memories): you don't need to know all--or even the majority--of the words in a language to be able to speak it well. In fact, you don't even need to know half!

According to the Government of India, Hindi language has 11 vowels and 35 consonants. However, the traditional in Hindi alphabet is considered to be made of 13 vowels and 33 consonants. There will be thousands of words in the Hindi language. Do you need to know them all? Of course not. Don’t waste your time learning words and phrases that you'll never use.

So what does that mean for you as a Hindi learner?

By learning the practical words first, you can cut your work in less than half. You'll be able to communicate faster and with significantly less effort.  You should ideally start with  the Basics first. These Hindi words will help you get started. 

Hack #4: Take Advantage of Loan words

As Hindi is a living language, it is constantly evolving. This means that it "borrows" words from other languages from time to time, most noticeably from Sanskrit (for all Buddhism-related vocabulary) and English. These terms --called "loanwords", -- are largely translated phonetically from their original language since the concept of said item or thoughts were created by the culture or country of origins.

Let's take a look at some of the loanwords. As you will notice, some of these "English" phrases have actually been traveling across different cultures and even continents! Don't forget to give them a try:

Hack #5: Hooked on Mnemonics

That's where mnemonics come in. Basically, mnemonics involve telling yourself a fun, goofy or memorable story, song, or rhyme to associate with a particular word.

You can even use it to memorize grammatical rules, pronunciation rules, and even phrases and idioms.

And remember, if you have trouble memorizing a word, phrase, or grammatical rule, you can always invent your own mnemonic device.

Hack #6: Keep a Hindi Vocabulary Notebook and Flashcards

Keep a journal, document, or book with all of the Hindi vocabulary you learn in one place.

Not only does keeping a vocabulary journal help you to organize all of your new words and phrases, but the very process of writing down a word and its translation, notes, image or mnemonic device helps you to memorize it. Because this can't be emphasized enough: you really need to practice how to write those characters!

This notebook can also be transformed into study-friendly flashcards by using flashcard generating programs like Anki for your phone or computer. You can use your Anki flashcards on your phone to learn on the go when you're on the bus, walking to work or simply waiting in line at the grocery store.

Your Hindi notebook and flashcards are a fantastic future reference for studying. They can be used anywhere and anytime you have a few free minutes.

Hack #7: Learn the most commonly used verbs

You need at least two elements to build a sentence: a noun and a verb. That’s why in Hindi, as well as in any other language, verbs are a fundamental part of learning the language. There are about 15-20 verbs in Hindi language which you will be able to use in your daily conversations. 

If you notice, all the verbs end with ना (na). 

Here are a few examples example:
  • खाना (to eat)
  • बोलना (to speak)
  • पढ़ना (to study)
  • पीना (to drink)
Just like most other languages, verbs in Hindi also need to be conjugated into different tenses depending on the subject. You will get a hold of different tenses with regular practice. 

Hack #8: The Scriptorium Technique

Linguist and polyglot Alexander Arguelles developed another excellent technique for improving your writing and speaking skills simultaneously. It's designed to help you to really focus on the individual components of French.

The Arguelles' Scriptorium Technique involves three basic exercises:

  1. Read a sentence out loud.
  2. Say each word aloud again as you write it.
  3. Read the sentence aloud as you have written in.

The purpose of this exercise is to force yourself to slow down, pay attention to detail and look up anything you don't know. It's important to be thorough and meticulous. Find good source material and then copy it carefully, saying each word out loud as you go. Make sure to take the time to check any vocabulary or grammar that you're not sure about as you come across it.

The Scriptorium Technique is a fantastic way to refine and polish your Hindi language knowledge, especially at intermediate and advanced levels.

The key to mastering this technique is to take your time, be as detailed and thorough as possible, and remember...practice makes perfect.

Hack #9: Read, Watch, Listen

Movies, music, television series, the radio, books, newspapers, magazines...Anything you can read, watch, or listen to are unbelievably useful for learning.

You've probably already heard cases of people teaching themselves a language by watching movies or playing video games. While these things don't directly teach grammar, they do help learning it significantly.

Reading, watching and listening has a remarkable effect on your brain. Simply by being exposed to the language, your brain is put to work. It starts trying to understand new words by making connections to previously learned words and seeks to make sense of any new structures. Basically, you're learning without knowing that you're learning. After a while, you'll find yourself using words and constructions that you didn't even study! This is all thanks to your brain's ability to soak up vocabulary and grammar while reading a book, listening to the radio, or watching a series.

If you're extra motivated to learn and practice, use the Shadowing Technique and learn on the go while listening to and repeating your favorite Hindi radio station, podcast, TV series or movie. This is a great way to pick up the rhythm, structure, sound and rules of the Hindi language without needing to hit the books. If you want to take integrated Hindi learning to the next step, go to a Karaoke! By singing to the subtitles, your reading and speaking skills will be challenged in the most fun way!

Hack #10: Interact...Without Needing to Travel

Try to interact in Hindi on a daily basis. Speaking as much as possible is one of the best tricks to learn a language fast. Here are some great ways to practice speaking (and writing, its slower version) as much as possible:

  • Speak with a friend, family member or neighbor in person
  • Write a letter or email to a friend, family member, co-worker, or yourself
  • Visit a local store or neighborhood where Hindi is spoken and interact with the locals
  • Join a weekly or monthly Hindi conversation group...or start your own group!
  • Speak online with a friend, family member, co-worker, or fellow language learner (Skype is great for this)
  • Contribute to a blog or forum in your target language
  • Sing along with music in your target language
  • Watch a movie, series, documentary or video and repeat the character's lines
  • Read a passage from a book, newspaper, or magazine out loud
  • Talk to yourself in your target language (this really works!)

The key is to interact, speak, and think in Hindi as much as possible. This can be done anywhere and everywhere. Take advantage of all of the excellent Hindi learning resources, and make Hindi a part of your daily life!

By following these ten language learning hacks, you'll learn Hindi faster, better, and enjoy doing so.

फिर मिलेंगे ।
Phir Milengae,


Nikita Sharma
Rocket Hindi

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