English/Hindi

#1 Feb 9th, 2010, 23:58
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  • TATICA is offline
#1
How necessary is it to learn Hindi when travelling to India, at least the basics? How many people actually speak English, is it just the middle classes, or is it spoken generally throughout the country.
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#2 Feb 10th, 2010, 00:27
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A little Hindi or just some basic vocabulary will be a lot of help in all of India north of the Tungabhadra-Krishna line. (Look at a map of India and you can spot the Krishna and its major tributary the Tungabhadra in the south-central part). The utility drops to near zero south or this line. A lot of people seem to get by with English alone though once off the beaten track I doubt if it really works. I'm sure you'll get lots of posts on this.
#3 Feb 10th, 2010, 02:03
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Itīs just that English is classed as an oficial language of India, i guess iīm trying to understand where and when they actually speak it.
#4 Feb 10th, 2010, 02:18
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#4
You can make do with some basic phrases of Hindi.

Englsih is spoken by many but not all. In upper middle class homes the language is a mixture of Hindi and English.

When & Where is difficult to answer. It's lingua Franca of the youth in big cities and towns. Most of the Office goers (working people) do speak reasonably well English.
I did not fully understand the dread term "Terminal Illness" until I saw Terminal 1 D of Delhi Airport.
#5 Feb 10th, 2010, 02:32
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#5
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Originally Posted by Golghar View Post A little Hindi or just some basic vocabulary will be a lot of help in all of India north of the Tungabhadra-Krishna line. .... The utility drops to near zero south or this line.
Actually, in much of the south too, Hindi is understood to a much larger extent than is suggested here, thanks partly to the widespread popularity of Hindi movies.
#6 Feb 10th, 2010, 03:24
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#6
None of the domestic staff, gardeners, etc, and very few of the builders, decorators, engineers, that come to our house speak English*, and I am very much reliant on my wife! However, probably none of them speak Hindi either. Knowledge of Hindi is growing here in the younger generation.

Almost all the shops that I go to have English-speaking staff, with the exception of tiny, local shops that are little more than huts.

All of the professional people that I meet speak English fluently.

Yes, English is an official language of India, but so are quite a few others, although it does have some special status, for instance, parliamentary proceedings are in Hindi or English.



*Ahh... there is one exception. We have an electrician/plumber with a B.Com., whose English is fluent, but such a person, an electrician with a degree, is very unusual.
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#7 Feb 10th, 2010, 04:45
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#7
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Originally Posted by TATICA View Post How necessary is it to learn Hindi when travelling to India
Not necessary, but fun if you can speak some (in the north, anyway).
#8 Feb 11th, 2010, 04:14
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#8
It's very helpful to know your Hindi numbers, so you can buy fruit and snacks on the street, and to have a few common words, but otherwise you'll be fine speaking English in most situations.
The map is not the territory. --Alfred Korzybski
#9 Feb 18th, 2010, 12:48
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#9
For traveling you must aware of Hindi and English. Without knowing about Hindi and English both language we find some problem in traveling.
#10 Feb 18th, 2010, 13:03
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#10
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Originally Posted by TATICA View Post Itīs just that English is classed as an oficial language of India....
English is one of several official languages of India! That means little about where it's spoken & more about who speaks it (ie. government officials, etc.).

I found that I could get by very well in South Indian cities with English. Most of the auto-wallahs spoke Urdu/Hindi, so if you know Hindi you could use it there, but if you don't then English is fine. In village South India, neither Hindi nor English will be exceptionally useful, though you will be able to find someone who speaks one or the other -- just not the average working guy. At shops, I found that even the simplest words weren't recognized!

In North India, it is harder to find at least one person who speaks English, and even on short trips to Delhi, I found that I used every Hindi word I knew. Often auto wallahs will know the numbers, but sometimes not, and the cycle rickshaws less so. Again, you can usually find someone who speaks English if you have to*, but it really limits who you can communicate with. Any Hindi you learn will be useful.

For learning some Hindi vocab quick, I find byki (before you know it) software helpful. A "sampler" is available for free download, which has some useful word lists, and the full Hindi version usually goes on sale for about $30.00 every other month or so.

*Generally people who interact more with tourists know some English, such as hotel clerks, restaurant managers, etc. Going outside the normal "tourist" domain is when it becomes more of an issue.
#11 Feb 19th, 2010, 00:04
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#11
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Originally Posted by *jyoti* View Post *Generally people who interact more with tourists know some English, such as hotel clerks, restaurant managers, etc. Going outside the normal "tourist" domain is when it becomes more of an issue.
I think jyoti mailed it - depends on the Indians with whom a tourist would be interacting, also the situations e.g. at a ticket booth, better chance of being understood in English than at a small restaurant frequented by locals.

That said, my American husband really struggled with English accents in some parts of the country. He said they might as well have been speaking Tamil for all the good it did him!
#12 Dec 21st, 2010, 16:57
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by *jyoti* View Post In North India, it is harder to find at least one person who speaks English, and even on short trips to Delhi, I found that I used every Hindi word I knew. Often auto wallahs will know the numbers, but sometimes not, and the cycle rickshaws less so. Again, you can usually find someone who speaks English if you have to*, but it really limits who you can communicate with. Any Hindi you learn will be useful.

*Generally people who interact more with tourists know some English, such as hotel clerks, restaurant managers, etc. Going outside the normal "tourist" domain is when it becomes more of an issue.
I had my breaking point today, I have been living in India 3 years now and still dont know a lick of hindi. I thought I actually could get by without it. I was driving to my local market today and got blocked in. I asked the delivery man, if he could please back up a little. Using broken Hindi I said "ghari torah pitchie" Sounds stupid I know, But he thought the same> He told me to wait. I waited, then my son (sitting in the back started to fuss. He was hungry.) So I asked the men again to move in my crappy broken hindi, this time they laughed. I was so angry I backed up fast, started abusing in any language I knew, and honked my horn like a crazy woman. I must have looked like a freak who escaped from a institution! Finally got home and cried. when I finally stopped, I called a hindi school and a person will be sent over either tomorrow, or the next day. I always said I want to learn hindi, but I never tried, now I know I'm going to do it. That means no more internet, nor more Indiamike until I learn something. Just wanted to share cause I think if you puut something out there, someone knows so I better do it or I will look like that idiot screaming on the road all over again.
#13 Jun 15th, 2017, 00:14
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#13
Hello everybody,
Me, my husband and my son (9th months old) are going to Goa for two months (September- October 2017) my husband does know English and he will like to take advantage of the time there and learn it. Someone can recomendation us a good English school or a private teacher? Thank you in advance

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