Lesson 2: Some Basic Words & Phrases
In this lesson we will learn some very basic Hindi phrases. We'll start with the two little words "yes" and "no". I think they would be useful :-) So here we are:
हाँ = YES (haa~ - note the nasal "n")
नहीं = NO ( nahi~ - note the nasal "n")
There is a more polite way of saying "yes" or "no". If you want to sound more polite, you have to use the particle "जी" (JI). Remember it well! It's a very important particle. It's similar to Japanese "さん" (san) or Korean "씨" (sshi), because it could be glued at the end of a name or title to make it more polite. If you want for example to say "Hello Mr. X" you can say "Hello Mr. X-ji" what would sound polite and a Hindi native would appreciate it. So, let's get back to our "yes-no" thingie and see how to use "ji" there:
जी हाँ = YES (or "Yes, sir"... Ji Haa~)
जी नहीं = NO (or "No, sir"... Ji Nahi~)
* Note that you can place "JI" after "haa~" or "nahi~" too:
हाँ जी = YES (or "Yes, sir"...Haa~ Ji)
नहीं जी = NO (or "No, sir"... Nahi~ Ji)
Here is a good place to say that you can use जी (ji) on its own. When alone it could mean also "YES", so if you reply to a question just with "ji", you are speaking proper Hindi. You can also use that in another way! Isn't Hindi cool, huh?:-) It could mean "what?; pardon me; yes?" etc.:
जी = YES (kinda the English "yeah" or "yep")
जी = Yes? Pardon me? What? What do you mean? etc.
Well after you've learned that, it's time to learn how to say "Hello" and "Goodbye". Here they are:
नमस्ते = Hello! OR Goodbye! ( Namaste )
As you see, "namaste" is universal, just like Italian "Ciao" for example, which also can be used for both - hello and goodbye. There is another form of "namaste". It's namaskar, bearing the same meaning; you can use it instead of "namaste". They're fully interchangable. Of course if you want to be more polite, you can add the famous "ji" particle :-)
In India you can almost devide the population into two parts according to their religion. The first part are Hindus and the second one - Muslims. Because of their religious believes, they sometimes use different words when speaking. For example a Muslim could use the Arabic "assalamu alaikum" (peace be upon you, salam /selam/ means peace, it's the same as hebrew "shalom") instead of the Hindu "namaste", because Muslims use many Arabic words. If somebody greet you with "assalamu alaikum" you have to answer with "walaikum assalam" (peaca be upon you too). In Urdu (and thus in Hindi) they say "khuda hafiz" for "goodbye". If you meet a Muslim you can use that for goodbye.
Next we'll learn two words, designating "thanks" or "thank you":
धन्यवाद = Thank you. ( Dhanyavaad, it's the "native" Hindi word )
शुक्रिया = Thank you. ( Shukriyaa, it's a word from Arabic origin, coming from the Arabic word "shukran")
We'll end this lesson with a phrase, meaning "Where are you from". You don't have to know what the words in there really mean; remember it just as a phrase:
आप कहां से हैं? = Where are you from? ( Aap kahaa~ se hain? )
* Note that ~ is used to show nasal sound, i.e. nasalied a. I'll use always that, when showing nasalied sound.
The transliterated "ai" is pronounced not as "a" + "i", but as "ae" or "e". It's similar to the sound of "a" in "apple". I don't write it as "e" to distinguish it from the other 'e'
That's all in this lessons. Before you continue be sure to memorize everything well!