Research topic: Hindi
Hindi belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is the mother tongue of nearly half a billion people, while a further 300 million people speak it as their second language.
It is the official language of India (in addition to English). Hindi has evolved from Sanskrit and is closely related to Urdu.
There are extreme differences between different dialects and the two major dialect groups – Western Hindi and Eastern Hindi – include a range of dialects that are not immediately mutually intelligible. The standard form of the language, known as Modern Standard Hindi (MSH), is based on the local Western Hindi dialect found in the area around Delhi. MSH is used by many media outlets, schools and administrative bodies.
Hindi is written using the Indian Devanagari script. This precisely reproduces all the different sounds of the language, but is rather troublesome to write. Hindi phonology is characterised by the existence of few vowels, but by a particularly large number of consonants, including no less than eight t- and d- sounds: dental t, th, d and dh and retroflex t, th, d and dh. Consonants have to be articulated very precisely in order to keep the sounds distinct. This gives Hindi a characteristic sound that can also be detected in the sound of Indian English.
Hindi morphology is relatively straightforward, but the syntax is complex. The many composite word forms make Hindi a very subtle, expressive and precise language, but at the same time make it far from easy for a foreigner to learn.