Essential Hindi Words And Phrases To Know

Jaipur, India, Travel, Hindi
Fog settling in over the mountains in Jaipur.

India is a beautiful country full of diverse cultures, rich foods, and many religions and beliefs. From the Pink City of Jaipur, the Blue City of Jodhpur, to the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, and much more, you will find yourself enthralled by the copious amounts of color this country will present to you. India is a wonderful place to travel. Whether you are self-reflecting in one of the many ashrams available or simply wanting to discover the outdoors. You will stumble upon many towering mountains that are safe for hiking, shimmering beaches perfect for kayaking, safaris that are home to many breeds of jungle cats, and forests where you can relax or simply meditate. There will be many festivals and parades that occur throughout the year that you do not want to miss! During the month of October and November there is Diwali, known as The Festival of Lights that takes place for 5 days, and Holi in March, which is a 2-day festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. Finally, prepare yourself to be ready for the unexpected as India will force you to grow individually as well as spiritually. Poverty runs deep in this country and you will find yourself confronted with people that bring tears to your eyes and others that will teach you valuable life lessons. All of this is a part of the incredible journey you have chosen to embark on, and trust me, you will not regret it!

Whether you are traveling to India for a short stay or an extended period of time, it is a good idea to learn a few essential keywords and phrases. Most people love when you speak to them in their native language and can be seen as a sign of respect. Hindi is one of the official languages of India, spoken by nearly 41% of the population, and the most commonly used. It is mainly spoken across North India, however, I have often met people in South India that have familiarized themselves with these well-known phrases. English is also recognized as an official language, yet, if you are not just traveling to major tourist destinations you may find that not everyone is fluent in speaking it. Keep in mind that Indian English is a lot different from American English and you will find some words are pronounced differently or have a different meaning altogether.

I have broken down and added the pronunciation for the words and phrases to help you better speak the language as well as read the written form. You may find yourself in a situation where you have to read a road sign or other written documentation that does not have the English translation included. Many times I have come across this and knowing how these words and phrases look have been extremely helpful throughout my travels. Rarely will you see these words written in the English alphabet, and I would suggest writing them down or sending yourself a text that you can easily look at. This will certainly come in handy when you are out and about or just needing to refresh your memory. Do not get discouraged by the seeming complexity of the Hindi scripting system or if you are unable to memorize these all at once. I surely was not able to!

Not only is Hindi widely used in India, but it is also spoken in other countries, such as Nepal, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad, Mauritius, and Tobago. Like most other European languages, Hindi is read from left to write and is written in terms of how each character sounds. These characters will always sound the same even when arranged into different words. You do not need to study the entire alphabet or know every sound in order to read and pronounce the words and phrases that are suggested below. I only recommend doing so if your intention is to continue studying the language or if you are thinking about relocating to India.

Useful Words–

English Words Hindi Words Pronunciation Written Hindi
Yes Hai Haa हाँ
No Nahi Na-hee नहीं
Ok/Whatever Tik He Teek Hey ठीक है
Good Acchaa Ah-chaa अच्छा
Hello Namaste Nam-ah-stay नमस्ते
What? Kya Ki-ya क्या
Where? Kaha Kuh-ha जहाँ
When? Kab Cub कब
Why? Kyo Ki-yo क्यो
How? Kaise Ke-say कैसे
Thank you Dhanyevad Dhun-ya-wad धन्यवाद
Stop Ruko Roo-koh रुकें
Help Madad Muh-dud मदद
How Much? Kitane Kit-neh कितना?
Left (direction) Baiye Bye-yeh बाएँ
Right (direction) Daiye Die-yeh दाएँ

 Useful Phrases–

English Phrases Hindi Phrases Pronunciation Written Hindi
(F) How are you? Aap Kaise Hei? Aap Ke-say Heh? आप कैसे है?
(I.F) How are you? Kaisa Ho? Ke-say Ho? कैसा हो?
What time is it? Kitane Baje Hei? Kit-neh Bah-jeh Heh? कितने बजे हैं?
Let’s go Chalo/Chale (pl) Cha-low / Cha-lay (pl) चलो / चले (pl)
Where is the bathroom? Bathrum Kaha Hei? Bathroom Kuh-ha Heh बाथरूम कहां है?
What is your name? Aapka Naam Kya Hei? Aap-ka Naam Ki-ya Heh? आपका नाम क्या है?
My name is …… Mera Naam ….. Hei Me-ra Naam ….. Heh मेरा नाम ……है
Do you have any rooms available? Kamra Kirayi Pe Milaga Kom-ra Kira-aye Per mil-aye-gah कमरा किराये पर मिलेगा?
Can you take me to my hotel? Kya Aap Mujhe Mere Hotel Le Ja Sakte Hei? Ki-ya Aap Mooj-hey Meh-ray Hotel Lay Jah Suck-teh Heh? क्या आप मुझे मेरे होटेल लेजा सकते हे?
***Where is the train/bus station? ***Railway/Bus Station Kaha Hei? ***Railway/Bus Station Kuh-Ha Heh? रेलवे/बस स्टेशन कहा हे?
This is too expensive Yehe Bahut Mehenga Hei Yeh-hey Bah-hut May-hen-gah Heh एहे बहुत महेंगा हे
***Is there any discount? ***Kya Ispe Koy Choot Hei? ***Ki-ya Is-pay Koi Choot Heh क्या इस्पे कोय छूट हे?
Can you help me? Kya Aap Meri Madad Ker Sakte Hei? Ki-ya Aap Meh-ree Muh-dud Ker Suck-teh Heh? क्या आप मेरी मदद कर सकते हे?

 *** Something quite interesting is that the word “Bus” बस in Hindi also means “Enough”. This will come in handy especially when you are out shopping and also in restaurants.

*** When asking the question “Is there any discount?” क्या इस्पे कोय छूट हे? Please make sure to pronounce the word “Choot” छूट very precisely as this can also refer to something derogatory.

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