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Hindi is the national language of India. It has its roots in the ancient language of Sanskrit. It is part of the Indo-European group of languages. There are many dialects of the language such as Avadhi, Brajbhasha, Khari Boli, Urdu, Haryanvi, Bundeli, and colloquial present-day Hindi etc. They all come under the umbrella term of Hindustani. It is the fourth largest spoken language in the world. Almost 258 million people in India alone speak the language while there are more than 500 million all over the world who do so.
The language has evolved over time. The influence of various languages from around the world is evident from its increasing vocabulary. The main impact has been from English, Arabic, Persian, Dravidian languages, Turkish, and Portuguese. This has been because of close historical links between India and countries where the other languages are spoken. Many loanwords that have become part of daily discourse have come from other languages. For instance, pencil, school, bottle, fees, sentry from English, chabi, ananas, balti, padre from Portuguese, and sabzi, duniya, waqt, shahar, deewaar,bulbul, durbin, hakikat, koshish from Persian, Turkish, and Arabic.
Early evidence of written Hindi comes in the Brahmi script in 4th century AD. However, the Devanagari script for the present-day Hindi was seen for the first time in the 11th century and continues to this day. It’s a phonetic script with 47 characters, 33 consonants, and 14 vowels. There are no uppercase or lowercase characters in the script. The pronunciation of the words is done as it is written, hence there is no ambiguity in its spelling unlike in most other languages.
The language is mainly spoken in North India, but with continual migration of North Indians to other parts of the country, it is understood and spoken in other states as well. Large-scale migration of people of Indian origin to other countries has spread the language worldwide. The large migrations have been to the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Besides migration, the historical connect of many countries with India has rooted the language there. Some of these countries are Mauritius, Fiji, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Orally, Hindi and Urdu are quite similar and can be mostly understood by speakers of either language. However, while Hindi has Sanskrit roots, Urdu has Persian influence. Their scripts too are different as Hindi is penned in Devanagari while Urdu is written in the Arabic script.