Friday, November 9, 2012

Best Books and Websites to Learn Hindi

This entry is about the best Hindi textbooks and resources that I use and like. I have lived in India for almost 3 years, have been married to an Indian for almost 5 years and have been learning Hindi for about 6 years however I am not a Hindi professor yet as I rarely get to really use it. At the moment my Hindi usage is quite passive and I use my all Hindi for listening and abruptly answering. I seldom read Hindi books or papers, although I try and force myself to do this from time to time in order to improve it at least a little. So here goes Hindi resources beginning with the Hindi level:


1. "Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script" by Rupert Snell

This is a book for those who want to learn Hindi script or Devanagari script. The author introduces Devanagari characters unit-by-unit and step-by-step. In the introduction he advises on how to use the book and keeps encouraging the whole time on how to study and practice the script. There are handwritten Devanagari versions provided together with the stroke order. The book also teaches 100 the most common Devanagari consonant conjuncts and tricks on how to easily remember. You are very much likely to learn some great and simple but useful Hindi vocabulary, test yourself through exercises, learn from real life Devanagari posters and get to know a little about Indian culture and North Indian languages. The book is very well written and professionally presented by an experienced Hindi tutor. You will always feel guided and will definitely learn the Hindi script by the time you finish it.

by Rupert Snell Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script(text only)1st (First) edition[Paperback]2003

2. "Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi" with a CD by Rupert Snell

"Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi" book and CD is the best Hindi grammar for beginner's that I could ever dream of. It is simple, it is well organized, it teaches through dialogues, examples and comparisons. Hindi is always written in both: Devanagari and English transliteration. It has exercises for testing the self and a CD, if you're a complete beginner. I think this book covers the basics of Hindi grammar in a very friendly, supportive way where everything is easy and well-explained. If you complete every unit very carefully, there is a good chance you'll have a firm base to use basic Hindi by the time you finish the book. I loved that book because I loved the style that it was written, the characters, the dialogues and the pictures. It seemed that the person who wrote it is in love with Hindi and that really motivates and inspires. I would really recommend the CD too.

Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Audiopackage

3. "Teach Yourself Hindi" by Rupert Snell

"Teach Yourself Hindi" is a grammar that is one step above the "Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi" in a way that it is more advanced. It is thicker, it has more rules, more dialogues, more text, more Devanagari, more phrases and expressions and it ceases writing the transliteration after few units. It is a great Hindi grammar book if you want it complete. However if you're a complete beginner and it's the first you're studying an Asian language, you might get overwhelmed by how fast the tempo gets after just a few units. In this case I would recommend "Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi" which is designed for beginners. "Teach Yourself Hindi" also comes in a CD pack or you can buy a book + a CD separately. 

Teach Yourself Hindi: Complete Course (Teach Yourself Language Complete Courses) (Hindi Edition)

4. "Hindi, Urdu & Bengali: Lonely Planet Phrasebook"

I bought this phrasebook not only because I am teaching myself Hindi but also because I totally want to learn Bengali too. This phrasebook has a short intro into the grammars of all these languages, basic phrases and numerical systems plus vocabularies at the end. It covers the most used phrases and casual expressions, Indian food menus and cultural notes. It is small, it is good, it is concise and that's all I want from  a phrasebook.

Hindi, Urdu & Bengali: Lonely Planet Phrasebook

5. "GCSE Hindi" by J. S. Nagra

I first found this book in library in the UK. This book was last published in 1992 and may appear a little outdated in some way. However it appeared to be extremely useful for me as it had all Hindi GCSE (12 class exam) papers in it. The book is divided into four parts: reading, listening, speaking and writing and is supposed to come with an audio cassette, however that is not for sale. In any case, I found thematic texts and word lists of big help and I think it's very good if you want to find out what Hindi level are you and can you pass a GCSE exam. I would recommend it as an additional resource in studying Hindi.

Gcse Hindi

6. "Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary" by Rupert Snell

"Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary" is a user friendly dictionary for beginners. It has all the words that appeared in Rupert Snell's "Teach Yourself Hindi" books. Each word is written in Devanagari and transliterated into Roman script. It is extremely useful as a set of words you need to know to enter the higher level of Hindi. However it is too small if you intend to read Hindi classical novels or poetry. For that reason you might need a big Oxford dictionary.

Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary

7. "The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary" by R. S. McGregor

"The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary" is probably the biggest Hindi to English dictionary you could ever find and need. It is a proper thick and heavy dictionary that you're expected to use when you seriously study a language. It is all arranged according to Hindi alphabetical order (Devanagari order) so you may need to attach stickers that could help you navigate in this massive amount of words. It maybe hard to get used to it at first but after using it for some time, you'll become faster and faster and it will help your Hindi more than the electronic dictionary. This dictionary might turn very helpful if you're reading Hindi classics such as Premchand.

The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary

8. "Outline of Hindi Grammar" by R.S. McGregor

I use "Outline of Hindi Grammar" for grammar reference. This book seems a little more complicated and scientific than Rupert Snell's "Teach Yourself Hindi". "Outline of Hindi Grammar" starts with the Devanagari script shown in handwritten form. The teaching technique is not very different from Ruper Snell's and that's why I like this book. It offers a wider, more detailed and more scientific Hindi perspective.

* Please note that the covers of some books by Rupert Snell may differ as there has been a new edition. These are the covers of the books that I bought 5 years ago. Please go by the title if you're interested in buying these books.


1. Hindi Urdu Flagship Program sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin and has a free online Hindi resource library that provides free Hindi textbooks, media library, podcasts and Hindi worksheets developed by the author Rupert Snell himself. 

2. A Door Into Hindi a Hindi teaching website that provides short Bollywood style films that are intended to teach Hindi using different situations. The same film has a script written in Devanagari and a vocabulary going with it. Also, there are games and exercises that help for testing oneself. It is really enjoyable and cultural experience.

3. Devanagari Script Tutor is a website for learning Devanagari script with the emphasis on the similar sounds such as ka, kha, ga, gha that are difficult for many Hindi students to distinguish. It is a game type software that is created in accordance with Rupert Snell's textbooks by Richard Woodward. I have used it for the first one or two weeks after I completed "Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script". It was really effective and helped me understand the differences between the Hindi sounds.

4. Crazy Lassi's Hindi Lessons it is my Hindi blog that contains mainly word lists, basic phrases, intro to Devanagari and beginner's grammar accompanied with YouTube Hindi videos that my husband and I made. You might find it useful if you haven't bought Hindi textbooks yet. This blog can be used as an additional reference while studying your own Hindi course but should not be taken for granted as it is an amateur language blog. 

5. Google Hindi-English-Hindi translator is probably one of the best online. I have tried some and I always stick to this one. This translator is pretty good if you want to translate single words and very common phrases but it can be weak in translating cases, genders and plurals. It is great, again, because it automatically transliterates your Hindi written in English and it offers the pronunciation too. It is simple, popular and good enough for simple translations.


taxxbiex said...

Thanks for this. Really helpful and kind of you...and congrats for all your other efforts on your blog and youtube.

John Miller said...

Good list of books. thank you for sharing.

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