Category Archives: Learning Hindi

Cute Apps to Learn Hindi or Bengali

Many people have asked how we kept Miss A entertained on our long trip to India and through Europe.  I planned ahead and brought some light weight toys and small books that would travel well.  We were already waaaaay over packed, so I really tried to go light.  But 24+ hours en-route with a not-quite-two-year-old toddler could wreck havoc on your nerves if you aren’t prepared.  So aside from her new love of all things Elmo and Sesame Street (I brought some cute little figures of her four favorite characters – big hit!) – I loaded up our iPad (and iPhones) with some new toddler-friendly apps.  Miss A was playing these apps just the other day when I heard it start speaking in Hindi, so I investigated and realized she had changed the settings.  I never would have known there was a Hindi option otherwise!

Jobs – Guess Who? By Ripple Digital Publishing
Animals Premium – Guess Who? By Ripple Digital Publishing (there is also an Animals lite/free version)

Both games feature animals or jobs and the child has to click through the rotating images when the written word matches the correct image. After they click correctly, the name of the animal or job is spoken.

You can choose from sixteen languages, including Hindi and Bengali, and you can set the written language to a different language from the audio language.

All in all these are cute apps and I’m all for these kinds of apps with an educational value – especially when they promote learning Indian languages!

Do you know of any good apps that help kids (or adults!) learn Hindi or another “Desi” language?  Any tips on keeping kids occupied on long trips?

Hindi Magnetic Letters for Kids

So my baby girl is 6 months old now and I can hardly believe it! My husband and I have decided we really want to encourage her to learn Hindi from a young age. We speak English primarily in our home (even with my Mother-in-Law), so we will have to make a conscious effort to teach Miss A Hindi. My husband is doing his best to try to remember to speak to her in Hindi…and he sings a song in Hindi to her that she loves – I’ll have to try and get that on video one of these days!
To help accomplish our goal of teaching her Hindi, we have found a few resources.
  • I have copies of the Baby Hindustani DVDs in Hindi – which she’ll start watching when she gets a little bigger (at least big enough to sit up on her own!)
  • Sometimes when she wants to be held, but I am trying to get some work done for one of my graphic design clients, I will put on a YouTube channel with short Hindi cartoons. She will sit in my lap mesmerized by it for several minutes.
  • Kahani Magazine was also a great resource that I was hoping to introduce our daughter to when she got a little older – but sadly, they’ve had to stop publishing for now. I’m crossing my fingers that they will work something out – but for you you can still order back issues.
  • A new resource that I just ordered is the magnetic “Varnamala Hindi Letter Set.” I have not seen these in person yet, but I will be sure and let you know how we like them. I think they are a great idea for a young child to help them learn the Hindi letters. I’m hoping Miss A agrees!
Do you have any other resources for teaching your child a South Asian Language?
*photo above is from

Fun iPhone Apps for Learning Hindi

So we are finally back from vacation! We had visitors for 2 weeks straight – but it was wonderful to get to do fun “touristy” things in the area. It took me almost a week to recover from all of the company… but stay tuned for more on that later!

I’ve been having fun with an app that I downloaded for my iPhone, called WordPower Light. It is a fun way to test your Hindi knowledge, and even pick up a few new words and phrases along the way. One great thing is that it includes the words in the Devanagari script as well as phonetically written in English. A serious student can keep up with the correct spelling – and get used to recognizing the word – while a more casual student can still play along.

Another great point is that you can listen to the word/phrase from a native speaker, then record your voice and play it back – to see how close your pronunciation is. Then you can add the words to your word bank and test your knowledge with flash cards. For a 99¢ app – it is pretty handy. They also offer a full version which is $9.99. From what I can tell – with the Lite version, you get access to one word/phrase per day, and you can choose to save them -with the full version, you get instant access to over 2,000 of the most commonly used words/phrases.
Either way, if you’re working on your Hindi – it’s a great little app to play with in your spare time! Find these apps and others by searching for “Hindi” in the iTunes App store.
Have you guys found any cool apps like these? Are they useful or just entertaining?

Meet MeeraMasi – Another Cool Language Aid

MeeraMasi is a company that focuses on introducing Indian language, traditions and culture through high-quality products, including books, audio CDs, DVDs, and interactive toys.  

MeeraMasi means Meera Aunty.  The idea for the company came about when two Indian sisters, who had immigrated to the USA, wanted to teach their kids the language and culture.  They called their new company MeeraMasi since they were hoping they books and products would help take the place of their beloved Aunties in India who would normally have helped teach their children Indian nursery rhymes.  They came up with picture books with Hindi nursery rhymes as well as English rhymes translated into Hindi.  The books include the Hindi script and English transliteration, and come with a CD so that non-Hindi speaking parents can get the right pronunciation! A big help for those of us in who are in intercultural Indian relationships.  

Some of their products include other Indian languages as well, including, Gujarati and Punjabi.  MeeraMasi even lets you become an “Ambassador” – by selling their products locally.  You could also host a MeeraMasi party or fundraiser to raise money for a non-profit organization.  Click here to visit the MeeraMasi website.  For other posts about learning Indian languages, click here.

Online Hindi Resource: A Door Indo Hindi

For those who are interested in sprucing up their Hindi, there is a very thorough Hindi class available online. The best part? It’s FREE!

A Door Into Hindi is offered by North Carolina State University. The course is by Dr. Afronz Taj. It was sponsored in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

There are 24 lessons. Each lesson has a video – filmed in India or Pakistan, entirely in Hindi. There is also a written script of each lesson’s dialog. The script is not transliterated into English, you will need to become familiar with the Devangari writing system – but from my own experience, it is much better to learn to read and write at the same time as you learn to speak. In addition to the video and script, many of the lessons offer a downloadable mp3 file – which would be great to put on your ipod to keep the lesson fresh in your mind!

You will also find a vocabulary list with sound & English translation. Additional resources for each lesson include: grammar lessons, exercises, quizzes, cultural notes, and video clips of the professor teaching in a classroom setting.

Overall, I’d say this is a fabulous resource. I have found a few broken links, but hopefully they will fix those. I’ve learned a lot from this and hope to keep studying it! Click here to get started with, A Door Into Hindi! Let me know what you think!

P.S. I found a resource that I used when I first learned to write in Hindi. Click the images below to download printable Hindi consonants & vowels practice pages.

Do you speak Hinglish with your spouse?

Because of my bi-cultural marriage, I naturally find myself wanting to learn Hindi better. When I lived in India in my pre-marriage days, I took a Hindi class. That got me familiar enough with the Devanāgarī (देवनागरी) script to read & write – but vocabulary and grammar just take time and practice (and lots of Bollywood movies, of course!).

So to combat my lacking Hindi skills, my husband (DH) and I find ourselves using “Hinglish” – a combination of English and Hindi. I’d much rather be able to converse entirely in Hindi, but I figure, Hinglish is a start!

Some Hindi words we commonly mix into our English:

  • Chumma – Kiss
  • Pyaar – Love
  • Pukka – absolutely first class and genuine
  • Lurdkee – Girl
  • Lurdka – Boy
  • Moti/Mota – Fat
  • Yaar – A friend
  • Thanda – cold
  • Chalega – to move
  • Accha – Good
  • Thik Hai – It’s fine
  • Khali – Empty
  • Bahut – Very
  • Kahan – Where
  • Yahan – Here
  • Nachne- Dance

What words have you adopted when communicating with your spouse or children? A great resource tool for learning Hinglish is a book by Baljinder K. Mahal, called, The Queen’s Hinglish: How to Speak Pukka. Find the book here.

Editorial Review:

Hinglish is a popular dialect composed of English combined with elements of Southern Asian languages. It is quickly becoming an international phenomenon thanks to the internet and the vastly popular Bollywood film industry. Collected here are some of the best-loved and most familiar Hinglish terms—including “chuddies” (underwear) and “badmash” (naughty)—designed to orient the newcomer to the language. Packed with intriguing facts and stories and illustrated throughout, this “pukka” (first class) reference to the newest iteration of English will charm and delight language-lovers and trend-spotters alike.

Baby Hindustani

Are you finding it difficult to teach your children an Indian Language?

There is a great company called Baby Hindustani which produces DVD’s for children to learn Indian languages.

So far, they have Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, and Bengali. They speak only in the Indian language, so children learn by association. Classical music in the background also provides a soothing touch.

I’ve always worried how we will teach our kids Hindi, since I am not a native speaker, and my husband admits that his Hindi leaves something to be desired. I feel it is important for our kids to learn their “father” tongue. And I know it will serve them well later in life. Everyone knows it is so much easier to learn language at a young age.

These DVD’s make it a fun process as well, I think my husband and I will also learn a thing or two. I hope Baby Hindustani continues to expand their DVD selection! Click here to visit the Baby Hindustani website.