Hindustani language

From Academic Kids

See also: Hindustani classical music.


Hindustani (or the Hindustani language) is a term used by linguists to describe a closely related series of languages or dialects stretching across the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. The term encompasses standardized dialects in the form of the official languages Hindi and Urdu, as well as numerous nonstandard dialects that exist as vernaculars throughout the region. For this meaning, the term "Hindi-Urdu" often supplants the term "Hindustani."

Urdu is the official language of Pakistan and the official language of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as an officially recognized regional language in India. The word "Urdu" derives from a Turco-Persian word referring the "language of the camp," and began as the common speech of soldiers serving Mughal lords. The term became transferred to the court language of the Mughal aristocracy, whose dialect was based on the upper-class dialect of Delhi. Urdu's historical development was centered on the Urdu poets of the Mughal courts of north Indian metropolises such as Delhi, Lucknow, Lahore, and Agra. Urdu is written using a modified form of the Arabic script.

Standard Hindi, the official language of India, is based on the Khariboli dialect of the Delhi region. A more scholarly, Sankritized form of Hindi developed primarily in Varanasi, the Hindu holy city and is based on the Eastern Hindi dialect of that region. The term "Hindi" can be an ambiguous term, referring variously to (1) standardized Hindi as taught in schools throughout India, (2) formal or official Hindi as instituted by the post-independence Indian government, heavily influenced by Sanskrit, (3) the vernacular dialects of Hindustani/Hindi-Urdu as spoken throughout India, (4) the neutralized form of the language used in popular television and films, or (5) the more formal neutralized form of the language used in broadcast and print news reports.

In a specific sense, "Hindustani" may be used to refer to the dialects and varieties used in common speech, in contrast with the standardized Hindi and Urdu. This meaning is reflected in the use of the term "bazaar Hindustani," in other words, the language of the street or the marketplace, as opposed to the perceived refinement of formal Hindi, Urdu, or even Sanskrit.

The languages or standardized dialects known as Urdu and Hindi are the two standardized forms of the language. However, Urdu and Hindi, especially in their most formal forms, are different enough that many people consider them mutually unintelligible, and, therefore, separate languages. However, in common speech, while individuals may say that they are speaking either "Urdu" or "Hindi," the dialects may be similar enough to be considered variations of the same language. This is illustrated by the widespread popularity throughout India and Pakistan of purportedly Hindi-language films produced in Bombay.

What languages or dialects can be considered to be encompassed by the terms "Hindustani," "Hindi-Urdu," or "Hindi," is the subject of political controversy. There are those who argue that all these dialects come under the "Hindi-Urdu" umbrella, while others argue that one or another specific vernacular is a separate language. Vernacular dialects that are often classified as dialects of Hindustani/Hindi-Urdu/Hindi include:

(Boldface indicates a dialect often classified as a separate language):

Panjabi, Chattisgarhi, Bagheli, Awadhi, Bihari (Bhojpuri, Maithili, and Magahi), Rajasthani (Marwari, Mewati, [[Jaipuri]), Braj Bhasha, Bundeli, Hariani, Kanauji, Uttaranchali or Uttarakhandi (Grahwali and Kumauni), Khariboli, Western Hindi, Eastern Hindi, Bambaiya Hindi

Hindi and Urdu: sister tongues

While grammatically, Urdu and Hindi are considered dialects of a single language (or diasystem), they differ (in formal tongue) vastly in vocabulary; wherein Urdu draws heavily on Persian and Arabic and Hindi on Sanskrit and to a lesser extent Prakrit.

The difference between the two languages, when spoken in purer form, is not quite the same as that between English of the United States and that of the United Kingdom. Indeed, an effective illustration is that an Urdu speaker would be largely flummoxed by a Hindi newscast (the assumption being it is pure Hindi) and a Hindi speaker would find an Urdu newscast equally unintelligible (the assumption being it is pure Urdu). However, in day-to-day life, in casual speech, the spoken forms of the languages realign on a more level and mixed plane.

The associated dialects of Urdu and Hindi are known as the "Hindustani". It is perhaps the lingua franca of the west and north of the Indian subcontinent, though it is understood widely in other regions as well. A common vernacular sharing characteristics with Urdu, Sanskritized Hindi, and regional Hindi, Hindustani is more commonly used as a vernacular than highly Arabicized/Persianized Urdu or highly Sanskritized Hindi.

This can be seen in the popular culture of Bollywood or, more generally, the vernacular of Pakistanis and Indians which, while utilizing a good deal of Hindi verbiage, is interpersed with large amounts of Urdu, hence making the language of Bollywood movies sound as much Urdu as it is Hindi. Minor subtleties in region will also affect the 'brand' of Hindustani, sometimes pushing the Hindustani closer towards Urdu or towards Hindi. One might reasonably assume that the language spoken in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (known for its beautiful usage of Urdu) and Benares (a holy city for Hindus and thus using highly Sanskritized Hindi) is somewhat different. A humorous way of putting it would be that the Lucknow lehejaa (accent in Urdu) is of a different shade than the Benares ucchaaran (accent in Hindi).

Hindustani, if both Hindi and Urdu are counted, is the third or second most extensively understood language in the world after English and Mandarin.

See Also

de:Hindustani fr:Hindoustani nds:Hindi-Urdu ja:ヒンドゥスターニー語 pl:Język hindustani


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