English vs. Hindi: Differences Indian Students Have to Mind When Learning English

Hindi and English are two of the most widely spoken languages in the world. While English stands in first place with 1.35 billion speakers, Hindi comes third with 600 million speakers. This is why people who are fluent in both these languages often have an advantage in academic, literary, and even professional settings.

If you’re adept at Hindi and are looking forward to moving to an English-speaking nation, this article is for you. It will help you understand the similarities, and more importantly, the differences between the two. Anyway, such essay companies like CustomWritings.com are at students’ service to provide high-quality paper writing assistance at any time of the day or night. If you are not sure about your English writing skills, don’t miss such an opportunity to learn in practice. 

Alphabet

While Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and Hindi is widely spoken in India, the two languages share almost everything except the script. Urdu is written from right to left in Arabic script and Hindi is written from left to right in Devanagari script. Both of these languages can be clubbed together and called the Hindustani language. All the points discussed in this article will apply to both languages.

While Hindi is written in Devanagari script, English is written in the Modern Roman/Latin alphabet. Hindi contains 10 vowels and 40 consonants which is a lot when compared to the 5 vowels and 21 consonants in English. This allows easier expression of the sounds made by use while speaking in written form.

Phonetics

Hindi is a very phonetic language which means that the pronunciation of words is easily predictable by the way they are spelled. However, English is not so straightforward in this regard and can be a little confusing for the Hindi speakers who are dependent on the phonetic nature of their language. This is largely due to the higher number of consonants in Hindi when compared to English. Hindi has almost twice the number of consonants which makes it easier to maintain the phonetic qualities of the language.

Hindi speakers face difficulties in pronouncing English words due to the flawed nature of the English alphabet. English utilizes a limited number of vowels and consonants to spell out the words which make the non-native readers confused. The words like sad-said, vat-wet, and sleigh-slay highlight these issues. Such words cause great difficulty in distinguishing the phonemes to almost every non-native English learner.

The clustering of consonants is also highly pronounced in English when compared to Hindi. The cramping together of consonants in words like straight, film, spoon, and school leads to flawed pronunciations which sound more like istraight, filam, ispoon, and ischool respectively. Hindi doesn’t face this problem due to the variety of vowels and consonants available to be used which is why Hindi speakers aren’t accustomed to it.

One area where Hindi struggles is the weak word stress when we compare it to English. However, the weak stress in Hindi is more predictable than it’s in English. The words like product-production and politics-politician are a few key examples of these varying and unpredictable stresses in English. Some words in English aren’t even stressed at all but the native Hindi speakers like to clearly articulate those words, for example- was, is, and, to, has, etc.

These are some of the reasons why the pronunciation of Indian English speakers sounds so off to the native English speakers. The way that most non-native speakers choose to emphasize is by changing the pitch whereas the proper way to do it in English is by a heavier articulation. A non-native speaker might be fluent in English but as long as they don’t clear up their phonetic fundamentals, they won’t sound perfectly natural.

Grammar

The tenses that exist in both languages are very similar and there’s practically no difference between them in this regard. However, the Hindi speakers choose to overuse some tenses like the present continuous when they should be using any other tense like a present simple. This is due to the lack of correspondence in their meanings when used. When speaking Hindi, a present continuous is acceptable but the same rule doesn’t directly transfer over to English. This is why we see so many people using sentences like I’m always going for a walk every night instead of just saying I always go out for a walk every night.

Hindi also lacks the auxiliary do which is why the Hindi speakers forget to use it in English. They may speak sentences like Where you come from? or When you came home? The Hindi speakers rely on their intonation alone which is why their sentences wouldn’t make much sense when written.

Hindi speakers also tend to use subjunctives in their requests which leads to an improper ordering of the words used in a question. The order of words used while asking a question is more akin to the ordering used in statements. This is clearly visible in questions that are formulated in the wrong way- You’ll pass me the salt please, or You may lend me some money.

Another big difference between the two languages for the speakers is that Hindi uses the subject-object-verb arrangement whereas English uses the subject-verb-object arrangement. This confuses the minds of the native Hindi speakers who end up arranging the words improperly. 

The Hindi speakers also face problems with using the correct prepositions at the correct places. The prepositions in Hindi generally come after the noun/pronoun that it qualifies. This is in contrast to English where the prepositions come before the nouns/pronouns. Hindi users often use the wrong prepositions such as The mobile is at on the table, which makes their sentence structure seem poor. However, using the correct propositions can’t be taught and it usually comes naturally with more practice.

Vocabulary

Since Hindi is a very adaptable language, it has adopted many words from English. Most native Hindi speakers speak these words rather frequently without even realizing their origins. This is also true the other way round as English has also adopted some words from Hindi over the due course of time.

The Hindi words that have been borrowed by English are Vernadah, Jungle, Dinghy, Bandana, Chit, Pyjama, Juggernaut, Thug, Bangles, Shampoo, Loot, Bungalow, and many more.

The Words borrowed by Hindi from the English language are Botal (Bottle), Aspatal (Hospital), Kaptaan (Captain), Santri (Sentry), Afsar (Officer), and many more.

These words can make it easy for the non-natives of each of these languages to learn the other language. However, the pronunciations are vastly different and will need some adjustments to be actually usable.

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