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Hindi is an
Indo-Aryan language spoken by some 180 million native speakers in India. It is the official language of India, and it has significant numbers of speakers in other countries (e.g. 1 million in South Africa). At a colloquial level, it is virtually the same language as Urdu, although the literary forms of the twolanguages are mutually incomprehensible, due to the strong influence of Sanskrit on Hindi and Persian and Arabic on Urdu.

Hindi and Urdu evolved from the Khari Boli dialect, which came to be used as a
lingua franca throughout India (and present-day Pakistan) under British rule. While the earliest evidence of literature in Khari Boli goes back to the 10th c., it did not become a literary language until the end of the 17th c. On the other hand, Hindi poetry was usually written in the eastern Braj Bhasa dialect (rather than in Khari Boli) until the 19th c.

Hindi is written in the
Devanagari script, the same script that is used for Sanscrit.

Hindi is an
inflected language. Grammar is virtually the same as in Urdu, although literary Hindi uses many Sanskrit forms. The language lost six of eight cases of Sanscrit (from which it is ultimately descended), and endings were replaced by postpositions. The verb system was also simplified: only the present and future forms are fully conjugated, while other tenses are based on participial forms.
    Updated: 2017 January 1
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