Hindi At A Glance

  • Fourth most spoken language in the world
  • 260 million native speakers // 500 million speakers worldwide
  • An official language in India and widely understood in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan

Hindi serves as a unifying language across India, a country home to 1.2 billion people with over 122 major spoken languages. With its status as an official language, speaking Hindi opens the door to experience all aspects of life in India: from education and everyday communication to business opportunities and Bollywood films. Hindi is truly the common language for government, business, media, and entertainment.

Hindi is also a gateway to communicating with other people across South Asia. Linguistically, Hindi and Urdu are very similar languages: Knowledge of Hindi will allow you to communicate with Urdu speakers in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Interestingly, despite their linguistic similarities, Hindi is written in the Devanagari script, while Urdu uses the Arabic script and a slightly different vocabulary.


India—and the greater South Asian region—is one of the most important geographies of the 21st-century. Not only is India the world’s largest democracy and second most populous country, it also plays a key role as a regional power, balancing the influence of China in Asia.

The relationship between the U.S. and India continues to grow both in strategic and economic importance. Annual trade between the U.S. and India exceeded $100 billion in 2015. Economic growth in India is expected to outpace China and continue at a rate of 7.5 percent through 2020. India may even surpass China as the most populated country in the world by 2025. Overall, India’s presence on the world stage isn’t likely to fade anytime soon.

Still, Hindi remains a less-commonly-taught language in the U.S., with very few students learning about Indian culture and customs. Whether one day you plan to launch a tech startup, produce films, facilitate international trade, impact environmental and energy relations, or monitor international military issues, learning Hindi and understanding the significance of India will set you apart in the global job market and welcome you into a diverse culture steeped in ancient history.


What can you do with Hindi?