Hindi, a member of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European family of languages, is, by any standard, one of the major languages of the world. With upwards of 300 million native speakers, it ranks between the third and fifth among the world's languages in terms of the number of native speakers. Along with English, Hindi is one of the two officially recognized national languages of India. It has significant concentrations of speakers in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi. Distinctive varieties of Hindi are found in other regions of India outside of the so-called "Hindi belt," including those spoken in Mumbai, Calcutta, and Hyderabad. Varieties of Hindi are spoken by millions of people in South Asia as a second or subsequent language. Overseas varieties of Hindi are spoken in many countries, including Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad, Fiji, Mauritius, and South Africa. Hindi, along with its sister language Urdu, is used as a lingua franca in emigrant South Asian communities throughout the world.

Hindi is the language of a rich literary tradition, written in both the modern standard language and in medieval dialects such as Braj and Avadhi. The devotional poets Surdas (16th century), Tulsidas (1532-1623), and Kabir (15th century) wrote in early literary varieties of Hindi. Important Hindi literary figures in more recent times include Bharatendu "Harishchandra" (1850-85) and Dhanpat Rai "Premchand" (1880-1936).

The Department of Asian Languages and Literature offers a wide range of courses in Hindi language and literature, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. These courses include three years of basic instruction in the language, courses in modern and medieval Hindi literature, and advanced courses in Hindi grammar, reading, and conversation.

In its official style, Hindi is written in the Devanagari writing system. A sister language to Hindi, written in Perso-Arabic script, and drawing upon the rich cultural and linguistic resources of Persian and Arabic, is Urdu, which is also offered in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature.

Watch the Hindi Course Trailer.

Please see the UW Course Catalog for course descriptions and Courses for class offerings per quarter.

Faculty in This Area

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Vazir Khan Masjid Lahore
Senior Lecturer
C. Diamond
Graduate Student in South Asian Languages and Literature, Teaching Assistant in South Asian
MA in South Asian Studies
Senior Lecturer
Professor, Divisional Dean of Humanities
Michiko Urita
Teaching Assistant in Japanese



Title Date Time Location
Ankit Chadha presents Dastan Goii
Ankit Chadha
Nov 5 9:30am Thomson Hall (THO) 317


Title Date Time Location
Asian TA Application Workshop Dec 6 3:30pm Savery 264
Dissertation Defense: Prem Pahlajrai Sep 18 10:15am Gowen Hall M-223


Title Date Time
"Why Meter Matters: Reading 20th Century Hindi Poetry from the Perspective of Metrical Structure"
Michael Shapiro, University of Washington
Jun 3 3:30pm


Title Date Time Location
"'The Woman Waylaid at the Well’: A Theme in Medieval Devotional Literature and Popular Hindi Film"
Heidi Pauwels, University of Washington
Apr 24 3:30pm to 5:00pm Smith 304


Title Date Time Location
"On the Evolution of Hindi as a Language of Literature"
Professor Ronald Stuart McGregor, University of Cambridge
May 23 7:00pm Walker-Ames Room (Kane 225)