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South Asia Department

Languages of South Asia at SOAS: Hindi

Hindi is the world’s third language, in terms of the number of its speakers. Besides being the official language of many north Indian states, it is widely spoken throughout India as a link language, and is regarded by many Hindu emigrants from India to the UK as their chief cultural language. Hindi is very closely related to Urdu, from which it differs principally only in script and in higher vocabulary. Modern standard Hindi is the vehicle of an ever-growing body of writing and journalism, and has been taken far beyond its natural frontiers by the Hindi film industry. In its wider sense the name ‘Hindi’ embraces a number of the regional dialects of northern India, whose pre-modern literatures are particularly valuable sources for an understanding of north Indian Hinduism.

We offer courses in Hindi language and literature at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, both as part of degree programmes within the Department, and as minor or open options on a wide variety of SOAS degrees.  A selection of those programmes, as well as a list of Hindi courses, are listed below.

Contacts: 

Dr Francesca Orsini (fo@soas.ac.uk), Mr Naresh Sharma (ns19@soas.ac.uk); Mr Rakesh Nautiyal (rn17@soas.ac.uk); or the Language Centre (languages@soas.ac.uk).

Degree Programmes

Degree Course Options

Language Centre

Other Resources

Suggested reading

  • J.S.Hawley and Mark Juergensmeyer, Songs of the saints of India, New Delhi 2004.
  • Francesca Orsini, The Hindi public sphere: language and literature in the age of nationalism, Oxford 2002.
  • Lucy Rosenstein, Nayi kavita: new poetry in Hindi, Delhi/London 2003.
  • C.Shackle and R.Snell, Hindi and Urdu since 1800, London 1990.
  • Rupert Snell with Simon Weightman, Teach yourself Hindi, London (rev. edn) 2000.
  • Rupert Snell, Teach yourself beginner’s Hindi script, London 2000.
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica, articles on Hindi literature (indexed in Micropaedia).

Please Note: Not all courses and programmes are available every year