Hindi is an excellent choice of language for an English-speaking learner, but it’s not without its challenges. Learning any language takes a lot of time, but Hindi can take a little more than most.
Learning Hindi takes approximately 1100 hours to learn fluently. That’s three to five years for most people, although dedicated learners could achieve it in two. A basic level of Hindi can be reached in a few months. Hindi is one of the most difficult languages to learn for native English speakers.
It’s difficult to break down how long it’ll take for a given person to learn a language. Learning a new language is always difficult, but you can make it easier or harder depending on the method and your attitude.
Why Learning Hindi Takes Time
The best estimate for language learning that we have is the Foreign Service Institute’s difficulty rankings.
The FSI organizes most major languages into five groups of ascending difficulty. Hindi is in group four, the second hardest. Languages in this group take approximately 1100 hours to learn fluently.
If you study for two hours every day, it’ll take you a little over two years to learn Hindi. But you’re likely going to take breaks, so the actual time frame will be around three to four years.
Even then, reaching perfect fluency might be impossible without fully immersing yourself; that is, moving to Northern India or surrounding yourself with Hindi speakers.
Do You Want To Reach Fluency?
But what does it mean to be fluent in a language? The answer to this question can change your learning goal and the time needed to achieve it.
According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, a person is fluent in a language when:
- They can understand a wide range of demanding and long texts.
- They can express themselves spontaneously.
- They produce clear text and speech in different contexts.
If that’s the point you want to get to with Hindi, it’s definitely going to take you 1100 hours or more.
If you only want to achieve basic communication in Hindi, then four to eight months of dedicated learning should be enough. However, this won’t go beyond common phrases and simple information.
Is Hindi Difficult?
Hindi is a difficult language to learn for an English speaker. Learners need to memorize a completely different alphabet with ten vowels and understand its complex grammar.
What is it about Hindi that requires so much time to learn? Here are some of its trickiest features:
- Learning Devanagari. Devanagari is the alphabet used by Hindi and other languages. It’s consistent with its pronunciation, but it’s an entirely new set of symbols to learn.
- Complex conjugation. Hindi has several tenses, modes, and aspects, adding up to many verb forms.
- Case and gendered nouns. In Hindi, you have to be aware of the grammatical gender of each noun. Nouns also have cases, which means they’re written differently depending on the role they fulfill in the sentence.
The Best Ways To Learn Hindi
When learning Hindi, it’s not just the amount of hours, but how you use them. As with all languages, time and consistency are key, but methods are just as important.
If you’re looking for the best way to learn Hindi, try to prioritize the following:
- Comprehensible input. Expose yourself to Hindi and try to understand it.
- Comprehensible output. Express yourself in Hindi, even if it’s in simple ways at first.
- Immerse yourself. Consume as much content in Hindi as you can.
- Feedback. Committing errors is crucial, and you need someone to point them out and help you make changes. This is why lessons with teachers can be extremely helpful.
Hindi is difficult to learn, but don’t let that bring you down. It only means it’ll be even more rewarding once you master it. Besides, it’s still not as hard as Japanese or Chinese.
It’s normal to take your time learning a language, especially with those that are vastly different from English, like Hindi.