With a population of more than 545 million speakers worldwide, Hindi is one of the worldâs most popular languages. The language is not only the official language of India, but also widely spoken in neighboring regions of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and some parts of Africa, Europe and the Americas.
Hindi was first written in the 11 century in the accolade Devangari script, which to date, is recommended as the standard Hindi writing system in India for Nepali, Marathi, Kokani and Bodo languages. Devangari is a unique script derived from the Ancient Brahmi Scripts of the 5th century. It is considered to be one of the worlds most used official writing systems.
Itâs specialty lies in its ability to be written from left to right, which is the complete opposite of most writing systems. Foreigners who have learnt Hindi say itâs easy compared to European languages because words are spoken as they are written.
The first ever Hindi dictionary was the Kha:liqBa:ri:believed to have been written by early Persian traders venturing into India,to communicate their transactions. This first edition contains Arabic and Turkish equivalents of the Hindi words that were popularly used by Arabic immigrants in their travels.
Subsequent Hindi translations were published by visiting Europeans such as John Fergusonâs âA dictionary of Hindustani languageâpublished in London 1773 A.D. which came in handy to the English colonialists in dire need of learning and understanding Hindi. It was then closely followed by other translations such as the Hindustani and English,London,1817 (Shakespeare)and ADictionary: Hindustani and English, London, 1848 (Duncan Forbes) .Scholarly, the most highly acclaimed translation is the A dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi and English, London, 1884, (Platts)which contains Hindi and roman alphabetical
Critics have had their reservations about some translations such as Shri R. C. Pathak (Bhargava’s Standard Illustrated Dictionary of the Hindi language, Banares, 1946, which came out in the quarter of the 21st century one. Although this edition is based on Platts lexicology, it is said to represent a linguistic anachronism and betrays complete ignorance of the art of lexicography by containing meanings which never formed an essential part of standard Hindi vocabulary and ignores, many words and meanings that have very much been an asset to, and form an integral part of, the Hindi language.
Thanks to advancement in technology, the Hindi dictionary is now easily available online. Manuscripts derived from earlier translations are available on websites such as the Websterinternational dictionary, the Oxford word online dictionary and many other online sites. Applications of the translations are also available on google play and Apple stores for mobile phones and tablet users and are downloadable by the click of a button.
Like all other indigenous languages, Hindi continues to adapt to globalization, with new words and meaning being scripted in new translations. It is therefore expected that new and improved editions will published in the near future. Ones that will not hopefully uphold lexicological standards set by early translations to ensure the preservation of the hindi language.