Hindi at the University of Chicago

Hindi, with over half a billion speakers, is the second most widely spoken language in the world, and is the official language of India, the world’s second most populous country. India’s rapidly growing economic, political, and cultural importance has significantly enlarged Hindi’s global sphere of influence, far beyond its traditional and still flourishing outposts of diaspora, from Fiji to Trinidad, Mauritius to Manchester.

The Hindi program at the University of Chicago is one of the most rigorous and comprehensive in the country. Students who take Hindi embark on an exciting and intensive course in language, culture, and literature. Hindi students at Chicago have consistently been successful in securing Critical Language Scholarships (CLS), FLAG grants, and Boren and NSEP fellowships, as well as gaining admission to the American Institute of Indian Studies and other summer and year-long language programs to study Hindi in India.

In addition to First-, Second-, and combined Third/Fourth-Year Hindi courses, occasional content courses on various aspects of Hindi literary culture for advanced students are also offered.

Chicago Hindi alumni have gained admission to top PhD programs and have won competitive language scholarships. They have also secured employment as professional translators and interpreters, have worked for international organizations and NGOs, and have themselves become instructors of Hindi.

Our Hindi instructors:

Four levels of Hindi are offered:

  • First-Year Hindi (Mondays through Fridays, 1:30-2:20 pm)
  • Second-Year Hindi (Mondays through Fridays, 2:30-3:20 pm)
  • Third/Fourth-Year Hindi (Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30-11:50 am)

Hindi placement exam:

The duration of the exam is approximately two hours.**

The Hindi placement exam will be held on Wednesday, September 21st from 1:30-3:30 in Foster 103.  Duration: approximately two hours.  The exam is administered only once per academic year—no exceptions.

Incoming graduate students unsure about their Hindi abilities may also take the exam to determine placement.

Hindi FAQ:

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  • I already have some background in written/spoken Hindi. What class should I take?
  • If you can speak Hindi, but can’t read or write, . If you can read and write, please take the Hindi placement exam given during orientation week just prior to commencement of classes (see the top of this page). Based on the results of your written and oral placement exam, the Hindi instructors will determine the level of Hindi best for you.

  • It says that First-Year Hindi meets Mondays through Fridays. What if I have a conflict on one or more of the days. Can I still take the class?
  • No. Students who wish to take Hindi 101 must be available all five days during class time—no exceptions.

  • I’d like to audit/sit-in on a Hindi class. Is that possible?
  • No. SALC does not permit auditors in any of the department’s language classes. Please consider registering for the class. You won’t regret it!

  • I already have some background in written/spoken Hindi. What class should I take?
  • Please contact the Hindi instructors and take the Hindi placement exam given during orientation week just prior to commencement of classes (see above). Based on the results of your written and oral placement exam, the Hindi instructors will determine the level of Hindi best for you.

  • For students attending the Pune autumn quarter program abroad:
  • Students who begin their Hindi studies abroad in Pune and who wish to continue in winter quarter of First-Year Hindi must contact the instructor in Chicago in order to make sure that they have covered enough material to be able to join the class in January. While many students have successfully joined the Hindi class after beginning their Hindi studies in Pune, there is no guarantee that a student can successfully join Hindi 102 due to the truncated quarter in Pune. It is therefore essential to contact the Hindi 101 instructor as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition.