One big difference between Hindi and English is that Hindi vowels have two forms, one form for when they stand alone and another for when the vowel joins to a consonant. Confused? Don’t worry, I’ll explain everything as we go through and by the end you’ll have it mastered!
Ready to get straight into it and learn your very first Hindi vowel? Excellent! So here it is;
If you can’t see the play button or if it wont work then click here for instructions on how to fix it!
Click the play button above to hear the letter pronounced, be sure to listen to it many times to make sure you remember it!
This is the letter अ a. It looks kind of like a 3 with a capital T after it and then a little small line in the middle joining them up. Can you see? Look at it again, अ a. Listen to it again.
It is pronounced as ‘a’, like the sound at the start of the English words, alive, apply, alert. It makes a very short sound. Can you practice saying it; अ a. Now practice writing it; अ a. Practice saying it and writing it at the same time! Listen to it more and more; अ a.
Don’t worry if you’re currently really confused with all the Hindi letters - everyone is to start with, even Mr Chimp above! With a little work you’ll get there, promise.
So are you ready to learn a word that starts with अ a? The Hindi word अच्छा acchaa means ‘good’. Can you see the अ a in this word? Where is it? Yeah that’s right, it’s right at the beginning! अच्छा acchaa good!
Click the play button above to hear our two sample words for this letter; अच्छा acchaa - Good and नमस्ते namaste - Hello.
Now अ a is a very special vowel because it doesn’t change the consonant at all. Whenever you see a consonant with no modification at all then it should have the अ a sound. Can you remember this from Lesson #1 Saying Hello, we saw the letters न na and म ma which make up the word नमस्ते namaste - Hello. Well these letters, न na and म ma, have no modifications so they are both pronounced with an अ a. Following?
The greeting नमस्तेnamaste has two अ a ‘s in it! Can you remember we usually make this hand gesture when greeting someone with नमस्ते namaste.
Do you think you’re ready for the next vowel? Wll here it is;
This is the letter आ aa. What does it look like? Well it’s very simialar to अ a but आ aa has an extra vertical line on the right hand side. Can you see the difference? अच्छा acchaa good!
We pronounce आ aa as a long ‘a’ sound, this is like the ‘a’ in father. F-aa-ther. Listen to it several times. Say it out loud a few times; आ aa. Write it out a few times; आ aa Got it? आ aa. Are you ready to learn a word that uses आ aa?
What do you think आग aag could mean? What’s in the picture? Fire! Can you see the आ at the start of आग aag fire? अच्छा acchaa - good!
Click the play button above to hear two sample words with the letter आ aa; आग aag - Fire and नाम naam - Name
Now when we want to add an आ to a consonant we add this symbol, ा at the end of the consonant. Remember the letter न na from नमस्ते namaste - Hello? Well when we add आ aa to न na it becomes ना naa. Can you see the extra line here; न na and ना naa Got it? न na should have a very short ‘a’ sound and ना naa has a long ‘aa’ sound. Great!
The word नाम naam means ‘name’ in Hindi. We learn how to ask someone their name in Lesson #20 and this uses the word नाम naam. Have a quick check and see if you can recognise the word नाम naam there!
And that’s it for today! We’ve learnt the first two vowels of Hindi, अ a and आ aa do you think you can you remember these for next time? अच्छा acchaa good! Make sure you listen to the audio files over and over again to help improve your pronunciation!
Click here to go back to the Vowels Section.