Center for Language Studies

Hindi and Urdu

Hindi is the second most widely spoken language of the world. You’ll be able to have a conversation with more than 700 million friends!

Why Learn Hindi or Urdu?

  • Hindi is an official language of India. Whether you are dealing in business, information technology, science or digital media, India is an increasingly important presence globally.
  • Spoken by a large number of people worldwide -- India, Pakistan, Nepal as well as Trinidad, Fiji, Guyana, Mauritius, South Africa.
  • The language of the increasingly popular Bollywood movies.
  • If you speak Hindi/Urdu, you have a language in common with millions of people.
  • Urdu is the official language of Pakistan.
  • The percentage of English speaking people in India and Pakistan is about 7%. 90% of people in rural India and Pakistan do not understand English, hence Hindi/Urdu is required.
  • Hindi and Urdu are virtually identical at the everyday spoken level.
  • Hindi is written in the Devanagari script, which is both elegant and easy to learn. Nepali, Marathi, and Sanskrit (India's classical language) are also written in this script.
  • Urdu is written in a modified form of the Arabic script.
  • The literary history of Hindi and Urdu goes back to the thirteen century.
  • Hindi/Urdu is ancient, elegant and expressive. Hindi/Urdu is a language with a tremendous legacy of poetry, philosophy and song. Knowledge of Hindi/Urdu opens doors to the study of poetry and sacred texts that is rare for Westerners.
  • Proficiency of Hindi-Urdu language and culture will pave the way to success.
  • Hindi and Urdu are Critical Languages according to the National Security Education Program and expertise in them will open up doors for you post Brown.

Hindi/Urdu Language Faculty

  • Ashok Koul

    Ashok Koul

    Associate Director of World Languages and Cultures, Distinguished Senior Lecturer for Hindi and Urdu

    Born and educated in Kashmir, India, Ashok Koul received a Bachelor's degree in English and Education from the University of Kashmir and the M.A. and Ph.D. in Linguistics from Kurukshetra University. He taught Hindi/Urdu in the Department of Linguistics at Syracuse University, where he earned a Master's degree in Linguistic Analysis in 1988. Since September of that year, Ashok has been teaching Hindi and Urdu at Brown University. His research interests are in the field of South Asian languages and linguistics. In addition to Kashmiri, his mother tongue, Hindi and Urdu, he knows several other Indian languages and has worked on the structural properties of these languages. He has co-authored a textbook Colloquial Urdu Routledge. During the past few years, he has published a number of papers in reputed journals. His forthcoming books are: Lexical borrowings in Kashmiri, Hindi-Urdu for beginners or travelers and Colloquial Wordbook.

Hindi/Urdu Events