Delhi Hindi(s)

Kalika Bali bali_k at USP.AC.FJ
Fri Jul 16 03:26:18 UTC 1999

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There is very little reference to any variety as "Delhi Hindi" and in the
literature there is seldom any distinction between Hindi spoken in Delhi
and that in some of the other areas of the "western Hindi dialect" groups.
I have been working on intervocalic voiced aspirated plosives in Hindi
spoken in Delhi. This is primarily a phonetic study so is rather limited in
its scope to answer questions regarding the sub-varieties of Hindi in
Delhi. I do refer to this Hindi as "Delhi Hindi" because of the want of any
other suitable term. My informant group consisted of 22 people half of whom
came from families which did not speak Hindi as their 'native' tongue
previously. That is, they were either the first or the second generation to
use Hindi as their first language, and did not speak their
parents/grandparents mother/native tongue or first language. I would not
like to classify them as people who have "lost their mother tongue". The
other half were from families which have spoken Hindi as their 'mother
tongue' for four or more generations. I carried out a varbrul analysis of
the tokens (2202) and found that the language background (hindi/non-hindi)
played no role at all in distinguishing the speech of the speakers as far
as voiced aspirated plosives were concerned.(There were significant
differences with other socio-linguistic factors like age and context) I
have to say that they came from very homogenous backgrounds
socio-economically. Most had school/university education and were employed
as teachers, doctors, journalists etc. I found it impossible to classify
them into hindi/non-hindi group on the basis of their speech alone.
I too would be interested in learning about any other studies on the Hindi
spoken in Delhi.
 Kalika Bali

> Hi all,
> I am looking for information/pointers regarding any systematic
> sociolinguistic or other study of Delhi varieties of Hindi--which ones
> these are, and whether one can refer to these by some cover term (such as
> "Delhi Hindi").
> Singh and Agnihotri (Hindi Morphology, MLBD publishers, New Delhi, 1997)
> briefly discuss "zabaan e-dehlavi" around the reign of Aurangzeb, but I am
> looking for answers to questions like the following:
> 1.  Are there clear sub-varieties of Hindi spoken in Delhi today?  What
> are they called?
> 2.  In Delhi, Hindi is spoken as a "native" language (whatever that means
> in the Indian context) by many people whose parents spoke/speak, say,
> Punjabi, Sindhi, or some other language.  Are these speakers regarded as
> part of the group speaking some representative variety of "Delhi Hindi"?
> 3.  Do close-by areas like Kurukshetra also count as lying in the "western
> Hindi dialect" group (that is how one paper desribes Delhi Hindi)?
> There are some references in Singh and Agnihotri's book, and I will look
> for others, but I would greatly appreciate it if the specialists among you
> could share your insights.
> Many thanks in advance,
>Shravan Vasishth

Kalika Bali
lecturer in linguistics
dept. of literature and language
school of humanities
the university of the south pacific
post box no. 1168
suva, fiji
phone : +679-212263                      fax : +679-305053
e-mail : bali_k at

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