The 10th Most Powerful Language in the World: Hindi
Transliterating a word or phrase in one language means we have represented or spelled them in another language. Let’s look at a typical expression. When someone in your organization often fails to deliver what they promised, you might say that person was “all talk and no action.”
In Hindi, that idiom is a bit more colorful; thotha chana baje ghana, meaning “A hollow lentil makes more noise.”
Our series on the world’s ten most powerful languages continues with a look at Hindi, an official language of India. In a nation with many regional languages, Hindi remains the most used first language.
Worldwide, more than 370 million people use Hindi as their first language, with another 100+ million using it as a second language. Other countries where Hindi is spoken include Nepal and the Carribean nation Trinidad and Tobago. Hindi is also used by 6.5 million persons in the United States.
India recently passed China as the world’s fastest growing large economy. To power up your first impression when doing business with partners and customers in India, we’ve prepared a few helpful protocol tips to keep in mind.
- While Indian men greet foreign men with a handshake, they may not do the same with foreign women. Offer your hand to an Indian woman only after she has initiated a handshake. Otherwise, smile and nod.
- Greet senior people first; if in doubt, greet the oldest person first.
- Present and receive cards with your right hand and handle them carefully.
A word heard often in our mainstream culture is namaste, frequently associated with the practice of yoga. In fact, its meaning is universally recognized as one of respect and peace. The word is derived from Sanskrit, also one of India’s official languages, and translates into respectful variations of “I bow to you.” Ancient Sanskrit is regarded as a sacred language of Hinduism.
Namaste is also a polite greeting in modern India. A typical introduction in English is “Hello, my name is ________.” In Hindi, the transliteration sounds like Namaste, mera naam hai.
Each new phrase you learn and practice in the language of your business associates helps to project a positive first impression. Language matters in business, whether your next appointment is across town or beyond your border.
We hope you will return next week as we explore #9 on our list of the world’s most powerful languages.
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