When In India, Speak Like the Indians Do

Being in foreign land always challenges one on the communication front, especially when the languages differ very much. In India, a land where you will find more than 700 different languages out of which 22 are listed in the constitution, it most definitely becomes a task to reach out to and understand everyone. Even though English has continued to be an important language; it is Hindi (No, it’s not the same as Indian, there’s no language such as Indian) that is widely spoken throughout the country.

Here’s a preliminary guide that includes basic words, phrases and expressions that could help you communicate when you are in India.

Emergency phrases:

  • Help! - Bachao, Madad karo
  • Fire! - Aag lagi hai
  • Stop- Ruk jao
  • Call the police- Police ko bulao
  • Call an ambulance - Ambulance bulao
  • I need help. - Mujhe madad chahiye
  • I am hurt - Mujhe chot lagi hai

Basic words:

  • Hello, Hey - Namaste/ Namaskar
  • Yes - Haan
  • No - Na , Nahi
  • Okay - Theek hai
  • Bye - Phir milenge
  • Good Morning - Suprabhat
  • Good Night - Shubh Ratri
  • Sorry - Maaf kijiye
  • Thank you - Dhanyawad/ Shukriya
  • Please- Kripaya
  • Let’s go - Chalo/Chaliye

Question words:

  • What? - Kya?
  • Why?- Kyun?
  • When? - Kab?
  • How? - Kaise?
  • Who? - Kon?
  • Where? - Kahan?/ Kidhar?


  • Take left- Bayein taraf lo
  • Take Right - Daayein/ Seedhi taraf lo

Conversational phrases:

  • How are you? - Aap kaise hain?
  • I am well, thank you - Main theek hun, dhanyawad.
  • Pleased to meet you- Aapse milke bahut acha laga.
  • What’s your name? - Aapka naam kya hai?
  • My name is Jack- Mera naam Jack hai.
  • How much is this? - Yeh kitne ka hai?
  • How much is that? - Wo kitne ka hai?
  • What’s the time right now? - Kya samay hai abhi?
  • I am from Japan.- Main Japan se hun.
  • Where’s this? - Ye kahan hai?
  • Where’s that? - Wo kahan hai?
  • Where’s the hotel? - Hotel kahan hai?
  • Where’s the toilet? - Toilet kahan hai?
  • I don’t understand. - Mujhe samajh nahi aaya.
  • This is good. - Yeh acha hai.
  • This is not good. - Yeh acha nahi hai.
  • I know. - Mujhe pata hai.
  • I am hungry - Mujhe bhook lagi hai.
  • I am thirsty. - Mujhe pyaas lagi hai.
  • I want that. - Mujhe wo chahiye.
  • I want this. - Mujhe ye chahiye.
  • I like this. - Mujhe yeh acha laga.
  • I like that. - Mujhe wo acha laga
  • I don’t like this - Mujhe ye acha nahi laga
  • I don’t know- Mujhe nahi pata.
  • Have a nice day.- Aapka din acha ho.
  • He/ She is my friend. - Ye mera/ meri dost hai.
  • This is my wife. - Ye meri patni hai.
  • This is my husband. - Ye mere pati hai.
  • I need to make a call.- Mujhe ek phone karna hai.
  • Can I borrow that? - Kya main ye le sakta (male)/sakti (female) hun?
  • Go away!- Mujhe akela chod do.
  • Happy birthday! - Janamdin mubarak ho!
  • I’ll see you tomorrow. - Kal milte hain.

To learn how to say these correctly and to add a few more to your hindi vocabulary; watch this video.

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Author: Jayati Gupta
A millennial who enjoys taking photographs & likes to write sometimes. She is fond of listening to stories and adores Shin Chan.