U’s new Hindi courses lack popularity

Many students at the U choose to take Spanish, German, Japanese or Arabic as a foreign language course, but few have ever heard about Hindi.

Until now.

Professor Veena Dharni began teaching the beginning Hindi course last fall, but hasn’t had as much student interest as she would like.

“I’m trying to get more students with fliers and messages to BYU and SLCC because the Hindi class at the U is the only one,” Dharni said.

According to Dharni, Hindi is the second-most widely spoken language in the world behind Chinese. She said she doesn’t know why Hindi is not more widely taught in the United States.

Donna Abe said she takes the Hindi course because she “wants to go somewhere to teach overseas.”

“More and more students are taking Hindi to go to India,” Dharni said.

A trip to India is what Dharni eventually said she would promote.

Dharni said that many Hindi courses are taught in accordance with the Kotwara project, which allows students the opportunity to go to India and help build a school.

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough students currently enrolled in the course at the U to make this trip a reality.

The beginning Hindi course and Hindi II are provided through the Asian Studies Department, but Dharni said she hopes Hindi will one day have its own department.

“There are about 16 official languages in India,” Dharni said, “but Hindi is the most widely spoken.”

Hindi evolved from Sanskrit, but developed about the same time as Persian, Dharni said, and it has been spoken for thousands of years.

Josh Davis, an Asian studies major, said he enjoys learning about Indian culture and that the Hindi class is a “feast for the senses.”

Davis also said movies made in Bombay called “Bollywood” spiked his fascination with India.

Beginning Hindi 1010 will be available Fall Semester, with more advanced courses in the works.

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