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South Asian Studies

South Asia Studies

Dr. Robert Clark, Director

Department of Modern Languages

Eisenhower 14A

Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS 66506




Immense Language Diversity - Where Do We Start?

Linguistically South Asia is even more diverse than Europe. Language families represented include Indo-European, Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, Austro-Asiatic to name a few. Larger countries officially recognize more than one indigenous language: India - 22, Pakistan - 5 and Sri Lanka - 2. In addition each country has many regional dialects and minor languages that in total number in the hundreds if not thousands. Additionally, most major languages are written in their own unique script. English is also used in all 7 countries.

At Kansas State - We Start with Hindi!

In many ways Hindi is your gateway to South Asian language study. Hindi represents the largest group of speakers in India and is India's official language. It is widely spoken and understood throughout India, much of South Asia and is a base for learning other Indo-European languages.

Significantly, Hindi is mutually intelligible with Urdu, the official language of Pakistan. They share the same grammar and syntax with a few minor differences in pronunciation. They are like poles at the ends of a single continuum, the major differences are script and vocabulary. Hindi is written in Devanagari, top left above; Urdu in Perso-Arabic, second from left above (the other scripts above are Telugu and Bengali). Hindi emphasizes words derived from Sanskrit. Urdu emphasizes those with Persian, Arabic and Turkish roots. In reality everyone speaks and uses something in-between, historically referred to as Hindustani and often referred to as Hindi-Urdu.

Hindi Language Program

The Hindi program at KSU offers a four semester sequence from beginning to advanced classes. The sequence fulfills foreign language requirements for all Bachelor of Arts degrees. The sequence is offered in the KSU Department of Modern Languages and descriptions can be found on line in the KSU catalog and each semester in the line schedule as HINDI - 101, 102, 201, 202.

You need not start with beginning Hindi. If you already have some basic skills, you can test out and start at a more advanced level. By doing so you receive free retroactive credit for a previous course in the sequence.

Heritage students are particularly welcome.


$500 scholarships are available, preference given to regular degree seeking K-State students.  Application is required through the instructor, Dr. Mary Gollapalli (see below under Contacts).  Scholarships will be awarded each semester an awardee enrolls in a section of Hindi, subject initially to being a student in good standing and doing well each semester.

Hindi is recognized by the US government as a critical language for US interests. Federally funded scholarships are available, plus funding support for summer and semester/year long language programs in South Asia.

ROTC provides tuition and additional stipend support for the study of Hindi.


The instructor is Dr. Mary Gollapalli who has 28 years experience as a language instructor. Her approach is learning by using and speaking the language. Her classes also include elements of culture - even bits of Bollywood music and film! Contact her for information about both the language classes and also Hindi scholarships. Her contact information is:

Dr. Mary Gollapalli
Department of Modern Languages
Eisenhower Hall 006