The French Hindi Connection

Afsha Nazim
2 min readMay 15, 2021

I made my first solo trip 7 years ago and my first stop was France. I learnt a few basic phrases before my trip. My favorite one being “Un billet s’il vous plaît” as I hopped on the RER metro quite a bit to get around Paris. Ever since my trip I have been fascinated by the French language and culture. I also started questioning the status quo about English being the universal language of communication and us english speakers’ expectation that everyone be able to converse in English.

I decided I wanted to learn French but only got around to learning the language 2 years ago. As I started learning the language I discovered that many English words come from French. In fact about 30% of the english words have a French origin. The proximity of the 2 nations definitely contributed to this.

So I tried to remember French words by drawing a connection with similar English words I know. For instance the word for wild in French is sauvage, which is where the english word savage comes from. Another neat trick is with forming french adverbs by adding -ment to the end of the adjective, For example: sûrement (surely), rapidement (rapidly), finalement (finally) etc.

French Numbers

When I started learning the numbers in French, I noticed how closely they resemble numbers in Hindi. It helped me learn the numbers quickly by drawing a connection with the hindi equivalents.

The resemblance was too close to be a chance one. So I googled and found articles about Indo-European languages sharing the same root language known as the Proto Indo European language. Yes, there existed at some point a root language from which Latin and Sanskrit emerged and which further evolved to modern day French and Hindi respectively. No direct record of the proto language exists today.

This resemblance was first discovered by William Jones in 1786 who lived in India at the time. He proposed that Sanskrit, Latin and Greek have common ancestry.

Here are some other examples.

So guys and gals I hope this article convinces you to pick up a new language to learn as most modern day languages are a lot more related than we think.

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Afsha Nazim

Hello World! I am Afsha, a wanderlust, history buff and health nut. The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.