Learning to speak like a Bollywood star
It's one of the world's most widely spoken languages - fifth on the list with 350 million speaking it as a first language, and a further 350 million as a second language. The language is the mother tongue of much of northern and central India - an area known as the 'Hindi belt' - with 40% of the Indian population speaking Hindi as their first language.
With many people of Indian descent living in the UK, and with India and its culture becoming increasingly well known in the UK in general, it's hardly surprising that there are many language schools and other institutions offering Hindi language classes. While many people learning Hindi want to do so to communicate with family, or because they are relocating there for work, there are many people learning the language who simply have a love of India and its culture.
The Bollywood film industry has much to do with increased interest in India among people in the UK. Increasing numbers of Bollywood films are made in the UK, and many more are released here. Danny Boyle's runaway success 'Slumdog Millionaire' brought the UK and Indian film industries together, using Bollywood actors, a considerable percentage of Hindi dialogue and Hindi songs. It also took people into the world of Mumbai - the centre of India's film industry and home to many of its glamorous stars. To really understand a culture, you need to understand its language, and it may be that, by increasing interest in Hindi culture, the Bollywood industry is also inspiring many people to learn the Hindi language.
Just as for many Indians wanting to study English London is the obvious place to do it, foreigners can head to India to improve their Hindi. There are a number of companies offering classes in cities all over India, aimed both at those who have settled in the country and at travellers and language tourists. Of course, anyone with an interest in Bollywood should head to Mumbai, where there's a good chance they might find themselves mixing with the stars in some of the city's upmarket bars. It's also easy to find places to learn Hindi here. If you want to find an English school London is, unsurprisingly, full of them - what might be surprising is that it also has many places to learn Hindi, as do many other UK cities.