Hindi is one of the most spoken languages in the world, with over 250 million native speakers as of 2001. It is considered one of the official languages of India, along with English. It should be recognized that while Hindi is one of the official languages of India, it is not the national language of the country. Although Hindi originated from Hindustani within India, many speakers who consider themselves native have various dialects of the language, and reside in the Hindi Belt area of India. Several states in India have designated Hindi as their official language, including Bihar, Haryana, and Jharkhand. Hindi is also one of the official languages of Fiji.
Hindi is an Indo-European language, and can be further categorized as part of the Sanskrit, the philosophical language that's used in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Formal Hindi takes much of its academic vocabulary from Sanskrit. Devanagari is the alphabet used to write Hindi, which is written left to right and is recognized easily by the horizontal line that crosses the top of many of the words and letters. This alphabet uses 11 vowels and 33 consonants.