The key to finding good listening practice content is to find material that is neither too easy nor too difficult.
Below I’ve listed some free, online ways of building your Hindi listening skills with authentic content. Most of this content is most appropriate for intermediate to advanced level students, but it never hurts to start priming your ears at the basic level.
Specifically made for Hindi language students, most HUF listening resources come with glossaries and audio/video files that you’re free to download.
Glossaries Alive (Level: Basic) – This was made as a companion to Teach Yourself – Complete Hindi, but it offers useful listening practice to basic students no matter what book you’re using.
Spoken Thesaurus (Level: Intermediate to Advanced) – Offers students discussions, in Hindi, of closely related words.
Hindi Urdu Voicemail (Level: Intermediate to Advanced) – Offers learners at times challenging, authentic voicemails. Students are encouraged to try and understand the “gist” of the message without necessarily understanding every word. Unfortunately, there aren’t currently any corresponding glossaries provided.
Language for Health (Level: Advanced) – A derivative website of Hindi Urdu Flagship, offers upper intermediate to advanced students authentic interviews with native speakers (and accompanying glossaries) on topics related to health.
Hamari Boli (Level: Intermediate to Advanced) – A great resource for upper intermediate to advanced students which provides interviews with native speakers discussing word use in various situations.
Compiled by Columbia University, you’ll find high-quality, unscripted videos of native speakers in various contexts and talking about various themes. There are also vocabulary lists available to download to accompany each video.
Hindi Films and Shows on YouTube
For a vast amount of authentic listening material, there’s no better source than YouTube. As glossaries aren’t provided, content in Hindi you watch on YouTube is usually most appropriate for upper intermediate to advanced students. Some videos, however, do include English subtitles, though the quality of the subtitles can be very hit or miss!
You might be surprised by the number of (relatively older) Hindi films you can watch for free on YouTube. Generally speaking, the most recent Hindi films aren’t on YouTube as their copyright holders keep them off, but you’ll find older classics, such as the following:
Hindi TV Shows
Whether you’re into the melodramatic Hindi soaps, news, game shows or reality shows, there’s no lack of Hindi TV content. Below I’ve listed some of the shows that I personally have found the most accessible for students in terms of Hindi listening practice.
Kaun Banega Crorepati
The Hindi version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, this game show is currently hosted by Hindi actor superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Students benefit from the fact that there’s a mixture of conversational and formal language used, and especially from the fact that the question is displayed on the screen as the contestant mulls it over.
This talkshow is hosted by Aamir Khan and oftentimes confronts interesting and sometimes controversial topics. The language used is generally standard (depending on who the guest is).
Another global franchise with a Hindi version, this show oftentimes uses conversational language, with a fair bit of Hinglish thrown in. And, of course, you learn a lot of vocabulary related to cooking and food, oftentimes with recipes displayed on the screen.
What, you might ask, is a Japanese anime show doing on this list? Doraemon has been dubbed into Hindi and became one of the most popular children’s shows in India. What I like about this show for Hindi students is that the voice actors tend to speak clearly and loudly in relatively simple Hindi.