Do I Need to Learn a Language to Visit Mumbai, India?


Visiting a country that doesn’t speak your native language can be intimidating. You need to be able to communicate, at least on a basic level, to get around. Not everyone is multi-lingual. And those who are don’t necessarily speak the language needed at their destination.

The first step is to figure out which language is most prominent in the region you are going to stay in.

What Language is Spoken in Mumbai?

For languages are primarily spoken in Mumbai. They include Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, and English.

Gujarati is native to the Indian state of Gujarat. It is more than 700 years old and is spoken by over 55 million people around the world. It’s also one of the fastest-growing Indian languages spoken in Canada and the United States. There are regional differences in phrasing and vocabulary among Gujarati speakers.

Hindi is an official language of India. It is spoken by over 422,000,000 people according to a recent census. Many dialects exist, but the standard version is based on the Delhi dialect. English speakers sometimes have trouble learning Hindi because of variations in enunciation with subtle differences and similar sounding words.

Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language, one of several that stems from Maharashtri Prakrit. There are 42 dialects spoken, which vary in pronunciation and accent placement. Even though that sounds like many variations, it is generally easy for people to understand different dialects.

If you are reading this, then you likely already know English. It is a West Germanic language that originated in medieval England. Its dialects are divided into two main groups: North American English and British English. Many regional accents exist among each group.

Do I Have to Learn a Language to Communicate in Mumbai?

It is always best to learn the language when traveling to a new country. This will allow you to communicate effectively and with fewer barriers. Of course, it’s not easy to learn another language in a short time. What happens if you don’t speak Gujarati, Hindi, or Marathi and want to visit Mumbai?

The good news is that most English-speaking travelers can still get around without learning another language. Many people in the area can speak and understand enough English to make it possible to interact.

Keep in mind that locals who speak English will likely have an accent. This can make communication more challenging, especially if this is your first opportunity to immerse yourself in the Mumbai community.

There is a thriving population of expatriates that haven’t fully learned another language and still manage without knowing how to speak Hindi or one of Mumbai’s other non-English languages.

Pay attention and be open to learning common words in the area you visit. You may be surprised to find that you pick up some words and phrases quicker than you expect. If you have time, it is helpful to take a class before you go. Many platforms offer online courses or microlearning resources that can help you expand your vocabulary quickly.