Pradeep had a good suggestion. He said — and I’ll paraphrase, to entertain myself — that I’m a nut and a dope for worrying about individual words because they don’t mean anything. In these top 100 words: he’s right. Maybe if I was learning a list of, say, types of fruit or days of the week, slogging through individual words would make sense. In this case, going through the top 100 words, it really doesn’t. For example, in English, I bet the word been is one of the top words, perhaps in the top 100. How would I explain the word been to someone? It’s a form of to be, but it doesn’t stand alone. You use it with other verbs — say, has been — to indicate progressive tense. What I’m getting at: for a beginner, that’s all arcana. Ask a native speaker to explain something that he or she knows by heart, but has a tricky description, and you might not get such a great response. I had to look up that been was used in the progressive case. I just knew that we… well, that we use been, and I could make a sentence with it. There’s Pradeep’s suggestion for improvement: use sentences. It’s a good idea.
Once I get to 100 words, I will change course and think about the context of the words, not just the words themselves. I think at 100 words, I should be able to tackle bbc.co.uk/hindi and find plenty of instances of the words here. That’s the reason I started with the most common words: because there are more of them out there in the wild than the other words.
Words ranked number 71 to 80 in the list of the most commonly used Hindi words (courtesy of Hindi Google Group and Resource Center for Indian Language Technology Solutions):
71. इसी (is-ī) (adjective, singular oblique) this (emphatic)
72. देश deś (m. noun) 1. place, region. 2. country; nation.
73. यदि (ya-di) (conjunction) if; whether
74. सभी (sa-bhī) (adjective, pronoun) every single one; absolutely all
75. नाम (nām) (m. noun) name, title
76. वर्ष (varṣ) (m. noun) a year
77. ऐसा (ai-sā) (adjective – singular) of this sort
78. विकास (vi-kās) (m. noun) opening, expanding
79. अपना (ap-nā) (adjective) one’s, one’s own; his, her, my
80. ऐसे (ai-se) (adjective – plural) of this sort