I'm learning Hindi and I'm a bit confused about the words in the title. I know मैं means I and and that हम means we. However, sometimes I hear/readहम being used where I think it should be मैं . I don't know if this is just a colloquial use of the language or if I'm missing some grammar.
I know I sometimes say things like "pass us the salt" when that is technically incorrect (it should be "pass me the salt"). Is it sort of like that?
I agree , It isn't incorrect. It's a way some people have of referring to themselves - rather archaic now, but endearing nonetheless. It is also quite common in certain regions.
My suggestion would be to use मैं . Just keep in mind that you may hear हम being used sometimes and that it may mean "I"
It isn't incorrect. It is a more respectful way of referring to yourself. It even sounds sweet if it is a child using the "hum" form rather than the "main" form. I am rather fond of the sound of "hum" used in the first person singular.
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You would find the word हम being used as a first person singular typically by royalty etc or in specific dialects such as Bihari Hindi.
Some people use 'हम' even though they mean 'I'. It is not correct gramatically to use 'हम' for 'I'.