Tagged with Hindi

Our goals this week: understand the difference between hai (nasalized) and hai (not nasalized), ta (dental unaspirated), ta (retroflex unaspirated), tha and tha, da and da, dha and dha, and so on. It's amazing how almost completely unrecognizable differences to a western-trained ear can be critical phonemic distinctions to someone else's.

Bucks? What is bucks? You mentioned this on the first day we met. I went home, and I was confused. I thought, 'What is bucks?'

— Our teacher Sanjay, regarding our request to find a Hindi book.
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I don't remember the last time I saw red ink!

Oh, the different sounds we make

In the first few weeks of being in Mumbai, we walked around saying Dhanyavad and Shukriya all the time. We'd get responses anywhere from a flurry of giggles to blank stares. Gracious people (or those used to Brits and other westerners) would respond with "Yaur Velcam." We also used, in greeting, the only other Hindi word we knew: Namaste. To which people would generally respond with "Halo" and "Bai" depending.

It wasn't until we started taking Hindi classes that it finally dawned on us that it wasn't our terrible pronunciation, but that our uses were completely inappropriate. In English, our Hindi teacher has not once said "Please," "Thank you" or any other such pleasantries. During our classes, he says "that's completely wrong," and "that's exactly right," respectively. When he wants ... View Post »

(Namaste. Mai Anjali hoon.) We finished our second Hindi class on Friday with our professor, Sanjay, who's family owns a nearby school. While we were aiming for conversational, he's assured us it's important to master the letters. So far we've memorized the main letters (he taught a core 36), vowels, learned how to pronounce them, and then learned ways of joining them together. So while we didn't expect to memorize the syllabary in four days, you never can tell with language, can ya? In our mind, it's been helpful, as reliance on romanized characters would have been confusing when we learning the pronunciation. More on all of this Hindi stuff later.