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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hindi Practice

My Hindi learning has slowed way down. It's hard to maintain enthusiasm across the long haul of getting fluent. I'm at a point where I can understand the gist of a lot that I hear, but that's about it and it's not good enough!

Sometime I would like to do is start writing a few posts or parts of posts in Hindi for practice. I tried doing this through lang-8, a website designed for you to write in your target language and get corrections, but I feel frustrated there that I can't explain myself in English. I don't trust the corrections I'm getting because there is no "why" included.

So I'm going to occasionally post little stories and things in Hindi and if you know the language, feel free to correct my usage in the comments, and it would be really helpful to say something like "the reason for this correction is that 'ki' is only used for..." etc. But I trust you guys to be making changes based on real need, rather than on cosmetics.

When I do Hindi posts, I'll plan to also do English posts with them.

So, here we go...

अब जो गर्मियों में यहाँ है, मैं बाहर व्यस्त हूँ. पिछले शनिवार मैं दोस्त के साथ चिड़ियाघर के पास गए. मैं धूप की कालिमा है.

कल रात मैं अच्छा आदमी के साथ रात का खाना खाया. मैं भी कल उसे देखती हूँ.


  1. That is kind of where I am with Urdu, I can understand some but not nearly enough, but can't speak too well.

    Maybe you could consider a transliteration underneath? I would like to see how your getting along learning, but there is no way I'd be able to read Hindi script! Hindi/Urdu being similar in sound I might be able to understand a bit, and maybe it might help me too :-)

  2. Include the english translation along with the hindi posts. This will give me an idea of what you really want to convey.
    अब जो गर्मियों में यहाँ है
    >This is a flawed statement. I think what you really want to say is "now that spring is here". That english statement has a metaphorical element. Consider the american slang "whats up?". The "literal" hindi translation of that statement will be "उपर क्या हे?". Getting me? You must not transtate metaphors of english into hindi in its literal form. An equivalent metphor of the eng statement "whats up?" in hindi language is "केसे चल रहा हे?". If you translate that statement in english in its "literal" form then it will be "how are things walking?".Understand the confusion here?

    BTW, indian summer is not exactly an american spring. In fact, there is no such thing as spring in india. There's a lull between the monsoon and the winter when the birds and bees come out but no one considers that as spring. Indian summers are very hot and you can faint in that heat so its not something we enjoy. Most indians favourite season is monsoon.

    मैं बाहर व्यस्त हूँ
    literal hindi translation(LHT): "im busy outside(for work related matters)"

    पिछले शनिवार मैं दोस्त के साथ चिड़ियाघर के पास गए
    LHT: "in last saturday, i went with a friend near a zoo".

    A familiar hindi metaphor would go like: "पिछले शनिवार को मे अपने दोस्त के साथ चिड़ियाघर देखने गयी". The LHT is "last saturday, i went along with a friend to watch the zoo". The metaphorical translation is "last saturday, i went along with a friend to visit the zoo". Here, "देखने/visit" are acting metphors for each other.

    कल रात मैं अच्छा आदमी के साथ रात का खाना खाया.
    >Firstly, this statement is free from any metaphors. The correct hindi statement would be "कल रात को(ko) मे(may; meaning "I") ‍ऐक(ache; meaning "one") अच्छे(nice) आदमी(man) के साथ रात का खाना खायी".

    "खाया" is meant to be used by males. "खायी" is used by females. Hindi sentences change slightly for males and females. You can tell wether it is a male or female by reading that statement.

    eg: Consider the eng statement "i went to play".
    for males: "मे खेलने गया"
    for females: "मे खेलने गयी"
    मैं भी कल उसे देखती हूँ
    >LHT: "I will also look at him tommorow". "seeing him" is a metaphor. Instead you will be "meeting him". So lets consider the statement, "i will meet him tommorow", which would translate as "मे कल उनसे मिलने जा रही हु".
    As you can see, you are not ready for metaphors yet. Use simple english sentences and translate them in hindi. You can make metaphor2metaphor translations once you are samiliar with some hindi sentences/slangs. That will take time. Hence indians believe that the best way to learn a language is by listening to it and watching the non-verbal body movements. You have to familiarize yourself with the sounds. You have to make a connection between the verbal and non-verbal signs to decode the message.

    You have to realize that most indians do not speak pure hindi just as the west doesn't speak vintage english.

  3. hi,
    looks like you have literally translated 'now that the heat is here, i am busy out.....'

    good effort.
    1st sentence - can't pin point, but doesn't seem right. are you trying to say that since you are here in the sun/heat/summer, you are busy?

    2nd sentence - if you went to a zoo, 'chidiyaghar gayi'. if you went NEAR a zoo, 'chidiyaghar KE PAAS gayi'. btw, it is gayi, not gaye. gaye - they went. gayii (badi 'ee' ki maatra) - i (female) went. gayaa - i (male) went.

    3rd sentence - if you want to say 'i got tanned', you might as well say 'main dhoop ke karan saavli hui'. kalima is blackness. 'dhoop ki kaalima' == 'blackness of sunshine'

    4th sentence - last night i ate with a good man == kal raat MAINE ACCHE aadmi/insaan ke saath khaana khaaya.
    you eat dinner at night. here, night is redundant. similarly - raat ko raat ka khaana -2nd raat is redundant.

    main - i
    maine - by me.

    accha - good - specially thing - accha hai.
    acche - good human. acchi - good female. accha can also mean good male.

    here, acche comes for the same reason as maine comes instead of main.

    we dont SEE people, we MEET them. main use kal milti hoon.

    hope i have not confused you much....

  4. Awesome! Thanks for the help.

    I was trying to say in the first sentence that because summer is here, I am busy outside. I guess it's not technically summer, but it's 95 degrees out, so...yeah.

    One thing that is really difficult is that I can't always tell when something is an idiom or metaphorical expression because I am only used to using English and sometimes it's clear when a statement is idomatic, like "What's up?" while "Summer is here" doesn't feel that way to me. :/

    I didn't exactly mean outside for work related matters, but I have been outside for work lately!

    The part of the language that I'm not sure I'll ever get is how to choose which type of expression to use. How to know which word to pick based on not just the literal choice?

    I know that I need to make sentences feminine, but I can't always figure out what the feminine way is!

    The sunburnt part I took out of Google translate. Bad idea!

    Good tip on "see" v.s. "meet." That's another example of how I'm not realizing when I'm using something in a figurative way. It seems literal because I'm just so used to saying it that way.

    I'm so frustrated by the distance between what I want to express and what I'm capable of (i.e., the dog is in the house).

    Very discouraging.

  5. डियर अम्बा,
    हिन्दी इतनी मुश्किल भी नही है |
    आप हफ्ते मे एक बार ब्लॉग पर हिन्दी पोस्ट ( दो चार लाइनों की ही सही ) जरूर डालिए |गलतियाँ होने दीजिये |हम (आपके ब्लॉग के fans) यहाँ है ना उसे सुधारने के लिये |

  6. Indians have the same problem(literal transaltions) while learning english. They convert hindi sentences in english in their literal form and you end up with statments like "they are like that only", "coming only", "look only". The word "only" appears at the end of most north and south indian languages.

    "im busy outside" is a commonly used excuse which indians give to other indians when the later calls them up for some help. That statement is intentionally shortened. It just means that he is busy outside on work related matters but he won't say what that "work" is.

    On idioms/metaphors/slangs/expressions: You are not ready yet. Use simple statements in the begining. Use this understanding of simple words to understand the conversations in old hindi movies. The new movies are crap and their conversations will only confuse you further. Watch a movie called "andaz apna apna" with subtitles. It is a famous comedy movie and has a lot of hindi metaphors and slangs.

    On gender specific grammer: Some examples will help you understand.

    im leaving (sounds rude but its polite in hindi)
    male: mai chalta hun
    female: mai chalti hun

    i speak
    m: mai bolta hun
    f: mai bolti hun

    i eat
    m: mai khata hun
    f: mai khati hun

    i play
    m: mai khelta hun
    f: mai khelti hun

    i climbed a tree and plucked mangoo
    m: mai jhaad par chadaa aur aam ko thoda
    f: mai jhaad par chadee aur aam ko thodi

    notice the gender specific maatra's: bend these two in shape when you find them
    ता/tha : डा/daa - for males
    ती/ti : डी/dee - for females

    Google translate can be used to translate some sentences. It can help you decode a message. But it is hardly average. It makes grammatical errors all the time.

    English expressions will give literal meanings in other languages so you cannot use those expressions. Hindi language has its own expressions which you do not know and hence you cannot use them. This is a confusing bridge on which you plan to meet.

  7. A song which uses both hindi and english words

    Frustiyaao nahin moora, (Don't get frustrated, O my stupid(my sweet silly),)
    Narbhasaao nahin moora, (Don't get nervous, O my stupid,)
    Anytime mood-wa ko, Upsettaao nahin moora… (Don't get your mood be upset at any time..)

    Jo bhi wrong-wa hai usey, (Whatever that is wrong,)
    Set right-wa karo ji, (Set it right..)
    Naahin loojiye ji hope, (Don't loose hope,)
    Thoda fight-wa karo ji.. (Fight a little..)
    Moora.. (O my stupid..)

    Upsettaao nahin moora, (Don't get upset, O my stupid,)
    Ghabaraao nahin moora... (Don't get scared, O my stupid,)
    Anytime mood-wa ko, Upsettaao nahin moora… (Don't get your mood be upset at any time..)

    Startey startey startey.. (Start! Start! Start!)
    Startey brain-wa re moora, (Start your brain, O my stupid)
    Charh train-wa re moora, (Get on the train, O my stupid,)
    Naahin pagla re bann, (O now don't act an idiot..)
    Act scene-wa re moora.. (Act scenes, O my stupid,)

    Kaahe muthhi mein pakad, (Why are you trying to hold)
    Raha paniya re moora… (water in your hand, O my stupid,)
    Rahe paani ki na yaad (This water will leave no memory)
    Naa nisaniya re moora (nor any sign, O my stupid,)

    Anytime anytime, (Anytime, anytime)
    Diye chance-wa jo life, (When life gives a chance,)
    Anytime anytime, (Anytime, anytime)
    Refuse-aao nahin moora... (Don't refuse it, O my stupid,)