And that’s the short form of my language lesson progress.
The long form is that for the past week and a half (two weeks?) I’ve been plugging away at LiveMocha, and have made some decent progress. I can now:
- Say hello, thank you, and you’re welcome (Namaste, Dhanyavaad, Aapka swagat hai)
- Refer to people in the positive and the negative (yeh larka hai, larki nahin hai)
- Describe the colors of things (Gari chandini rang ki hai)
I can also carry on very simple conversations, and I correctly pronounced a fairly difficult Sanskrit word, along with reading the Devanagari for said word (वृक्ष; I won’t spell this in English, because it involves special phonetic characters that I don’t have on my computer, but it sort of sounds like “vrksha” and it means “tree”).
So, based on my post yesterday about my new/old Indian clothes, here’s the culmination of my learning to date- Meri sari laal rang ki nahi hai, hari hai. (My sari isn’t red, it’s green.)
I still need some practice with the vocabulary; I’ve forgotten the words for brown, gold, building, and door, but I will learn these eventually. The biggest difficulty I’m facing is that the lessons on LiveMocha aren’t terribly descriptive when it comes to gender – I struggled with how to use adjectives and their gender endings, and did poorly on the writing test. I have a great tutor, though, and he explained things to me a little, so that I kind of understand. I think that I need to spend some more time with the Snell books, off-line. They do a great job of explaining the structure behind the usage, which helps (I’m an academic learning, as opposed to a conversation-based learner; I want to know how things work).
If you can figure out how to find me on the site, add me as a friend (I can’t find anybody, even people whose user names I know and who I’ve friended already). We can practice. The CG has been practicing with me a little, but we’re both so bad still that we’re not making too much progress. However, my accent is good, and the few native speakers I’ve interacted with face-to-face have understood me so far.
Another interesting side-effect of using LiveMocha has been the chat conversations – you use them to converse with somebody who knows the language you’re trying to learn, and you get practice that way. I’ve found them quite useful. However, inevitably my marriage status comes up, since it’s a pretty general topic of conversation. The first time it happened, I was asked what my views were on marriage. After a bit, I managed to explain them pretty well. In the future, I think I’ll let Grover do it for me:
Happy belated 40th birthday, Sesame Street. You’re a big part of who I grew up to be (I blame you for my language obsession, but it’s a good sort of blame).
Kissing, hugging, helping…yep – that’s it!
Awww, what a great Sesame Street clip!
I just completed lesson four – numbers. Now I’m going around naming things in the house – “This is a red door. These are not two black dogs, these are two brown dogs. ”
How are you doing on the transliteration/Hindi script part? I really dislike how you can’t do the review parts in the script…
Lesson 4 is tomorrow’s task!
I am pretty good with the script, but the transliteration bugs me. So far I’ve been corrected twice because I’m using Snell transliterations instead of LiveMocha transliterations (and honestly, this is the biggest frustration I have with Hindi, period – transliteration is such an imprecise method of communication, and I usually ask for words in Devanagari if I’ve never seen them before, because I get a better pronunciation that way). I’ve seen some people actually write their writing exercises in Devanagari, and I’ve seen some people request them, too, so I just may start doing that.
Have you had problems with plurals? I can’t seem to make sense of the way LiveMocha teaches them. I think more time with Snell will do me good.
(I think I may have an easy time with the numbers part – I learned 1-10 a while back, just so I could count in Hindi. I’m such a dork.)
I’ve been using Lipikaar to type my lessons in Devanagari, and I’d recommend it – it’s pretty intuitive. I’m with you on hating the transliterations – there’s just too many sounds that the English alphabet can’t convey.
I don’t think LiveMocha does a good job in teaching grammar, really, but I’m okay with that. I’m using Snell to learn the formal aspects of the language (and getting help from Aditya), and using LiveMocha to keep me practicing new vocab & sentence structure. Plurals, I understand, are fairly regular – it all depends on the type of ending the word has.
I am so jealous of you having a live-in tutor! I am making do, though.
I’ll check our Lipikaar; I’ve figured out how to change the language settings on my Mac, and using the little keyboard key, I can type pretty well. I’m much better at writing in pencil, though (I wonder if people would get mad if I just uploaded scans). I think I’m using the Snell grammar more than I realize. I spent a good three months with it, and have apparently internalized the grammar enough to have no problem. I like that Snell gives you conjugation and sentence structure early on. LiveMocha is too much about the things you’re saying, and not enough about why they’re that way.
However, to my credit, I watched a Bollywood dance scene this morning and understood roughly 15% of it, so I’m feeling pretty accomplished!