How to and learning tips

So you have decided you want to learn Hindi, or you have started on your own or with a course or teacher but you got stuck to a point where you feel you are no longer improving. I hope this resource will help you out in all this, because I've been a Hindi student just like you and I know the problems you can face.

First of all we're trying to provide a method which is tailored on an average student's needs, and not necessarily based on the method usually taught at school. We're willing to provide a learning source where you don't necessarily need to know the devanagari script (although I warmly recommend learning it because it makes the difference when it comes to pronuciation and it's fun also) as many of you expressed this desire. We're not willing to use transcription either as this could mislead someone on the correct pronunciation.

Later we will only provide scripts using the standard precise transcription with a reading note for those who may want to avoid the Hindi writing but would also like to have a script as a reminder. Most of the times we will provide exercises based on your listening ability, which is something rarely done from the start. This will help you develop faster a listening comprehension and articulation in the Hindi language making you more focused on the language itself.

Another aspect I'd like to point out is that according to my experience, the perfect recipe for effectively learning any langauge is having a knowledgeable personal guide who can show you the way and help you out, but remember they can never do the job for you... that is to say, the perfect combination is a knowledgeable personal guide who knows how to bring out the best in a single student and a student willing to invest a regular effort. Of course this will have to translate sooner or later in a practical use of the language in its natural environment, but it's not always true that you can only learn a language in the country where it's spoken.

This does not apply to Hindi specifically... Yes, in India most of the people speak English and they will use it with you as soon as they identify you as a foreigner. Even if you will try to use your Hindi, if you are not confident enough or haven't developed a speaking/listening ability, people will start using English as a medium again, even if you don't speak English well either... That is how I have seen many people who had learnt Hindi at school losing everything they had learnt even if they lived in India or went often there. I've noticed that most of the Westerners who learn Hindi at some point of their way, get stuck to the few same old words because they are not encouraged by the fact that knowing Hindi is not necessary to survive...
Keep in mind, anyway, that, on the other hand, speaking Hindi will give you a remarkable advantage, first of all you'll be able to communicate with people on the streets such as vendors, rickshawallahs, etc. who don't usually speak English and you will be considered on a different level compared to the average tourist by those Indians who can communicate in English. Moreover, you will be able to communicate with people also in small non touristic places and have access to a huge amount of interesting material such as literature, music (classical or not), movies (subtitles are useful but annoying and you won't find them in an Indian cinema anyway) and so on...

In fact, another effective way to improve your language knowledge is using interesting material, that is to say, if you like movies (not necessarily Bollywood, but why not it!) watch them in Hindi, I used to watch a scene with subtitles and then without them, or if you like cooking search for recipes in Hindi, and so on.

Listen to some spoken Hindi or read some Hindi each day, even if you don't understand it, this is really helpful believe me. You don't need to read a novel a day or watch two movies a day, a few lines and a 10 minutes recording (a movie scene, a podcast, radio news, etc.) will do a lot. Having a good dictionary also helps a lot (again, if you learn devanagari you will also be able to use this great tool), you can find two fairly good online dictionaries:

http://dict.hinkhoj.com/ this dictionary has a Hindi easy keyboard and gives you examples on how to use a word so it's easier to understand its context

http://www.shabdkosh.com/   this dictionary has an audio of the word and the gender specified which is vital to know in Hindi

These are other Hindi dictionaries you can find online:
http://www.lexilogos.com/english/hindi_dictionary.htm here you have different dictionaries you can choose from, including an online version of the Chaturvedi dictionary


You can start and use them once you'll get a good grasp of devanagari. If you want to go ahead and purchase a good one, my suggestion is getting the Oxford Hindi-English dictionary or the Chaturvedi/Tiwari (the one I personally use most), anyway there are some options even for those who don't want to learn devanagari and need transcription.

(c) 2008 http://hindiboloblog.blogspot.com/

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