maeve66: (Ganesha)
Not really. But it's been better and more productive than the school year, at any rate.

Random anecdotes of studying and learning Hindi this summer: on the way back to Chicago, at a certain point, once I judged it wouldn't be rude to check out, I put on my headphones and used my iPod to listen to my Pimsleur Hindi "units". I had bittorrented these (free! Unlike my mother who is previewing Pimsleur CDs of Spanish and may pay $200 or more... ugh) ages ago, and had gone through the first two more than once. Being stuck in a car for twelve hours at a time was a great way to finally focus on them. Each lesson (units as they for some reason call them) is from 25 to 30 minutes long, and -- from my scintillatingly brilliant and accurate memories of undergraduate "applied linguistics" courses -- is very, very sound pedagogy for foreign language acquisition. They introduce some key grammatical and cultural content via a short dialogue with at least one native speaker (and, I guess, one learner?). Then they break every sentence, every construction, every word down, phonologically, with space for repeating. They keep cycling back to earlier bits ("Do you recall how to say "excuse me, sir?" Say "Excuse me, sir, where is Jai Singh street?") and pulling stuff you've mastered (one hopes) into newer material. And they keep working in tiny bits of new stuff, almost imperceptibly. i +1, something like that, in language acquisition terms.

I went through five of the ten units I have from that download. As with many of the resources I've located with which to study, I am leery of running out, which is dumb. I need to press on, and just have faith that I will find other good ways to study, absent what I REALLY want, which is a $3,200 intensive course at Cal. Which I will never be able to afford. My sister's response to that was that I should just save up and go study Hindi in India. She's probably right, though travel on that scale fills me with anxiety, these days.

Anyway, I felt really good about those units. I am also working my way (not-quite-as-steadily as I wanted to) through Rupert Snell's Beginners Teach Yourself Hindi.

Something I have seen, which I also used to notice when I was learning French and Spanish, ages and ages ago, is that -- even though I did virtually nothing in terms of conscious studying, this past school year -- connections and so on were busily fermenting below the surface of my brain. So now, when I listen to the Pimsleur (and their approach doesn't want me to do this, but fuck 'em) I can transcribe what I am hearing, in Devanagari. Which I could never have done before this year. The Devanagari syllabary -- or abugida alphabet, which is a more specific term for how Devanagari symbols differ from alphabets -- ("An abugida is a segmental writing system which is based on consonants, and in which vowel notation is obligatory, but secondary.") has apparently actually seeped into my brain, except for those sounds which I don't hear accurately (yet? not sure I ever will)... but even those I can largely recognize... now I really CAN sound out most of what I see on BBC Hindi.

That is a relief; that my subconscious goes on thinking about a language I want to acquire even when I am not putting aside time to deliberately study it. I still have a fair amount of input -- I watch movies and listen to music, not only filmi music but music in Hindi and Urdu more generally quite frequently. I look at BBC Hindi, and I use the various sites I have found (discussed in this entry), even though I am loath, particularly, to "run out" of Taz Afroj's Door Into Hindi videos; I love those! Hilarious. He's such a filmmaker manqué.

Hm. As I import this entry into DW, that link isn't going to work, is it? Or I guess it could just send you to my LJ.

The last anecdote: I think my father doubts that I am really making any headway in learning Hindi. That, or he is exhibiting that strange and often exaggerated pride he shows in me by bragging (often unjustifiedly, as when he claimed I "went to the Sorbonne", when I actually had a scholarship from the Alliance Française, and "went to" their school, on the Boulevard Raspail. Not the Sorbonne.) Anyway, we (my mother, my stepmother, my father, and I) went out to dinner at an old school Indian restaurant on Devon, in Chicago. On Gandhi Marg, as they say. The restaurant is the Viceroy of India, which shows you how old school it is. They have cocktails like the Lady Mountbatten, and the Northwest Frontier. My father's been going there for almost 30 years. Anyway, we go there, and are sitting down, when my father suddenly announces to the headwaiter guy, in stentorian tones: "My daughter is learning Hindu. Go ahead, talk to him in Hindu." Um. I was hella embarrassed, though the owner or whoever was quite nice. I ordered my appetizer in Hindi, and I must have made sense, because they brought me that appetizer right away, before anyone else ordered anything. Kshamakijiye, shriman, ek bhel poori chahthi hoon, dhunyavad. That's not much, no. But hey, it was a perlocutionary act! They brought me my bhel poori.

That's been my summer of language learning so far. And I still have a few weeks. I hope I won't utterly abandon it, this Fall.

Okay, if you want to hear ramblings of this nature, comment to be added to a Hindi/language learning filter. Also Bollywood stuff sometimes, which will be the next entry. (See, if they threaten externally to take LJ away, I'm all hurrying to write five million posts...)



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