Saturday, December 28, 2013

HindiPod101 Review

For those of you who have been asking for some various language learning online resources one of the first ones that comes to mind is langauagePod101.

HindiPod101 was not my favorite but the LanguagePods overall are pretty good. There are a lot of options and ways to utilize this resource. I believe this post will help you learn from my mistakes more than anything .

I would rate my experience with HindiPod101 at a 2 out of 5 starts but I think that is because I didn't use it in the most efficient way.

I subscribed to the free Premium month long subscription of HindiPod101 early on. There is a great vocab list and there are some excellent listening practice sections but I was unable to get the most from them early on.

However, I would suggest waiting a while longer until you have a decent grasp on the language especially if you are just going to use it for the free trial month. To make the most out of your free month I would wait until you know the alternate alphabet (if there is one) and can use at least the intermediate to advanced lessons with success. This will also make the beginning ones more valuable as listening practice and review.

The beginner lessons are really good but I think they would have been more valuable as review and ways to ingrain words into my memory. You can learn the beginner sections on your own and from other resources such as Mango, Pimsleur, and I am assuming Rosetta Stone.

HindiPod Premium does have some great features such as 2000 core word lists, Pod Casts, great phone app, listening lessons (which are amazing and include a script in English and the language), cultural lessons, emails (though they come for free too), and more great and unique features. 

My criticism of the word list is that many seem very obscure even though they are said to be the top 2000 used words. Also many of the words are simply the English word pronounced a bit differently and in Hindi script. Though I am sure these are useful and more colloquial than their actual Hindi translation (and these words have tripped me up while trying to read I couldn't figure out kap was cup one time), I am not convinced the 2000 word list is the biggest strength of HindiPod. The premium subscription is also quite expensive at $24 per month.

The LanguagePods have great potential but I would say my experience was not so great. I would love to hear from someone who did use their perspective LangaugePod101 a few months into their language learning experience. I am at 6 months studying the language and am considering purchasing a month-long subscription in the near future. I will tell you how it goes if I do. I am also starting to use the app and will let you now how it is.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Hindi Bible for Christmas

Well I have officially received my Hindi Bible for Christmas!!!

I had my husband pick a verse to hear in Hindi.

He picked the common 2 Corinthians 5:17 (If you are unfamiliar with the Bible and want to read the Hindi in the photo, look for the number 17. It is the text following that which I'm talking bout.)

"Therefore if anyone is is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

I am proud to say that I was able to read through the verse, unsure about several words. 

"ma - si - ha," I was stuck on this new word for a good amount of time. 

As I read, my husband pointed out that I should take some time and listen to what I was saying with a couple of the words as I sounded out.

"ma - si - ha" I repeated....oh, Messiah! That's cool.

It was neat that he was able to understand some of the words even though I was oblivious to the sounds I was making.

Conquering the New Testament is a beast I am ready and (well not so much ready as I am) excited to take on this new task of learning Hindi while reading.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Chatting with South Indians

Though my South Indian friends claim to not know Hindi, they really do. I know not all Indians know hindi. I also know many can speak, read, and understand a good amount. Mere accha dost, Ananth** is one example of someone who knows Hindi but does not claim to know it because he doesn’t use it.

Which languages people use when and why is a complex and interesting conversation, but that's for another day.

Check out Ananth’s and my text conversation from a while back as well.

Me: aap aur aapke parivaar ko Diwali ki bahut bahut hardik mangalmay shubhkamanaye (Happy Diwali)
A: Aww Dhanyavaad FF ☺ ☺ ☺ bhagvan ki krupa se aap ke parivar mein bhi such aur shanty

This is where it gets interesting.

Me: tum kya kar rahe haon?
A: just eating
Me: main bhi, actually, main abhi channa masala aur chaval kha rahi hoon…dhanyavaad mera dost for introducing me
A: Cool ☺ its funny u r having Indian lunch and I ate scrambled eggs n toast
Me: aur tum English bol rahe ho aur main hindi bol rahi hoon ☺
A: Lol yes
Me: hehe Aapka din kaise ho?
A: It’s alright…

I am aware that many Indians don't often text in Hindi so it is a bit awkward for them but so many have been great sports about helping me out...Thanks Ananth**

**You know who you are...but no one else does because I changed your name to the name you chose. Miss you yaar.

India inspired Valentines Day cards

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Text Kar Rahi Hindi Mei Da Bomb hai

Here are a couple more examples of the translation confusion I mentioned in my previous post. This time they all appeared in texts. First of' real tho, anyone wanting to learn a new language?!? Texting is the 'da bomb digity' because you can take your time and think and it reinforces a lot of little details and I'm sure there are a lot of other good reasons...

Flowers in the Hotel lobby, Khajaraho, India
...and I will begin by mentioning some of those benefits. If you are a nerd, like me 1) you can take notes and have flash cards from your text conversations which is great because 2) you can remember the conversation since it was real (you can remember 'ohhh yeah so-and-so said thus-and-such when this-and-or-that happened,' rather than 'I wrote it for a class one day and who cares') and 3) you can impress your friends when you finally do get it right. 4) It's also nice when you are chatting in the middle of the night since India is a 12 hour** time difference. 5) Also since it's a text you will probably have the chance to say something similar in another conversation later on and your other friends will be impressed and you don't even have to tell them that someone else taught or helped you.

The down side is that speaking well...main Hindi nahin bolti hoon. I don't speak Hindi.

Anyways, back to the first conversation and point of this blog post example, why is texting bahut pagal hai?

"Thik hai. Aap jab khayenge tab jayenge...chai ke time try karenge...thode din me better ho jayega."

Translation: "alright is. you when say then go...lets try again during chai...little days is will become."

Still lost? That's Hindi for ya! 

As you can see the translation is a bit like "Yoda talk" as the friend texting it to me said.

But it gets worse or maybe a bit more humorous...Indians texting in English is sometimes just as confusing.

Here is a quick translation cheat sheet for Indian English texting...

vl  = will, I will, I'll
dy = they (which is similar to 'dem' in Patois/Patwa)
d   = the
v   = we
v   = w
t, d etc = add an a at the end
Other vowels may also be left out
q = kyu = why
gnsd = good night sweet dreams

and one in Hinid
m tik h = main thik hoon = I am fine

Ok, so I am kinda poking fun. But in all reality, these shorthands have made a lot of sense and actually helped me understand a bit about the culture and language...and have led to some funny conversations 'ower vine' in my art studio as well.

As far as understanding the meaning of what seems to me words strung together in a nonsensical order goes, people keep telling me "it will come" and I'm sure it will...mugar kab?!?! But when?!?!

***the time difference may be 12 and a half hours and I can never remember if it is behind or ahead...though I am pretty sure the details don't make much difference for the point of this blog post. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

To Me Hindi Gibberish Is

Poster from a Train Station in India
Mujhe hindi gibberish hai.
To me Hindi gibberish is.

This sentence is pretty simple to translate when written; however, when people talk, translating fast enough to make sense out of Hindi is too much difficult different at different times (**Wink*Wink** at Indian English). I do of course love the challenge and I get excited when I pick up entire phrases or even portions of a conversation. Maybe this excitement is a little more than normal but I hide it well with a facade of shyness.

The other night I went out with mere dosten after playing cricket (ohh yes, I will write a post on cricket). It was great...and as you know I am used to not knowing what is going on all the time and simply listening and trying to figure things out. This outing drove me absolutely bonkers and was a lot of fun. It was fun because I could tell when they were talking (and more importantly what they were saying) about the girls that a couple of the guys liked. ahh mere hindusthani dosten bahut cute hai (aww My Indian friends are too cute).

The confusing part of the conversation came when the guys switched back and fourth between topics. "veh bahut moushkil hai." You mean to say "he/she/it/that/the big difficult is" is what? "she is hard?" No, you have a problem? no ...ugh...wait...the PhD is hard...who? Where did that come from?

Main Hindi aur hindusthani log nahin samajti hoon (Literally "I Hindi and Indian people no understand am existing"). See what I mean. Gibberish is!

As you can see Hindi learning pagal hai...Learning Hindi is crazy...aur bahut thoda thoda fun!

If this isn't confusing enough just wait till I tell you about texting in my next post. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

India Art

For those of you who don't know much about why I am learning Hindi or what inspired it do take a look at my art blog and posts from my trip to India. My current art is inspired by Indian culture.

Felicia Follum. Saree. Prints available. Contact Felicia Follum.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Never-Ending Hindi Resource List

In a previous post responding to those of you asking how I am learning Hindi. I said that I use as many resources as I can and promised to share a list.

I learned about keeping "never ending resumes" in college. It's the idea that you build a resume that grows as you do. This list is the same way. I will continue to add resources as I find, discover and use them.

Enjoy the resource list below. I will post some details about these in future posts. If you have specific questions, please ask. 

Learn Hindi on FB (Anil Mahatho)  
Pimsleur helps a lot with sentence order but only for a small portion of sentences 
Chatting and texting

Anil Mahato on YouTube
Hindi U on YouTube

Crazi Lassi on You Tube

Spending time with Hindi speaking friends
Creating YouTube videos in Hindi "Black Girl Speaking Hindi"
Mango - log on through a public or University library database list

Hindi U on YouTube 
Bollywood Movies and Songs
Guli Guli Sim Sim - Sesamie Street
Shaka Laka Boom Boom - Kids show

Writing in the script for my typed notes from
      I will post a pdf file of my notes when it is finished

Kids Stories
Alphabet phone App - My favorite is TenguGo Hindi
looking at Hindi meems on Google+ and then using the translator to check and learn the words I don't know
Hindi Bible has some great reading lessons

Pimsleur Lessons
HindiPod101 helps with all areas
Doulingo (when it comes out)

Painting using Hindi (Helps things stick) 
Sign Language (mathcing signs or actions to words will help with recall)
A friend just sent this site to me. I will tellyou more in the future 

I will be sure to make a list of the Best Places to Start and to my Favorite Resources. I will continue to update this list as I find more resources I find helpful and I will continue to edit and revise...this post is a work in progress :)

What are some of your favorite language learning resources?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How I Am learning Hindi and The Brain

My Indian Culture Class and a Volunteer/Friend...More about my students

People all over the web and in real life have been asking how I am learning Hindi and honestly the answer is that I am using as many resources and techniques as I possibly can. There are many arguments for the best method and honestly I think that many of these arguments are valid; however, none are complete. I believe that more than one tool is necessary for learning a language.

Your brain doesn't function on one level but many. Learning a language is not learning one skill but many at the same time. The more connections we make the more we will retain.

Teaching language arts to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities has helped me to see the varied ways that the brain learns. Though my students brains work differently than many of us, it's almost easier to understand and more plain to see these layers.

Oversimplified, the more teaching styles you can combine into one class the more brain activity will take place creating more connections which means more will be retained and recalled later because of these connections.

This is especially true with language. It is is fascinating to see the differences between how reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills are developed. These four areas are developed at different speeds and through different types of practice. They are also different for different people.

Another critical aspect to language learning is being able to think, both on the subconscious level and the more structured grammatical level. Both of these are essential to understanding a new word order and sentence structure and therefore language.

Pimsleur argues that language learning in schools is messed up because we focus so much on grammar and though I 100% agree that the way kids naturally learn is ideal and Pimsleur was onto something huge with this idea, I also realize that the world a baby grows up in is different than the world an adult lives in. That being said I am using as many children's resources for learning Hindi as I can and surrounding myself with the beautiful language while using other more traditional adult language learning resources at the same time.

I suppose this is enough for one post. I will list the resources here soon and plan to share specifics about individual ones later...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Some of my Anti-Trafficking artwork featuring Indias Natiaonl flower
Haha someone just asked if I use Google Translate to text in Hindi…The answer is no…But I’m curious to know if they asked because my genders, tenses, sentence structure and spellings are all wonky or because were surprised they could understand…lol chalta hai yaar, main khabi nahin samajti hoon (Oh well friend, I will/may never know)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I Can Read Hindi!!!

This past semester I have really been challenging myself to learn some new things…a new language being one of them. For those of you who have never taught yourself a language or a new alphabet, it can be really frustrating because it just feels like you suck all the time…

I just went back and looked at one of the beginner lessons on a blog I have been using and it totally just made me feel good about myself.

I only had to look at the transliteration (English alphabet) for one letter and the rest was a piece of cake. So I can’t quite read a kids book yet, or understand much at all, or think quick enough to speak, but I have made some good progress…and knowing that I have made this progress helps to keep me going.

Be sure to check out my Art+ blog to see how Hindi (and Indian culture) is inspiring my artwork.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Live in the Present

Language learning would be a lot simpler if we always lived in the present…none of this oongi oogi tha gaya thi the business. I could also do without postpositions and postpositional phrases...just sayn'. Chalta hai (I guess that’s how it goes, literally "it walks")

Thursday, October 24, 2013

If I trick people into thinking I am Indian...

Can you tell? Either way, I absolutely love this photo. 

...maybe they will speak Hindi with me…

At the the Diwali Night celebration at least one guy thought that I was Indian. Not gonna lie, I pulled it off well (see above).

I know he thought I was Indian because he just started speaking Hindi to me. I was not ready with a Hindi response but was able to respond in English (which is a frustrating but common theme these days), but then I was excited he spoke Hindi to me and I got shy and just walked away…

hmmm maybe I if I work on my social skills a bit, people will talk to me in Hindi ;)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Small Group Goal

In a previous blog post I stated that, “Speaking for me is the hard part. It’s scary and intimidating. I don’t want to be laughed at in front of a large group”

If my goal is to speak and I’m scared to speak in front of a large group of people, maybe a solution is to try speaking in small groups or with just one other person and the save listening for large groups…or consume large amounts of wine...or maybe create a YouTube video with my YouTube friend Anil Mahato.

This month my goal is to use Hindi :) Even if it is just a few phrases here and there. Next month I hope to have a SMART goal...You know? Specific. Measurable. Attainable...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fun Fact Friday + Pretty Urdu Word

I just spent a few minutes looking at Urdu…Did you know Urdu is a mix between Pakistani, Arabic and Hindi? I absolutely love this script...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Gibberish Tattoos

We all know that people will sometimes get kanji tattoos or tattoos in another language and be completely oblivious that they have something silly written on them forever? Well, if I was going to get a Hindi tattoo just based on design and beauty, so far I think it would be this one.

Does anyone know what it means? I do. I'm just trying to get reader interaction :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hindi by Christmas

Pavitra Baibal
Alrighty so I'm putting it out there...If you know me well then you know that I have decided to learn Hindi. My goal is to be able to read by the end of December which is three months from now. I really want a Hindi/English Bi-lingual Bible for if anyone wants to get me one, let me know or let my husband know.

I decided to start learning on July 1. It's now October 1. I suppose I have until Jan 1 which is 3 months.

I don't expect to be perfect or anywhere near there. I really just want to be able to read a bit.