Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Hindi Lesson 1: How Not to Talk to Your Host Family

Here's a dialogue between Pratap and Kamala. I'll start trying to type in Devanagari as soon as I get the patches set up on my laptop.

Pratap: Yah kamra bahut bara hai! Kya dusre kamre chote hai?
Kamala: Ji nahi. Sirf ek kamra chota hai, dusre bare hai.
Pratap: Kya yah bari almari khali hai?
Kamala: Ji ha, zarur, dono almariya khali hai.
Pratap: Dur yaha ek mez aur do kursiya hai. Kya pankha nahi hai?
Kamala: Pankha nahi hai, lekin khirki kafi bari hai.
Pratap: Bahut accha. Kamra saf aur bahut havadar hai.

Translated:

Pratap: That room is very big! Are the other rooms small?
Kamala: No. Only one room is small, the others are big.
Pratap: That cupboard is empty?
Kamala: Yes, of course, both cupboards are empty.
Pratap: And here is one table and two chairs. There is no fan?
Kamala: There is no fan, but the window is quite big.
Pratap: Very good. The room is clean and very airy.

I understand that Pratap is a paying guest and he might want to make sure he's getting a good deal, but seriously. He's so astonished that an Indian family has big rooms and were able to give him two empty cupboards for his stuff? And he's already complaining about the fan? If I were Kamala, I would have said "Yeh deravaja bara hai. Namaste." (How does one say "get lost" in Hindi?)

Later in the chapter, we get this gem:

Pratap: Kya yah murti hai? (Is this a statue?)
Kamala: Yah murti nahi hai. Patthar hai. (It's not a statue. It's a stone.)

You just want Kamala to be muttering "idiot" under her breath.

12 comments:

sashi said...

:) This is the funniest thing I have encountered all day today. Who comes up with this stuff? I

f you read Devanagari already, I would suggest reading news in it - fastest way to learn Hindi, or any language. And yes, the songs of Gulzar are another great entry into the beauties of that tongue.

But if you are visiting Hyderabad, Telugu might be a better choice of language to learn.

Abi said...

How does one say "get lost" in Hindi?

'Gate Last' ...

Blue said...

Sashi -- Two guys named Rupert Snell and Simon Weightman. Should I be worried that I'm learning Hindi from a pair of Brits? ^__^

I did wonder whether I should dip into Hindi or Telugu (or both) and I asked a few other Hyderabadis and they all said that Hindi would get me much further and that most Telugu speakers would understand Hindi as well. What do you think? True or not?

Abi -- of course. ^__^

Niranjana said...

My particular pitfall is the gendered nouns. Could never remember if I lost the male handbag on the female bus or the other way around.

Btw, have you read The Sari Shop by Rupa Bajwa? The protagonist tries to learn English from a flagrantly Brit text...

Abi said...

If you are going to be visiting just Hyderabad (and perhaps a few nearby places), Hindi would do.

If you plan to be visiting other, deeply rural places in Andhra Pradesh, Telugu will be needed.

Indianoguy said...

I would suggest you learn Indian english and work on Indian accent :)

For example, add 'yaar' after a senstence, if you want to be friendly. 'no' after a asking a question . Some quick tips are here

Blue said...

Niranjana -- no, haven't read Sari Shop, though I love the idea of someone being able to divine the perfect sari for me and (egocentrically) want to know what it would look like.

I agree with you about the gendered nouns thing. It just seems so... strange. I can understand why languages evolved prepositionally vs. postpositionally, etc. but wonder how this idea of gendering chairs and trees and doors came into being. Is there a book that tells why certain languages evolved gendered nouns and others didn't? Someone, somewhere must have done some research into that arena.

Abi -- I don't think I'm going into the deeply rural. As far as I know, I'm hitting Hyderabad proper and all the tourist spots.

Indianoguy -- nice link. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Funny post. For writing in देवनागरी I use HindiWriter.

Upasana said...

Get lost in Hindi is "Bus! Chalo!" (Enough. Let's go!)

Not much point in learning Hindi for Hyderabad, though - even in the city, Telugu will be the language. Bagundhi!

John said...

How does one say "get lost" in Hindi?

Depends on how rude you want to be. :)

"jaa!" would be rather rude and abrupt.

"chale jao" might be what you want, though it's still not at all polite (but then neither is "get lost!" :)

- another firangi

thalassa_mikra said...

Blue, the best way to say "Get Lost" in Hindi would be -

"dafa ho"

or

"dafa ho jao"

However, this is a very strong expression, not to be used lightly at all.

By the way, the dialogue has many redundant words in the sentences which make them ungrammatical. Wonder what your teachers say about that :).

iceop said...

heh. neat read.
... You should get by better-than-fine in Hyd with Hindi.
Most people follow English and Hindi.

But if you do have the time and the inclination, give Telugu a shot too.