Thursday, March 22, 2007

OMGWTF Devanagari!

Now that I've got the cooking post out of the way... I have to tell you this. It is the most amazing thing ever. (No, really. EVER.)

So I've been sitting with my Devanagari flashcards and with internet-style Devanagari flashcards, turning them over, going "ummmm.... ya?" and turning them back only to find out it was actually pa (or, if I was really off my game, sa).

I was afraid I was going to have to write y'all and tell you that the Hindi project was given up; that I couldn't even learn the alphabet.

Then, as I was searching the internet for advice, I found this website.

It was created by Garret Wilson, who seems, as far as I can tell, to be a computer programmer. I need to write him. I need to find him and prostrate myself in front of him.

Because... Garret Wilson taught me Devanagari in one hour.

This is how he did it:

He introduced each letter individually as a phoneme, not a letter; and then --- OMGWTF I can't believe he did this -- went and put the letter in the middle of lines of English text! For example:

(Sorry about the superscript, btw -- I can't get it to come out any other way if I'm combining Devanagari/English in the same word.)

I could feel my synapses building. I don't know what kind of a learner I am, but it's this kind.

And so I raced through his exercises and took the tests at the end and passed them all and now I can read Devanagari.

And I've been checking in every hour or so and I can still read Devanagari.

And I went back to the examples in Teach Yourself Hindi and I could read that Devanagari too.

This is the most amazing thing ever.

(Now... only 20,000-odd vocabulary words to learn. ^__^)


Mary said...

Hi :)

I learnt to read Devanagari a different way... by sitting with my text book in front of me and memorizing! :P the method you found looks great! :) all the best for learning the vocab.. once you get going it's all really easy :)

उन्मुक्त said...

Not bad

iceop said...

:) good going!
Good luck with the 20 thou. vocab.

ctrlalteredmind said...

Hi, I just started reading your blog and can't wait to read more about your experiences that are yet to manifest :)

This tutorial on the devanagari script is truly well written, although I just browsed through the introduction.

Beth said...

Wow I wish I'd known about this before I ripped out half my hair and made a zillion flashcards (but actually I love flashcards, so I would have made them anyway - just as an excuse to use markers). It looks amazing! Great find - and thanks for sharing!

Kirk said...

Hi, came across your blog via Sepia Mutiny. I'm also traveling to Hyderabad later this year, as well as trying to learn Hindi, albeit probably for different reasons. To learn, I take a paragraph or two from BBC Hindi and using my Hindi-English dictionary to translate. --terribly boring, inefficient. I was keeping it online at, but I just cleaned it out today; something about seeing three weeks since the last post is intimidating...

At the risk of sounding like a creepy random internet person: want to work together somehow?

Good luck.

Blue said...

Kirk -- thanks for the note. I think, like you, that as I delve more deeply into the Hindi process (the Devanagari was effin' easy in comparison) everything gets more difficult and I... um... slow down.

I'm not sure what you mean by "working together" online -- what kind of plan were you talking about?

Kirk said...

Hi again. Before I cleared out my blog the other day -- Beauty of Lies -- I was using it to grab news from the web written in Hindi and make a list of translated words from this. Then I'd turn those into physical flashcards. The upside of putting it online is that my friends in India could give me a hand, often suggesting more interesting and conversationally relevant sites.

Perhaps it would be better to just point out that site to you than to offer to work together; it seems that most of your practice is done offline (and most of mine is done... when I'm not lazy). Maybe you can cull some use from it as I go along. I'll post another comment once I make a post or two.

By the way, how did you come up with your list of vocab words to learn? Did you pick a subset of words or did you find a suggested list online?

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