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Indian wedding, Hindi lessons

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Two friends from my running group and work/university have officially set the date and location for their wedding, which will take place in May 2014, in the beautiful and hot India. I am so incredibly excited. I missed the last overseas wedding from our running group ("Asha") because of issues regarding work, money, and--oh yeah--my lack of passport. I can't remember exactly where the wedding will be, but I *think* they said Pune. I'll figure all the specifics out when I get my official save-the-date card and invitation.

Anyway, I've started preparing for the trip already. I've submitted a passport application and will submit a visa application as soon as I get my passport. I've started researching online and talking to my friends about rules and tips for travel to India. I've also started listening to the Hindipod101 podcast and trying to do the lessons.

To give some more context behind the Hindi decision, I've been toying with the idea of learning Hindi ever since I joined my running group 3 years ago. At least half of the group was born in India and fundraising for Indian education is a major part of our group. Every year we do races and a few other events where we raise money for a charity called "Asha for Education," which helps to provide education for impoverished and rural communities in India. (Thus, we call our group "Asha,"which is how I'll refer to this group often.) So I often find myself surrounded by a lot of Indian culture, and as time has passed I've wanted to learn more and more. ^-^

For someone like me, who hasn't had much exposure to tonal languages, Hindi is HARD. Extremely hard. I haven't found other languages anywhere near as difficult. As a very young child I spoke both English and Spanish, though I forgot most of my Spanish and had to re-learn it by taking classes in high school. I used to get practice speaking Spanish at work during undergrad as well, but now that I don't have to speak it anymore, I'm losing it again. I've started listening to Spanish podcasts and doing some Spanish lessons online and I think I'm regaining my abilities fairly quickly. I use duolingo.com, and because they offer French lessons, I figured "why not!"A friend of mine and I have been discussing the possibility of a Paris trip, so learning some of the language may be helpful. My French lessons are going pretty well I think, though admittedly not as well as Spanish.

But Hindi is a whole different story. In one of my first attempts at a Hindi lesson, I was listening to a podcast in which the woman was going through the different Hindi consonants. I had a very hard time distinguishing between many of them, and I can't even remember any at the moment. I found this interesting because one thing I've recently noticed is that I can hear differences in my friends' accents when they speak English. This makes sense, of course, because they all come from different regions and therefore grew up speaking different languages--except for Hindi and English of course, which I'm told everyone learns in school because they are national languages. So anyway, because I can recognize differences in my friends' various accents, I thought maybe after all this time I had a little bit of experience in hearing differences between various tones, consonant and vowel sounds, etc. Turns out I was largely wrong in that assumption! lol. I guess it's possible that my having listened to my friends speak Hindi and their other native languages for the past 3 years makes me just a little bit more sensitive to the tonal differences, compared to the average American with no exposure at all to Hindi or any other Indian languages. But it seems my ears still have a lot of training to do.

I'm hopeful though. My friends say if I can find some really good Hindi music that I enjoy listening to, it will help. They also remind me that English is common in India, so it's not like I *need* Hindi to visit. But I feel like it will be a better trip if I can speak some of the language. And plus I'm just interested in languages. I took a Spanish literature class for native/fluent speakers in undergrad, and the only thing that kept me from taking introductory Japanese and Arabic courses was the fact that I really couldn't fit them in my schedule, what with my job and with needing to take classes specific to my major, lol.

So that's what's been foremost on my mind lately. Well, that and my 8 lb. weight loss so far, but that's a diffrent post for a different day ;). No good pictures to share today, but maybe tomorrow or later this week. Later gators. :)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • DR1939
    You will love India. It is a beautiful and exhilarating country. One little tip about differences in English and Hindi. English often accents the final syllable in a word. Hindi (and lots of other languages) do not. It is one of those things that make it hard to hold a conversation in English with an Indian who was not educated in an American or British school system. I have a young (30ish) friend who lives in Hyderabad and is from the area near Pune that I talk to every Sunday. We hope to be able to travel to India when he marries, which may be a long time. We were there for 3 weeks about 7 years ago. You will find it very different from the US with lots of colors, lots of people, lots of noise. You will find that most items are much less expensive than here. Just remember that most Indians do not make very much and that these things are very expensive for them. I purchased some traditional clothing for my grandsons. As they were 2 for the equivalent of 30USD and I only needed 3, I bought 4 and gave one to my friend. As I started to tell him how cheap they were he said "I've never had clothes this expensive." Anyway, I am very excited for you. As you probably can tell, I loved India.
    2661 days ago
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