01.09.2013 - 13.11.2013
We Brits have a hugely embarrassing reputation for monolingualism but *NEWSFLASH*, you don’t have to follow the crowd! You can make all the excuses you like for not having good enough lessons at school or whatever, but at the end of the day, it comes down to laziness. Yes, I said it and I’ll say it again – LAZINESS.
If you want the full immersive experience of another culture (and why wouldn’t you? If you’re looking for 5 star hotels, find another blog.), you need to speak the local language. Even just a few phrases, the real basics – you can pick those up on the plane. But where languages are concerned, I want to go the whole hog. Plus I’m going to be in a pretty rural area, so it’s going to be somewhat necessary. So, about 5 months ago, I bought myself the Rosetta Stone Hindi kit and set to.
I swear by Rosetta Stone. Yes, they’re pricey (but hang around for an offer before you buy, they come around quite frequently), but I do 15 – 20 minutes work a day and already I can do past, present, future and conditional tenses. Sure, my vocab’s not great, but I reckon I can deal with everyday situations, provided that the other interlocutor doesn’t get too chatty. What I can’t do, however, is write. That’s going to take a bit more work and a patient tutor.
Hindi is not considered a ‘hard’ language. It may appear to be a load of squiggles, but remember, once upon a time the latin alphabet was a load of squiggles to you, and you’re obviously coping with it pretty well. It’s not like Chinese, Korean, Arabic etc. in that you have to start totally again with the basic concepts of what language is, rather it is an Indo-European language and therefore related to our own. You’d recognise verb forms, direct and indirect objects and so on, and of course words like टेलीविज़न (television), plus it’s more or less phonetic, once you’ve deciphered the squiggles. I wouldn’t recommend it as your first foreign language, but if you’ve mastered something European and you’ve got the knack of language learning, then there’s nothing stopping you from giving it a go.