Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hindi in English, and Hindi in Hindi

I wonder how many people will empathise with me here, but I've been looking at Hindi words written in English for so long that they look kinda weird (and too short, or too long, or possibly just too "hindi") in the original Devnagari script! :) How odd is that!

I dont have the same problem with Tamil words, perhaps because I'm not as fluent in it (especially written) as I am in Hindi - although I have to admit, not speaking Hindi at all for years on end is turning my grasp of even that language quite rusty. For instance, when my boss asked for the Hindi word for "cat", I hemmed and hawed and had to go away for a quiet think before I remembered that it was "billie".

You'd think the word would have automatically popped into my head - I mean, he wasnt asking for the Hindi equivalent of "supercallifragilistic" (just a for-eg)! I felt like a right idiot, I can tell you. Had to save face somehow, so I told him "Hindi isnt my mother tongue". Luckily he didnt know that of the two languages, I'm (supposedly) much more fluent in Hindi!

And while on the topic of languages, the first foreign language I learnt properly was German. It's been yonks since I've written or read anything German, and a few more yonks since I last spoke it... but when I was learning Spanish a year ago, it was the German words for everything that jumped into my head first. When I had to practice Spanish conversation with my classmates, I had to pause every single time and really THINK about what I was going to say, so as not to blurt it out in German.

It was nice in a way to realise just how much of my German vocabulary I remembered (although not the grammar, ha), but it was also extremely annoying when my brain wouldnt remember anything in other languages. It's not even as if German and Spanish sound similar.

I'm hoping to go for Italian classes in September. Italian and Spanish are quite close, linguistically and phonetically speaking. I wonder if I'll still be remembering my German, or whether my brain will, just to be contrary, provide me with the Spanish equivalent of Italian words instead. My brain appears to have a mind of its own. I wonder where I've lost mine...

1 comment:

swathi said...

hi guys,
i recently encountered a site i nwhich if you type hindi in english it'll convert to hindi in hindi script.this is really cool....check this www.quillpad.in/hindi