September 5, 2010 | Hindi

74th Street, Queens

A field trip to Little India.

Yesterday I went to Little India in Jackson Heights. My primary destination: 74th Street, packed with shops and restaurants that cater to the local South Asian community.  Jackson Heights is a quick subway ride from Manhattan, but this particular…

September 7, 2010 | Hindi

Hindi Writing Lessons

On Hindi writing hurdles.

I have been doing a lot of Rosetta Stone again. Sitting at a computer pecking at a keyboard is not good for my flexibility, and therefore my running either. Alas—I am running out of Pimsleur lessons to do while…

September 8, 2010 | Hindi

Self-Consciousness in Language Learning

It helps to be an extrovert when you are learning a new language.

I keep coming across Hindi words that sound like Arabic words I learned last year. For example, I believe “chair” is pronounced kursee in both Hindi and Arabic, “Egypt” is misra in Hindi and something very similar in Arabic (with…

September 11, 2010 | Hindi

Gender Is Not Convenient

Gender blocks the path of language learners. My path anyway.

Gender in language studies is often a huge pain. In modern English, gender is largely irrelevant, but Old English apparently had three genders for nouns: masculine, feminine, and neuter. I would say I’m glad I missed that era, but…

September 13, 2010 | Hindi

Ghosts of Languages Past

Memories of previous languages studied haunt my current language (in a good way).

For a long time I have found the entrance and exit signs at Food Emporium on Broadway and 68th Street bewildering. I believe that there is an “enter” sign on the front door as you come into the store off…

September 17, 2010 | Hindi

Rosetta Stone Party (Er, Press Event)

In which I hang out in SoHo with TOTALe folks.

Yesterday I went to a Rosetta Stone press event for the new release of their TOTALe language-learning product (version 4). The event was held at the Culinary Loft in SoHo and involved food as well as language. John DeLucie of The…

September 18, 2010 | Hindi

Multilingual Metropolis

In which I am grateful for New York.

As part of Rosetta Stone’s pronunciation units, you are often instructed to repeat sentences into your Rosetta Stone microphone, at which point Rosetta Stone tells you whether you have said them correctly or not. Sometimes I find the…

September 19, 2010 | Hindi

Software Can Be Frustrating

Sometimes voice-recognition software is persnickety.

I think city noise is not good for Rosetta Stone’s voice-recognition software. My Goodie Bag from the Other Day It was a beautiful night tonight, so I had all the windows open, and you could hear the street sounds…

September 23, 2010 | Hindi

A Computer Is a Computer Is a Computer

Certain words sound the same from one language to the next.

This week, after four months of injury-related travails, my running situation has suddenly started to improve, and fast. Tonight I ran amid rain, lightning, thunder, and general high drama in Central Park. It was my best run in ages. For…

September 24, 2010 | Hindi

I Don’t Know How to Be Polite

When you study languages on your own, strange omissions occur.

Today I was skimming through large swathes of Mohini Rao’s Teach Yourself Hindi, which I refer to as “the orange book” for obvious reasons. My Orange Hindi Book One thing I suddenly realized, as I was reading through some…