September 3, 2010 | Hindi

Look-Alike Letters

Quite a few Hindi letters bear a strong resemblance to other Hindi letters.

Early this afternoon, after an hour of Pimsleur-aided stretching, I decided to head out for a run.

I ended up going 7.25 miles, which is a standard distance for me under normal circumstances, though definitely further than I have run since mid-May. I was pretty sore by the end, but I soaked my feet in ice water when I got home, and I think that helped.

Ominous Clouds Today

Ominous Clouds Today

Nearby Newsstands Don't Sell Hindi Papers

Nearby Newsstands Don’t Sell Hindi Papers

I had a revelation today about why I am having trouble memorizing some of the Hindi symbols. I had had a vague suspicion about this issue previously, but it was strengthened into certainty today when I went through the characters, one at a time, and catalogued how many of them look alike, particularly to users of the Roman alphabet.

Below left is a series of letters, each of which contains an element that looks like either a 3 or an E. There are a lot of them: eight in total. Some are consonants, some are vowels, and they are all pronounced differently. 

These Hindi Letters Look Like 3's and E's

These Hindi Letters Look Like 3’s and E’s

And These Look Like 2's

And These Look Like 2’s

And then there are the three letters, above right, that have a 2-like symbol in them.

I’m not saying these can’t be learned. It’s just a little bit like trying to distinguish among similar shades of blue. The eye requires some training. And practice.

Starting a Rosetta Stone Session

Starting a Rosetta Stone Session

Rosetta Stone was fun today. I learned that “plate” in Hindi sounds like “plate” in English. And “cup” sounds like “cup,” “shirt” sounds like “shirt,” “coat” sounds like “coat,” “dress” sounds like “dress,” and “skirt” sounds like “skirt.”

Funny. It feels as though I’m cheating. I have to say, it is not quite as interesting to learn a word that is nearly identical to a word you already know. It is more fun when the foreign translation is freakishly different. Like the word for “people” in Hindi is pronounced something like “log.” That was a thoroughly unexpected word, and therefore much appreciated.

By the way, Rosetta Stone would not accept my pronunciation of the word “dress,” no matter how slowly, quickly, loudly, softly, or angrily I said it. 

Comments (1)

Jagdish Bhatia • Posted on Fri, April 06, 2012 - 3:08 am EST

ya ‘य’ and tha ’थ’ are also very smiler.

Post a Comment