August 12, 2010 | Hindi

I Am Learning to Count, Yet Again

I prepare for basic arithmetic in Hindi.

I am on only the eleventh Pimsleur lesson for Hindi, and already I am being taught some future tense. This should not be taken to mean that I have even remotely mastered present tense, because I have not.

Developing Some Quantitative Skills, Hindi Style

Developing Some Quantitative Skills, Hindi Style

I am also starting to learn numbers. “Two” in Hindi is pronounced doe. Eight is pronounced ott. Nine is pronounced no. Those are all fine—delightfully easy, in fact. But “one” is pronounced sort of halfway between eek and ache. I feel like a huge dork every time I say it.

Another thing that sounds dorky to me: the translation of “At what time?” That is pronounced kitiNAY buDGAY. Every time I say this phrase, I picture budgies.

I have written before about the sly salaciousness of some of the Pimsleur lessons, with content involving meetings in hotels between work colleagues of the opposite sex, as well as conversations in which an American man keeps trying to convince a conspicuously indifferent and reluctant woman from another country to meet him for a drink.

Well, the same kind of content is appearing in Pimsleur’s Hindi lessons, too, but making it bizarre this time around is the choice of woman to speak the female parts. In lesson 9, I am listening to her tell a dimwittedly boorish guy that no, she doesn’t want to meet him for a drink, not at 1:00 and not at 2:00, not at a hotel and not in a restaurant.

The problem is, based on her voice, I keep picturing a rotund, stooped grandmother, an unlikely object of attraction for a young American who, despite his lack of game, seems to be aspiring to swinging-single status.

The following point is totally unrelated to the above discussion, but I wanted to mention it: the name Gandhi is in Hindi apparently pronounced with an h sound. At least in my Pimsleur lessons it is. In other words, GAND-hee rather than the English version: GAN-dee. I find that interesting.

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