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06/01/2011

Learning Hindi and other jungle stories...

I finally started to actively learn Hindi 2 months ago (initially, I took 30 hours of class).

My teacher is an old and nice fellow.

However, the training does not go without clash… To start with, I have a thing for grammar. It is like that, I need to understand how the words work together to make a sentence.

My teacher sees things in a different way: "Why is it like this?" “Because it is like this.”

Tired to fight, I got a grammar book and started to learn on my own. And this leads us to yesterday’s lesson when, fighting over a plural, my teacher discovered the “oblique” form of nouns after a postposition…

Let it be.

Grammar is not his thing. No, what he likes is proverbs. This is how I learned last week “jangal mein, mangal” (translation literal: “in the jungle, auspicious” and a more meaningful translation: “even in chaos, there is hope (something positive)”. I told myself that this could be re-used, like if I see a beautiful display in a messy store (almost everywhere). I thus decided to remember the proverb.

I proudly told it to my colleagues, who looked at me, disconcerted.

It has a double-meaning, sexual obviously (my colleague even told me that it would mean something like: “where there is vacuum, it can be filled”)…

 

When my teacher arrived yesterday with a special book of proverbs, I said stop. Firstly I don’t know them in English and then it won’t help me to speak Hindi!! Even if I have to acknowledge that culturally it is super interesting; see the following proverbs:  

  • What does a monkey know of the taste of ginger? à Someone who can't understand can't appreciate.
  • The drums sound better at a distance. à We tend to like the ones we don't have.
  • Living in water and being an enemy of the crocodile is not good.
  • Small cumin seed in a camel's mouth. à Too small an amount for a very large need.

I am struggling a bit with Hindi (and apparently I am not the only one, see my teacher below!!) but I'm holding on!!

india,hindi,learning,proverb,jangal mein mangal

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