Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Back to the classroom

Today I had my first language class in seven years. I've found a little school half way between my office and my flat, right by a metro station, and will be going there for lessons twice a week.

It's a class of 8 people, though four are members of an American family who are just "travelling around for a bit" and will be in Delhi for a month before moving on (what kind of a family can do this?). Our teacher is Ali, a young, rather serious, rather professorish type who has a habit of wandering off the subject and into strange analogies involving filing cabinets and "physical explosions in your brain".

Occasionally this wandering was a bit annoying, but mostly it was a welcome break from the mental onslaught of the Devanagari script, which I can see is going to cause me problems. When I learned Korean, the script lulled me into a false sense of security by being logical, made up of simple shapes and extremely easy to learn. Devanagari, on the other hand, is terrifyingly complex, with strange wibbly-wobbly shapes that look remarkably similar and make completely different sounds if you accidentally put in a tiny flourish or miss off a dot. There are 25 consonants (at least 6 of which I can't distinguish at all from each other), 11 vowels and 4 "half-vowels". There are also an unknown number of forms that result from combining different letters. We haven't got on to those yet.

Elegant and beautiful, or wibbly-wobbly and confusing? Depends on if you're wrestling with it in evening classes or not...

However, I will persevere - if only so that I can have some form of communication with Vineeta, who deserves better than she's getting at the moment. On the plus side, I'm told that Hindi grammar is very easy, which of course was the problem with Korean - I never really got close to mastering the grammar. So maybe after the initial push it will get easier (unlike Korean which just seemed to keep getting harder). One can but hope.

1 comment:

Anj said...

Keep your spirits up - I learnt it (way back in university for a random class I took one term). And if I did, you can do much more, I know it.

BTW I'm totally loving your blog! It's one of my must-reads. Keep it up!