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Dreaming in Hindi: Coming Awake in Another Language Paperback – Bargain Price, June 10, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (June 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547336934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547336930
  • ASIN: B004KAB4KQ
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #717,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description
Having miraculously survived a serious illness and now at an impasse in her career as a magazine editor, Rich spontaneously accepted a free-lance writing assignment to go to India, where she found herself thunderstruck by the place and the language. Before she knew it she was on her way to Udaipur, a city in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, in order to learn Hindi.

In this inspirational memoir, Rich documents her experiences in India ranging from the bizarre to the frightening to the unexpectedly exhilarating using Hindi as the lens through which she is given a new perspective not only on India, but on the radical way the country and the language itself were changing her. Fascinated by the process, she went on to interview linguistics experts around the world, reporting back from the frontlines of the science wars on what happens in the brain when we learn a new language. Seamlessly combining Rich's courageous (and often hilarious) personal journey with wideranging reporting, Dreaming in Hindi offers an eye-opening account of what learning a new language can teach us about distant worlds and, ultimately, ourselves.


Personal Photos from Katherine Russell Rich, Author of Dreaming in Hindi
(Click on each image below to see a larger view)

Katherine Russell Rich in the Ancient Fort City of Chittogarh Rajasthani Ektara Player Katherine Russell Rich in Sari and Bindi




--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Rich, the author of The Red Devil: To Hell with Cancer—and Back, recounts in this wonderful memoir her subsequent life's journey: immersing herself in the transformative complexities of learning Hindi. Fired from her New York City magazine job, palpating the possibility of being a full-time writer and tempted by the foolproof out that was traveling to India, Rich ensconced herself in a yearlong language program in Udaipur, in the northwest state of Rajasthan, where with three other students she struggled to get her brain, and tongue, around the disorienting monsoon of words in the total immersion program. A delicate balance of social graces determined success or failure, as the author learned painfully when she felt compelled to relocate from the home of her host family, an extended Jain clan, because of misunderstanding over her nonmarried status. Fluidly interspersed within her witty, tongue-in-cheek account of the nutty fellow students and nosy, however well-meaning, Indian spectators are comments and elucidation on second-language acquisition from experts, and observations while visiting a school for the deaf. Homesick, rattled by the violence, Rich nonetheless arrived at making jokes and actually dreaming in Hindi, and in her deft and spirited prose depicts being literally possessed by words. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

KATHERINE RUSSELL RICH was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She's the author of The Red Devil and Dreaming in Hindi and has written for the New York Times, the Sunday Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Slate, and O, the Oprah Magazine, among other places. She's received a New York Foundation for the Arts Award, and fellowships at the New York Public Library's Center for Scholars and Writer, MacDowell and the Corporation of Yaddo. She teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.

website: www.katherinerussellrich.com

Customer Reviews

Other times, it just felt like she was trying too hard.
lindyjulie
The book is at times scientific, at times lyrical, and always personal in a very touching way.
M. Hyman
I think anyone interested in India or learning Hindi would enjoy reading this book.
Dan or his Wife

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Holly TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book was really three books in one from my perspective:

1) exploration of the mental process of learning language (both first and second) -- very scientific

2) study of the culture of India with some background history

3) the author's personal journey into learning Hindi and what it was like for an American to move to India and live there for one year.

The word that comes to mind when I reflect on the book is "dense". It's jam packed with information and research - much more than I was expecting. It really delves into how the human brain processes language, new experiences and cultures. Many linguists are interviewed after the author's return to the States and their explanations of language aquisition are included. The culture of India (at least her exposure to it) is a wonderful facet of the book and incredibly educational. The reader also goes along on her personal journey as she tries to fit into a different culture - with some successes and some failures plus she chronicals the other Americans she is with and shares their stories as well.

The book also requires work to read (I got out the old yellow highlighter and carried it around with book) since it moves back and forth chronologically as well as moving between themes. It's a very fluid book that isn't "structured" -- actually fits the subject well and reflects the stops and starts experienced by someone out of their comfort zone.

Overall, a truly enjoyable book. It is definitely not for someone who is looking for a fast, light, easy memoir which many are. It takes some study and time to get through. I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in India or language acquisition. The reader must be committed to putting forth effort to enjoy and get something out of it.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By BookLover on August 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Positive & interesting:

1) Facts and theories about learning languages.

2) Descriptions of life in India.

3) Story of author's struggles learning Hindi.

4) Great book title!

5) Interesting info on the deaf and sign language learning in India.

Problems:

1) No index. A book with this much research should include an index. For example, there are lots of theories and tidbits about language learning with no way to easily find them again after you have finished the book.

2) No footnotes. A book with this much research should include footnotes so readers can find sources for further reading.

3) Unhelpful chapter titles. They don't describe the contents of chapters and thus aren't helpful for finding topics.

4) Seeming lack of chronological order because the story in everyday language is interrupted so often by academic discussions.

5) Too many long and boring passages.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Holly TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book was really three books in one from my perspective:

1) exploration of the mental process of learning language (both first and second) -- very scientific

2) study of the culture of India with some background history

3) the author's personal journey into learning Hindi and what it was like for an American to move to India and live there for one year.

The word that comes to mind when I reflect on the book is "dense". It's jam packed with information and research - much more than I was expecting. It really delves into how the human brain processes language, new experiences and cultures. Many linguists are interviewed after the author's return to the States and their explanations of language aquisition are included. The culture of India (at least her exposure to it) is a wonderful facet of the book and incredibly educational. The reader also goes along on her personal journey as she tries to fit into a different culture - with some successes and some failures plus she chronicals the other Americans she is with and shares their stories as well.

The book also requires work to read (I got out the old yellow highlighter and carried it around with book) since it moves back and forth chronologically as well as moving between themes. It's a very fluid book that isn't "structured" -- actually fits the subject well and reflects the stops and starts experienced by someone out of their comfort zone.

Overall, a truly enjoyable book. It is definitely not for someone who is looking for a fast, light, easy memoir which many are. It takes some study and time to get through. I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in India or language acquisition. The reader must be committed to putting forth effort to enjoy and get something out of it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By amazonbuyer on June 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As I read this book, I felt I was in a dream world. The story line floats from theme to theme without any obvious or concrete connection and yet I was drawn in.

It was like the compulsion one feels when upon waking from an intense and seemingly vivid dream: desperately trying to understand what it meant, trying to hang on to each intangible and ephemeral piece. If you can make sense of it before it disappears, you can hold on to the dream. If you don't analyze the dream, it vanishes and two minutes later you can barely remember the dream, much less what it meant.

Even the real-life characters of the book are portrayed in a dream-like quality. They float in and out of the author's narrative. Their flaws are exposed, but softened by the dream-like world in which they exist.

Only when the author moves to the analysis of the experiences does the narrative leave the dream world. These sections are clear, academic, and enlightening. The analyses are scattered incongruously throughout the book and yet add to it's weight and somehow hold it together. Above all they help the linguistically unschooled (me) to grasp and make sense of the dream world.

The whole time I was reading "Dreaming in Hindi", I was trying to understand "where is the author going with this?" and "what is the purpose of this section?". But most of all I was trying to understand why I didn't "get" so much of the story.

As I headed toward the end I started to understand and things started to come together. I remembered that another book had put my head in the same place: E. M. Forster's "Passage to India".

"Dreaming in Hindi" has helped me to better understand Forster's book.
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