- Series: Teach Yourself Language Complete Courses
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Teach Yourself; 2nd edition (March 2003)
- Language: Hindi
- ISBN-10: 034086687X
- ISBN-13: 978-0340866870
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Teach Yourself Hindi: Complete Course (Teach Yourself Language Complete Courses) (Hindi Edition) (Hindi) 2nd Edition
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About the Author
Rupert Snellteaches Hindi at the School of Oreiental and African Studies, University of London. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
There are many good things about this book. It gives very interesting background on the origin of Hindi, the distinction between Hindi and Urdu, and social-political issues such as the post-independence move to "Sanskritize" Hindi.
The chapters move at a fast pace with much new material introduced very quickly. By the end of this book the reader will have the ability to read, write and understand pretty complex sentences and ideas. For the first few chapters Hindi words are given both in Devanagari (the standard Hindi script) and the Roman alphabet, but soon Devanagari alone is used. I find this a good way to go. Personally I cannot imagine someone from a Western background learning Hindi thoroughly without learning Devanagari (or another Indian script) because there are so many different sounds in Indian languages that are not properly conveyed by Roman characters.
Another good point about this book is that it sticks its neck out (so to speak) for Urdu or Persian-derived words at a time when this seems to be out of fashion. Persian-derived words are often used in preference to their "Sankritized" counterparts (e.g. "kitaab" is preferred to "pustuk" as a word for "book"). In this the book probably reflects the reality of spoken Hindi. Persian-derived words are always spelled with the "dot" letters that indicate an Urdu-style pronunciation, which is something I haven't seen in other Hindi books. An example of this is "khus" (happiness).
I actually found the story of the Kumar family that's narrated during the successive chapters to be rather amusing. It helped some of the concepts and vocabulary stick in my mind. The many exercises are mostly very useful.
The book would have been improved with a slightly more systematic organization. As other reviewers have noted, vocabulary is introduced haphazardly on an "as needed" basis: for example the Hindi words for "Saturday", "Sunday" and "Monday" are found in the index, but not those for "Tuesday" or "Wednesday".
Also, I feel that too much esoteric vocabulary is introduced in the earlier chapters, possibly slowing down readers when they should instead be mastering the basic grammatical concepts. Thus the somewhat advanced word "adhyaapak" (teacher) is introduced at the same time as the reader is learning such fundamental things as "kyaa" (what?). Because of this, I strongly recommend that people learning Hindi not worry too much about learning all the vocabulary for each chapter. Instead concentrate on learning all the grammar and constructions and go back for the vocabulary later.
Another minor quibble is that some "compound" letters (the curse of anyone trying to learn Hindi script) are used late on in the text without ever being defined. However I would recommend the same authors' "Beginners' Hindi Script" for this.
Despite these weaknesses, however, I have still found this by far the best introduction for a Westerner trying to learn Hindi (I've looked at pretty much all the ones I could find on Amazon). The authors have an excellent command of English as well as Hindi (not something that can always be said of some of this books' rivals). The accompanying CD makes this book even more valuable.
I have found it to be thorough, well organized and moving at a very comfortable place. Everything I need is right there when I need it. In fact I've even been able to read ahead a couple of chapters and I'm surprised at how much I'm comprehending (very motivating)! The audio CD is good quality and moves at a comfortable pace (I did not find it too fast like others reviewers have mentioned).
I did take some time to familiarize myself with Hindi script (like it suggests you do, by the way), and to practice writing it (which to me is a fun exercise in itself!) before diving in, which I'm sure has really paid off.
I highly recommend this to anyone wishing to learn this beautiful language!
The Devanagari text is rendered in a tiny typeface, and no instruction is given on how to write the letters; after finding some web sites that show this, I discovered I was doing it all wrong. The writing system is also just dumped all at the beginning of the book, rather than being introduced gradually throughout the lessons (and a writing system this complex needs to be introduced gradually). Some glyhps that show up later aren't even in the beginning section on the writing system.
The material is poorly organized, in that school of thought that believes putting the vocabulary & grammatical notes AFTER the text that uses them is a good thing. In real life conersation you hear things you don't know, but you can ask the speaker as soon as they've said it; not so with a book, where it's merely annoying to come across words & constructions that you know could have been introduced beforehand. I quickly took to reading each section of the book backwards.
Vocabularies are not organized in any conceptual way that would aid learning (opposite or similar pairs or groups, sequences, and the like). Some people have the initiative to redo word lists in their own notebooks, but I don't see why a pedagogical book can't take a little trouble to be more functional as a reference as well.
The end glossaries are not symmetrical--although you can look up some (not all!) Hindi words for numbers and get their English translations, you can't find any number in the English-to-Hindi section, for example (they're hidden in an appendix elsewhere in the book).
The early recorded dialogues are TERRIBLE; stress and intonation are obviously wrong, the actors seemingly talking 'slow and loud' for the benefit of the beginning student. It doesn't help. I've taken to buying Bollywood DVDs for my dialogue needs and just trying to pick out words & phrases I've learned so I can be sure I'm hearing authentic pronunciation.
If you want to learn Hindi, there aren't a lot of books out there, especially packaged with audio material. You'll be able to work out the language using this book, but it's going to be a lot more work than it should have to be.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Everything is clear and I hope one day I'll read, write and speak fluently.