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The Rough Guide to Hindi & Urdu

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Let the Rough Guide Hindi and Urdu Phrasebookhelp you to make some new foreign friends. Laid out in a clear A-Z style, this fully-revised, pocket-sized phrasebook will have you speaking the language even before you step off the plane. Whether you want to book a hotel room, practise your haggling skills at the local market, or simply sample the local beer, the 16-pages of additional scenario material will help you in all manner of situations. Recorded by native Hindi and Urdu speakers, the scenarios are available as downloadable audio files either to your computer or iPod and are perfect for practicing your pronunciation. The phrasebook also includes a detailed grammar section and a helpful menu and drinks list reader to help you order the right dish. With this phrasebook in your back pocket, you are sure to have a good trip. khariyat se jaye!… (mere)
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The Rough Guide to Hindi & Urdu: Dictionary Phrasebook, as its subtitle suggests, differs from most phrasebooks in following an alphabetical, dictionary-style organization, rather than a thematic one, except in its short introductory 'Basics' section. In fact, it's probably best appreciated less as a phrasebook and more as a traveler's pocket dictionary - or perhaps, for the adventurous user, an assemble-your-own-phrasebook kit.

The book's grammar section is compact and simple, but surprisingly thorough for its size, giving that 'adventurous user' quite a bit to work with. It doesn't demand too much familiarity with the technical grammar terms, but instead makes strategic use of literal translations to illustrate the typical structure of Hindi-Urdu sentences. It covers levels of politeness, verb tenses, possession, comparison, gender, and more, all briefly but clearly.

Coverage of written Hindi and Urdu, however, is limited to two 'Signs and Notices' sections near the end of the book, which make no attempt to teach either alphabet, offering instead a purely rote comparison of full phrases. Place names in this section are from India only, and most of the cultural notes and practical advice scattered throughout the book are, while abundant and interesting, similarly India-specific.

Outside of the 'Signs and Notices' sections, all Hindi-Urdu is romanized. The transliteration scheme employed is clear and comprehensive, but there are a few small issues worth noting.

  1. Where traditional spelling and pronunciation diverge, the transliteration sometimes follows the former - giving, for example, bahan rather than behen for sister and shahar rather than sheher for city.

  2. The vowel sound represented by ऐ in Hindi is most often pronounced /ɛː/ - a slightly elongated version of the 'eh' sound you hear in the English word bed. This book recommends pronouncing it like the a in mat. This pronunciation does exist, but is used almost exclusively in English loanwords like बैग (bag) and पैक (pack).

  3. Some distinctions require closer attention from the reader than others. T and t are easily distinguished, but K and k are more similar in appearance. Similarly, the boldface used to indicate nasalized vowels is easier to see when the text is green than when it is black. (The book uses both colors.)

Such minor issues notwithstanding, this is a very solid resource for both the traveler who needs a pocket guide to the language and the student looking for a speaking-focused overview and running start. The 'Colloquialisms' section, as the book itself notes, should be not be used without great caution - consultation with a native speaker is advised, as some phrases are more offensive than the translations given might make them seem - but the work as a whole is generally quite reliable, although it does provide far more single words than full phrases. ( )
1 stem UrduByOddballs | Feb 5, 2017 |
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Let the Rough Guide Hindi and Urdu Phrasebookhelp you to make some new foreign friends. Laid out in a clear A-Z style, this fully-revised, pocket-sized phrasebook will have you speaking the language even before you step off the plane. Whether you want to book a hotel room, practise your haggling skills at the local market, or simply sample the local beer, the 16-pages of additional scenario material will help you in all manner of situations. Recorded by native Hindi and Urdu speakers, the scenarios are available as downloadable audio files either to your computer or iPod and are perfect for practicing your pronunciation. The phrasebook also includes a detailed grammar section and a helpful menu and drinks list reader to help you order the right dish. With this phrasebook in your back pocket, you are sure to have a good trip. khariyat se jaye!

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