March 3, 2010 2:27 PM   Subscribe

Best ways to get back up to speed on a language that you've let get extremely rusty? (Hindi in this case, but general advice also welcome.)

I used to be proficient (as a non-native speaker) in Hindi. Now I'm not. However, it's really difficult to find material/methods that are suitable for my now-appropriate level. I can still read devanagari quite fast, so no real problems there, and I still remember basic grammar and words, but my vocabulary and understanding of the more complex nuances of the grammar have severely waned. When I try to read newspapers, I am rather lost, but when I go back to beginner's 'learn Hindi' material, I'm bored because I remember it all. Any tips? Hindi-specific would be super-valuable, but any advice from language-learners in general would be useful too. Just to head this one off at the gap, there is no Hindi-speaking community where I live. Also, I have an academic background in linguistics, so don't be afraid to give me geeky help.
posted by threeants to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I am doing the exact same thing but with Spanish. I have found podcasts to be invaluable. I You could start with the actual podcasts for learning Hindi until you feel comfortable advancing into podcasts on general topics in Hindi for fluent Hindi speakers. As far as the written component, I imagine you could buy books at varying levels of proficiency and work your way up.
posted by icy at 2:33 PM on March 3, 2010

television. I'm sure you can find television shows online available to download or watch online. Some may even have English subtitles (or vice versa).
posted by MesoFilter at 2:38 PM on March 3, 2010

Also movies, and finding conversation groups. I'm brushing up on German :)
posted by lizbunny at 2:40 PM on March 3, 2010

Last time before we went back to Japan my husband made audio CDs of my favorite Japanese language television shows so that I could listen during my otherwise unoccupied drive-times. I'm terrible about being disciplined with studying on my own, but the enforced daily listening really worked wonders. It was a good refresher, engaging, and a good review of the language as it is spoken naturally.

It took me about three days to get back to speaking like myself. I think I would have gotten over the hump faster with a few concentrated hours with a language partner.
posted by Alison at 3:08 PM on March 3, 2010

Movies and TV are the best. I speak Urdu (very close to Hindi), and I find that watching Bollywood movies helps me pick my skills back up before I need to make a trip back.
posted by reenum at 3:09 PM on March 3, 2010

Seconding reenum. Watch Bollywood movies. You will enjoy them, you will learn a lot. I'm Indian. Back in my childhood, when I could not speak much of English (even though I learned it as secondary language in school). Hollywood movies helped me a great deal.
posted by tvjoshi at 3:24 PM on March 3, 2010

I find reading gossip magazines very helpful, both for improving my fledgling German and also in the past when I wanted to improve my Hungarian vocabulary. Things like the foreign language equivalent of People or the Enquirer. The vocabulary seems to be simpler than in more "serious" periodicals, but is still aimed at adults. Since the topics are tightly clustered around the lives and scandals of celebrities, I have some idea about the topic so I can more easily figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words.
posted by that possible maker of pork sausages at 5:23 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Movies and television, absolutely! Watch it without subtitles if you can manage it, then again if everything flies over your head. For me, this worked in two languages- when I was learning English as a child (switched from speaking only Tamil to only English in about a year) and now, to keep in touch with French. Podcasts and music CDs are also good. The only way to learn is to listen, honestly.

I'm currently in a Master's programme for translation, and one thing we're advised to do is read. every. day. I can't stress the importance of regularity enough- if you do whatever you're doing only when the mood strikes, you'll never improve.

With films, you need to be careful that you don't accidentally pick something in a more obscure dialect- for instance, I'm pretty fluent with everyday Hindi but Lagaan (older and more rustic dialect), Jodhaa Akbar (Urdu and very high-level Urdu at that) and Ishqiya (village Hindi with lots of swearwords) were pretty much incomprehensible to me. Karan Johar's films are good for this, albeit not to everyone's taste.

Sukhad mouka!
posted by Tamanna at 1:05 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

start watching hindi movies. (they have a lot in Netflix)
posted by WizKid at 11:14 AM on March 4, 2010

« Older Do we have to know Cramer's rule for the exam?   |   How do I set a new default alarm sound on my... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.