Resources for learning transliterated Urdu or Hindi?
October 6, 2018 7:51 AM   Subscribe

I am interested in learning Urdu/Hindi in order to better communicate and socialize with my in-laws, including by text message. However, most of the resources and courses I find are either in Arabic or Devanagari script, which doesn't suit our situation.

My in-laws' written communication is all transliterated using the Latin alphabet - they speak Urdu, but I'm not sure they use Arabic script at all for anything aside from religious reading. It seems like it would be a lot easier to learn the language if I could skip learning to read an alphabet that I will never use.

Is there an app, course or resource online that teaches Hindi or Urdu using a Latin alphabet? Bonus points if it is tailored for conversational vocabulary - I mainly need to be able to talk about families, the house, daily life, movies, sentiments and relationships etc. with my MIL.

(I have Get Started in Hindi, which is transliterated throughout and has been very useful. I'd like to find an app or online resource, or a more structured textbook, that at least provides transliterations throughout. Not looking for any kind of transliteration tool, though, I want it laid out for me.)
posted by thelastpolarbear to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
McGregor's Outline of Hindi Grammar is organized into lessons and offers transliterations for all examples but not for the exercises. You may be skipping on an easy part though. I'm less sure about Urdu (i.e. Arabic script), but when I took Sanskrit and Hindi, the instructors didn't bother teaching Devanagari--they just expected us to pick up the basics independently with about a day of practice. There are complications eventually, but they don't rate compared to the amount of time learning a language takes. My experience is that knowing the script doesn't make it harder to read the transliterations.
posted by Wobbuffet at 9:17 AM on October 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Watch Bollywood with the subtitles on. Most conversations are about relationships and have conversational cues for your to pick up
posted by saucysault at 9:34 AM on October 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Take a normal class and as you learn it won't be hard for you to transliterate into Latin letters.
posted by k8t at 9:38 AM on October 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Honestly it's difficult to follow transliterated Hindi without having the base knowledge of Devanagiri. And Wobbuffet says above, Devanagiri is actually very easy to learn - very logical and with few exceptions (much easier than English). Why not give it a concerted try - it may surprise you by taking only a couple days.
posted by peacheater at 9:59 AM on October 6, 2018

Devanagiri (and Farsi/Arabic script for that matter) is phonetic and not particularly difficult to learn if you make a concerted effort for a month or so. You simply wont find any proper, even slightly in-depth, language instruction in transliteration. It's just not going to happen. You'll find simple phrasebooks and things like that, but not actual grammar and vocabulary and sentence structure, not to mention being able to use a dictionary.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 2:31 PM on October 6, 2018

Best answer: Colloquial Urdu from Routledge, from what I remember and can see in this Amazon preview, is primarily transliterated, so you can probably skip learning Perso-Arabic script if you use that book. I hear the Teach Yourself book covers more vocabulary and is overall better, but like most TY books, it stops providing translisterations in the latter half of the book.
posted by wakannai at 3:52 AM on October 8, 2018

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