Language Exchange

The South Asian Idea is launching a new experiment to facilitate the learning of languages. The immediate trigger for this initiative was provided by two posts (From Urdu to Hindi, Farsi and Beyond and Cracking Urdu: A Guide for Those Who Know Hindi) that have struck a chord with readers and become quite popular. I presume the reason is that readers can relate the experience described to their own frustrated attempts at learning new languages in adulthood.

A reader has sent in what struck me as a brilliant suggestion – to set up a language exchange where people could pair up and help each other. For example, a Hindi speaker learning Urdu and an Urdu speaker learning Hindi could be of great assistance to each other in the learning process by forming a reciprocal mentor-student relationship.

The aim of this experiment is to see how this idea translates in practice. If it is successful, we could spin it off as a stand-alone language exchange portal. If it fails, we hope to learn something new about the learning process. There are no real failures in such initiatives.

We will launch the Language Exchange with dedicated pages for Pashto, Persian, Hindi and Urdu and add other languages as we get volunteers committed to taking responsibility for each language. The pages will be populated with content as we move forward; the first entries would be links to learning resources that we have found the most useful in our own efforts. In time we will add links to items of interest about the languages themselves, their histories, relationships, conflicts, etc.

Ask any questions you may have about the language you are learning on the appropriate page and a tutor fluent in that language will answer them. Over time we hope to establish stable personalized teacher-student pairs. General comments and suggestions can be posted here on the Language Exchange page.

Readers can also use the Language Exchange as a site to locate partners who can then collaborate independently off-line posting only questions of general interest here. We will work out a protocol to vet and match candidates suited to help each other best. You can start putting your ads specifying your needs whenever you are ready.

I look forward to observing how this experiment evolves.

Go To HINDI Page
Go to PASHTO Page
Go to PERSIAN Page
Go to URDU Page
Back to Main Page

10 Responses to “Language Exchange”

  1. Anjum Altaf Says:

    If you are interested in languages you will enjoy this conversation. Urdu can be interpreted in a new framework in the light of this exchange. Also, catch McWhorter mention in passing that Pashto is much more complex than Persian. The interesting fact remains that there can be set of people (Urdu, and I would guess Panjabi and Sindhi, speakers with some exposure to conversational Pashto) who find it easier to get to Persian via Pashto than directly. That has been my experience.

    John McWhorter & Joshua Knobe: Science Saturday: Black Martian Linguists

    John’s new book, “What Language Is”… Why imperial languages are simpler… Black English as linguistic progress… The grammar of slang, yo… Joshua wonders how much language affects thought… How John became fascinated by English’s weirdness…

  2. Rug Pundits | foreigners’ language proficiency in pakistan – not just a utility Says:

    […] Altaf on learning Hindi, Farsi and Pashto as an Urdu Speaker (note the language section on their page): As an Urdu speaker, I had always felt it would be simple to learn Hindi and Farsi. […]

  3. SouthAsian Says:

    A rationale for why we need to be familiar with some of our regional languages – written on the occasion of the 2013 Lahore Literary Festival:

  4. Anil Kala Says:

    I came across these video .. Easy to learn Sanskrit

  5. rgn. Says:

    Please prepare a dictionary of urdu to hindi in devnagri script. The people who have not learnt phansi script can use this dictionary. We find it difficult to understand the complete meaning of thessentence when we listen the pakistani discussion on the website.

  6. eve Says:

    Could you add Arabic to the list of languages too?

    • SouthAsian Says:

      Eve: I have no familiarity with Arabic which is why I had not set up a page. Also, since this is a South Asian blog, we had limited ourselves to languages spoken in the region. However, given your request, I have asked someone to put together the set of resources that would be useful for you. Hopefully, I would be able to share it in the near future.

  7. sunila Says:

    I am interested knowing is there similarity in the construction of Hindi मुझे पसन्द है, उसे हिंदी आती है . मुझे आम चाहिए . Does pharshi takes same subject forms?

    • Anjum Altaf Says:

      Sunila: Yes, the sentence structure is similar in Hindi, Persian, and Urdu – Subject, Object, Verb. This is unlike English which has Subject, Verb, Object.

      Take the following sentence as an example:

      English: The horse eats an apple.
      Persian: Asb yek seeb mikhorad.
      Hindi: GhoRa ek seb khaata hai.
      Urdu: GhoRa ek seb khaata hai.

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