Monday, August 28, 2006

learning urdu

Here are some excerpts from what Wikipedia lists as the difficulties faced by English speakers in learning Urdu:

" -- The phonetic mechanism of some sounds peculiar to Urdū. The distinction between aspirated and unaspirated consonants will be difficult for English speakers. In addition, the distinction between dental and alveoloar (or retroflex) consonants will also pose problems.

-- Pronunciation of vowels: In English, unstressed vowels tend to have a "schwa" quality. The pronunciation of such vowels in English is changed to an "uh" sound; this is called reducing a vowel sound.

-- The 'a' ending of many gender-masculine words of native origin, due to romanisation, is highly confused by non-native speakers, because the short 'a' is dropped in Urdū (i.e. honā).

-- The Verbal concordance; Urdū exhibits split ergativity; see Ergative-absolutive language for an example.

-- Relative-correlative constructions. In English interrogative and relative pronouns are the same word. In "Who are you?" the word "who" is an interrogative, or question, pronoun. In "My friend who lives in Sydney can speak Urdū," the word "who" is not an interrogative, or question-pronoun. It is a relative, or linking-pronoun. In Urdū, there are different words for each. "

Ummmm.... What the fuck are they talking about?? Ergativity?? Relative Correlative constructions?? The poor blogspot spellchecker went nuts! If native english speakers could only understand this article they might have a better shot at learning Urdu...

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