Most first generation immigrants have tried
to persuade their children to learn their native language.
As first-generation Non Resident Indians, we tried to get our
children to learn Hindi, and found ourselves handicapped by
lack of proper resources. The American way to learn languages,
which our children are exposed to, is through a set of fun-filled
hands-on experiences where they learn their way while playing.
In comparison, our children find the existing methods to teach
Hindi dry and boring. When our attempts to find books and resources
that will make learning Hindi equal amount of fun failed, we
decided to write such books ourselves.
We were helped in this effort by our son,
who developed a transliteration scheme that he used to learn
the basics of Hindi himself. We took the techniques he used,
combined it with funny stories that our daughter seemed to
enjoy, and have come up with this set of books. These books
try to teach Hindi to students using funny stories, cute and
colorful characters, and a variety of activities. The goal
is to have learning Hindi be a fun-filled experience, and not
a tedious chore. We hope your children will enjoy these books.
Traditional Hindi learning is focused on learning
the script and the rules of grammar, which rapidly becomes
boring and tedious. Instead of that, we recommend a leveled
approach, where the student reads short interesting stories
at different level of language difficulty. Each level becomes
just a little more difficult. Once the language has been mastered
at one level, one can move on to the next level of difficulty.
Towards this goal, we have created books that follow this leveled
approach to teach Hindi script and vocabulary.
The initial level is introductory where the
main goal of the student should be understanding Hindi script
and the proper pronunciation of the vowels and consonants.
The most appropriate books at this level are alphabet books.
These can be augmented with activity books which allows one
to get more familiarity with the script and some basic words.
At this level, the focus of the student should
be to build his/her vocabulary. The best way to build vocabulary
is by reading books with simple stories that are formed by
repetitive sentences, sentences that are largely similar but
introducing new words gradually. Our level one books provide
interesting stories created from repetitive sentences. Each
book provides the sentence in Hindi, its transliteration in
English, and then the meaning of the sentence in English. The
transliterated line is written so that a casual reading of
the sentence in English would result in a pronunciation similar
to that of the original Hindi sentence.
At level two, the student has developed a
basic vocabulary, and needs to enrich it with new words. The
level two books on this site contain simple stories that are
composed of small paragraphs. The same principle of transliteration
is followed, with the Hindi paragraph transliterated as well
as translated into English. The level two books we have created
follow this approach to enhance the vocabulary.
At this level, the student wants to get more
fluent with reading Hindi, relying less on the transliteration
and trying to read longer and more complex stories. The level
three books that we have created allow the student to build
fluency by means of longer interesting stories. The transliteration
and translation are provided as a fall-back mechanism, but
the student should be able to enjoy the story in Hindi alone.
Beyond Level Three
Once the student is comfortable reading the
level three books, he or she can move on to reading short stories
in Hindi without relying on the transliteration or translation.
There are various collections of short stories and magazines in
Hindi that can be used beyond level three.
In addition to the leveled books, we also
have some other books that introduce the culture and customs of
the Hindi speaking population and India at large.
To make learning the basics of a language
fun, activity books provide an interesting way to familiarize
the children with the letters, basic words and the basic principles
of grammar. We have created a series of activity books which
can be used to learn the Hindi alphabet, vocabulary and grammer.
Our Hindi books have turned out to be very
popular. Many requests from the web mentioned that they would
like to have similar books in Indian languages other than Hindi.
With the help of some of our friends who could help us translate
the books, we have created alphabet books and activity books
for learning other languages. Currently, such translated activity
books and alphabet books are available for Bengali, Punjabi,
Tamil and Urdu.