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A New Window

I have always loved learning languages. For those of you who don’t know me, I took French for 7 years, started learning Mandarin over the summer, and look forward to learning many more languages over the course of my lifetime. Today was our fifth Hindi class with Binit-ji and our second day learning Devanagari (the Hindi script) – क,ख,ग,घ,च, and छ were today’s letters. Yesterday were the vowels: अ,आ,इ,ई,उ,ऊ,ऋ,ए,ऐ,ओ, and औ. I’ve always found language to be an amazing window into culture, and the more Hindi I learn the more I find this to be true. For example, formality is a defining feature of the language and – I feel – in many ways reflects the hierarchy of the caste system. While French has “tu” (informal “you”) and “vous” (formal “you”), I’ve found formality in Hindi to be more fundamental to the language than in French. Comparisons and analysis aside, I’ve really enjoyed learning Hindi because of how different it is from English. Learning a new alphabet is refreshing and discovering all the ways that Hindi distinguishes itself from other languages I’ve studied is fascinating. For example, this is my first time studying a language with aspirated and non-aspirated sounds. I cannot wait to learn more from Binit-ji and find new ways to explore this new language.