Language help

#1 Aug 13th, 2002, 04:42
soma1972 Future Member
Hey folks, forgot to include this in my previous post.

What's the easiest phrasebook / language tapes to learn a few words of hindu from as i find it helps break the ice when meeting people as they invariably try to correct the pronounciation and it usually invokes a fit of the giggles from both parties involved as we resort to sign language and gesticulating wildly, and it helps to chase touts and unwanted attention.


Last edited by Dilliwala; Oct 3rd, 2008 at 03:08.. Reason: merged multiple threads
#2 Aug 13th, 2002, 05:52
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I own a bunch of cassettes/books/cdroms etc....and most are pretty drab.

Probably the easiest one to use (that I own) is the Language 30 Hindi Learning Tape it is a two cassette edition with a small book that concentrates on popular phrases.

The reason I suggest this one, though it also is drab, is that unlike other guides it does not rely on you learning the Devangari Script.

The link in the above paragraph shows it as still available, but I checked Amazon and they don't list it anymore.

I bet if you checked locally you probably could find a copy.


(****I should note that the older copy of this has a different cover than the one in the link)
#3 Aug 13th, 2002, 05:58
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Our local library had a copy of this set so maybe try a library near you.
India...Wild At Heart
#4 Aug 13th, 2002, 21:52
emily Future Member
I've been recommended a book by Richard Snell although I haven't had the chance to get it yet - meant to be quite good. Lonely Planet do a good pocketsized Hindi and Urdu phrasebook.
emily x
#5 Aug 14th, 2002, 03:22
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The Rubert Snell book is Teach Yourself Hindi.

Amazon has it as now as a new version called "Teach Yourself Hindi Complete Course", though I am unclear if the new version has any audio cassettes.

The version I have is the older version with two cassettes that they list as out of print.

It is a hefty volume of learning and I found it useful up until about chapter three or four when it starts assuming that you are learning the Devangari script along with the book.

If you really want to learn to write and read Hindi this is for you. Personally I found it a challenge, but then again I am getting older and it's hard to get anything to sink into this thick skull of mine.


ps...I have been meaning to do a basic Hindi learning guide for this site and this thread has me thinking I should get started on it.
#6 Aug 30th, 2002, 06:22
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I also saw this link for a paid internet course on Hindi

The fee is $8.75 USD to access the complete lessons.
#7 Feb 5th, 2004, 14:36
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Question What does "babu" mean?

Here's one for you experienced Indiaphiles...

What does the term "babu" mean? All of the men in the in the Bollywood flicks seems to be refered to as <insert name> - babu! From the context I get the impression it could be some sort of slang honorific like "pal" or "buddy"... Spent the last 20 minutes Googling this one to no avail. Please enlightem me.

Last edited by Dilliwala; Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:58.. Reason: merged thread
#8 Feb 5th, 2004, 15:27
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I think it is an informal but honorific title for someone that is older than you.
#9 Feb 5th, 2004, 16:18
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Its respective word only,yah old Bollywood flim can hear ,the servant can offten call the master <NAME>babu.

North India hindi speaking people call offten there ,father with respect "Babu ji" ,If you add any name <Name>Ji means calling eleders or anyone with respect.

As far as i know,usually Bengali household they call <name>babu..

Waiting for other explanation )

#10 Feb 5th, 2004, 17:09
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On the same topic, does ŌNIĶ added to a womanÕs name is the same as Ji for man?
#11 Feb 5th, 2004, 17:52
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I think that Babu means "father" or "grand father" in an familiar way (like "papa" in French, for example), but it is also used contemptuously to designate (corrupt) bureaucrats on a position of power (to whom you come, like to a "father" to get some favors - the "fat babu")

On the other hand, I noticed that many Indian's name seems to be Babu. Does it have the same root, I have no clue?

I think that the "ji" is a diminutive used in an affectionate way (or pseudoaffectionate as a formal form of communication). Like Gandhiji (little Gandhi).
** Humor is Freedom **
#12 Feb 5th, 2004, 17:57
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This is also ref to the clerical staff in the government offices. <sarkari Babu>
#13 Feb 5th, 2004, 19:52
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I think the closest word in Englisg for "babu" is "sir". It is usually not slang but is a honorific title for some one who is older or senior to you. In North India, "bau" is a common noun and in traditional and conservative organisations an employee would call his boss "babu". Domestic help would also refer to their employers as babu. Sometimes, children refer to their father or grand father as "babu".

In West Bengal "babu" could also refer to any clerk / junior government bureaucrat.

In South India, "babu" is a proper noun used as a name.

It is somewhat similar to "ji" but more personal.
#14 Feb 5th, 2004, 20:40
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babu= common name in south india & south indian movies.
babu= 'Mr' in some parts of north india (UP)
babuji= a form of addressing an elder, yr. boss, senior citizen(in terms of pecking order in the local social fabric) & indian movies.
babuji= papa,dad, father in parts of northindia & indian movies.
Babu=clerical staff in indian government offices.
Babu= a sort of derogatory term used to describe the whole bunch of bureaucrats who run the show characterized with red tape and file pushing. This here encompasses the whole range from the lowly clerk to the secretary level(example the home secretary, foreign secy, finace secy..etc..).
Babu= that bureaucrat in the series 'Yes Minister'.
Babu= Is not used while referring to an efficient Bureaucrat. Though basically.....Like when u say " goddamn politicians...for bureaucrats u say 'bloody babus'.
Babudom= is the kingdom in which all the babus in india live and ruin...err run the indian life, railways, postal services, government.....
#15 Feb 5th, 2004, 22:40
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One of the most nightmarish episodes of my travels in India took place in Nagore (Nagur), the Muslim holy city on the coast in Tamil Nadu. Since Muslims so emphasize charity, and the mosque complex feeds many of the poor that come from far away, the place was full of beggars. After leaving the mosques, in the one block it took us to find our driver, who was waiting for us, we were followed by hordes of crippled beggars screaming "babu, babu" and pulling at our clothes.

Even after we climbed in the taxi, their distorted hands kept coming in the partially rolled up windows and clawing at the glass. It was like something out of a horror movie, but we also felt dirty, unfairly privileged, even resentful that our driver was mistreating this mob of unfortunate, repulsive people. It was certainly the most immediate and intense contact with human misery on that scale that I have ever had.

In hindsight I am grateful for the experience, but I never thought of looking up the meaning of the word, maybe because I felt scarred by the event. Thank you for the explanations.

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