Sunday, May 24, 2009

How to Pronounce Desi


A Desi girl, and Desi girl girl girl girl...

Today's lesson is a practical guide for Americans to pronounce the word “Desi” with an authentic Desi accent.

First of all, what is Desi? Desi refers to the people and culture of South Asia and its diaspora. So in other words, people whose origins can be traced to India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Maldives.

Desi is spelled D-E-S-I. But the D is what is referred to in linguistics as a dental D, unlike the sound we use in English for desire, devil, or dumbfounded. The D from Desi is used in many Hindi words such as Dostana, the name of the movie whose song clip we just heard; daal, lentil soup; and dus, the number ten.

But the sound does exist in English pronunciation, shrouded in certain words beginning with “th,” such as this, that, thus, and though. That “th” is the best estimation for pronouncing the dental D. So now let's put together the words “they” (T-H-E-Y) and “see” (S-E-E): “They see.” Now reverse the emphasis; in other words, accentuate “they” rather than “see,” and you have “THEY-see.”

Please check back on for more vocabulary and practical pronunciation guides. Until then remember: Who's the hottest girl in the world? A Desi girl, a Desi girl!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What Are You Doing? MySpace, YouTube, Twitter!

I would like to apologize profusely for my lengthy absence from this blog, and would like to really drop it like it's hot now that I am back. So here is my MySpace with music I've written in English/Hindi, my YouTube with makeshift accompanying videos, and my Twitter where I'll provide updates -- BollyHindi-instructive, as well as self-promotional. ;) I also plan to include some Podcasts and/or video blogs to facilitate the understanding of the pronunciation.

Today's lesson will be inspired by the Twitter prompt, "What are you doing?" In the lesson inspired by Main Hoon Na, we had explored pronouns, and forms of "hona," to be. The construction of the query "What are you doing?" looks a bit complicated in the present continuous tense of Hindi, but let's break it down, in order of diminishing respect for the recipient of the query (check the color coding to match the corresponding parts of the sentence!).

Aap kya kar rahe hain? (Masculine)/ Aap kya kar rahi hain? (Feminine)
Tum kya kar rahe ho? (Masculine)/ Tum kya kar rahi ho? (Feminine)
Tu kya kar raha hai? (Masculine)/ Tu kya kar rahi hai? (Feminine)

Karna = to do/make, but in Hindi we are more fancy than merely adding an "-ing" sort of thing to form our present continuous tense. We do the verb root + appropriate form of rahna (= literally to stay) + form of hona.

So, tum kya kar rahe/i ho? Mujhe tweet karo. (Tweet me; literally to me tweet do.)