TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu)

This forum is for the Total Annihilation Challenge. See the sticky thread for more information.

Moderators: ''', Forum Administrators

eskandar
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2998
Joined: 2006-12-15, 8:27
Real Name: Eskandar
Gender: male

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Italian)

Postby eskandar » 2019-08-18, 14:18

Luís wrote:Maybe I've been lucky so far, but I can't really relate to that.

Sure, the French can be a little impatient if you're a beginner (or if you try to speak English to them), but once your level improves they suddenly become much friendlier. I speak decent French (although I'm sure I have an accent and still make plenty of mistakes) and I've gotten random compliments from people in Paris.

Have you worked in Paris or just visited? For me, the difference between being a tourist there and working there was so big, my experiences might as well have been from two different countries. (So, for all I know, maybe the situation is similar in Italy, and I was just benefiting from being a tourist there...)

Saim wrote:It’s probably different groups of people who have different language skills, as many people might not be particularly comfortable speaking English even if they can understand enough to take orders

Sure, that may be the case for some (although in my experience, people who work with tourists, such as waitstaff, speak better English than most anyone else), but I encountered plenty of people who spoke very good English--far better than my French--but were reluctant or downright refused to speak it.

As for Indians, I think the reaction is a bit different depending on whether you have South Asian physical features or not.

Yeah, I understand that (which is why I premised my remarks with "as a non-Indian"). I experience the same thing with Persian, no matter how good my Persian is; because of my appearance, people giggle if I say anything that sounds even remotely non-native.

In that case I don’t think I would expect encouragement from strangers for speaking their language in their country, because speaking the language is the “expected” thing to do. ...

I also think it’s the case that in France there’s less of an expectation that people should be friendly to customers (ar least compared to many other countries), and the US is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Honestly I’ll admit that I prefer the French attitude.

To be clear, I prefer the French attitude as well in many regards. Certainly in terms of interactions with customers; I've lived most of my life in the US and the fawning obsequiousness expected of waitstaff in restaurants still makes me uncomfortable. A waiter's job is to serve food, not to be your friend. In general, I also think the French attitude that 'this is France, we speak French here, if you are visiting our country you should make an effort to speak our language rather than the reverse' is a very healthy one, certainly moreso than the Indian attitude that devalues local languages so much that anyone 'deigning' to speak a South Asian language rather than English is to be lauded for their 'sacrifice'. But it's these sets of attitudes that put up enormous mental blocks for me to learn French whereas I dove into learning Urdu with great ease. Also,
Luís wrote:As far as I understood, eskandar wasn't complaining about not receiving compliments, but rather that people looked down on him or treated him badly because his French was not perfect, which is a completely different thing.

Yes, exactly. And this was the other incredibly discouraging thing about trying to learn French while living in France and not just visiting as a tourist. I had many immigrant friends and neighbors who spoke far better French than I did, but who still had the same experience of not speaking well enough - not being native speakers - that they encountered problems. So this also contributed to my mental block against French. Knowing that no matter how much I learned I would still never really fit in or be accepted made me wonder why I was bothering in the first place.

Bref, I respect the French to some degree for the way they safeguard their language against the onslaught of global English, but at the same time, their attitudes made me not want to learn French.
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

User avatar
Luís
Forum Administrator
Posts: 7820
Joined: 2002-07-12, 22:44
Location: Lisboa
Country: PT Portugal (Portugal)

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Italian)

Postby Luís » 2019-08-18, 16:39

eskandar wrote:Have you worked in Paris or just visited? For me, the difference between being a tourist there and working there was so big, my experiences might as well have been from two different countries.


Both, although I never stayed there for more than a couple of months at a time (I work for a French company here and sometimes, depending on the project, they need to send me there for a while). But yeah, it's not exactly the same as actually living there, because I never really had to do stuff like open a bank account, rent an apartment.etc.
Quot linguas calles, tot homines vales

eskandar
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2998
Joined: 2006-12-15, 8:27
Real Name: Eskandar
Gender: male

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Italian)

Postby eskandar » 2019-08-18, 17:18

Your French is probably much better than mine, so it may also just be as you said earlier - if my level were higher, my experiences might have been more positive. (Bit of a catch-22 there, I suppose.)
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24776
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Yuanlin, Changhua County
Country: TW Taiwan (臺灣)
Contact:

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Italian)

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-08-18, 18:53

eskandar wrote:On the contrary, with the French (at least in Paris--I think people are nicer elsewhere) it doesn't matter how well you speak French. If you're not a native speaker and make mistakes, no matter how intelligible you are, people look down on you and give you a hard time.

My brother and I both had the same French teacher in high school, albeit at different times since he's five years older than me. She was from Paris (or at least near there). Literally every single person I can think of other than my mom (who met her once very briefly), my brother, and me hated her. Even people who had barely met her hated her! On the one hand, I think this was unfair to her because she knew and had traveled a lot more than your average high-school teacher but happened to have had a very hard life. I think she meant well, too. On the other hand, I kind of understand because she would get frazzled so easily all the time. For example, she had this cardboard replica of a guillotine that she used to teach lower-level students about the French Revolution, and one time, she got so exasperated with one of my classmates that she pointed at it and said, "Sous la guillotine !" She was (usually!) a lot nicer to my brother and me, though. I think maybe that's because both of us spoke French well at the time and strove for perfection in her class(es) no matter what she said.
Saim wrote:As for Indians, I think the reaction is a bit different depending on whether you have South Asian physical features or not. To date the only languages where natives have criticised my language skills to my face are Urdu (tumhari urdu kafi weird hai) and Punjabi (taadi panjaabi kafi ghat hai na?), whereas Poles and Hungarians constantly lose their mind about my level and did so even when I knew almost nothing (although at times at upper-intermediate level there was the irritating phenomenon of complementing me on my Polish in English. So I imagine Vijay may have had similar experiences to mine.

Tbh, not really - I've only ever had negative responses from family members, but only in the sense that they'd make fun of me when I made mistakes, which was often pretty useful because eventually, I'd learn not to make the same mistake again. :silly: Otherwise, the only Malayalees who bother to comment are pretty impressed by my Malayalam because they don't read any literature in Malayalam and I do, even though their own children don't even speak Malayalam. Speakers of other Indian languages are usually thrilled when I try to speak their language, pretty much like native speakers of any other language.

What I said about Indians was based not on how they react to any specific people speaking their language but rather on what they say about the concept of foreigners learning their language in general, which is basically "my language? Who would ever want to learn that? Why would you want to teach that? No one's going to pay for that! No one would want to learn my language! What a waste of time to teach that instead of going into engineering or something!"
I’m in Nice at the moment

Nice! :lol:
I don’t think I would expect encouragement from strangers for speaking their language in their country

I have gotten this before, and it doesn't surprise me in and of itself. What does surprise me, though, is how they're encouraging. I remember when I went to Croatia, even though it was only for a weekend, I made it a point to talk exclusively in Croatian to every single person I met who spoke it even though I didn't even know much Croatian yet. I knew otherwise, I could easily fall into the trap of just speaking English with everybody. A lot of people I met were monolingual in Croatian anyway. When I started talking in Croatian to one lady in particular, she was like "oh, that's so great! I remember having to learn German in school and taking exams for it and it was SO hard" and then she went on this long rant. The whole time, she was talking entirely in Croatian (just like I did to her, except of course, she talked a lot more...) while I just smiled, nodded, and laughed while in fact, I had no clue what she was talking about. I didn't want to interrupt her, though.
I also think it’s the case that in France there’s less of an expectation that people should be friendly to customers (ar least compared to many other countries), and the US is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Honestly I’ll admit that I prefer the French attitude.

I think maybe I do, too? Although I've never actually been to France, so I can't really tell. :P
voron wrote:Last time I remember, I was complemented for my English.

Yeah, one Malayalee guy did this with me right here in my house, too. In my case, it was very random and kind of awkward lol.
Luís wrote:Btw, for me the best compliment you can get is being mistaken for a native speaker (even if just for a while :P)

That must be frustrating if you don't understand what's being said to you, though!

eskandar
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2998
Joined: 2006-12-15, 8:27
Real Name: Eskandar
Gender: male

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu)

Postby eskandar » 2020-03-22, 18:27

Gonna start keeping track of my activities here again. These days I'm working on Arabic, Hebrew, and Urdu pretty actively, and I sneak in a bit of Turkish once in a while too.

Arabic: I picked up an Arabic book I was reading a few years ago and then gave up on, مسافر الكنبة في ايران (an Egyptian guy's travelogue about Couchsurfing in Iran). I'm really pleased to see my progress in Arabic since I last tried to read this book. At the time I was looking up tons of words in the dictionary. Now I'm able to read a bit before bed and underline unfamiliar words; there are usually only a few per page, and sometimes I can make it through a page without a single unknown word! The more tedious thing is to look up the words the next day and make flashcards, which I haven't been as diligent about.

Hebrew: I'm bored of pedagogical materials (and a lot of the ones I've tried aren't so good anyway) so I'm primarily mining vocabulary and sentences from media. I think I'll start working my way through Streetwise Hebrew, since I've listened to a couple of episodes in the past and found it really helpful (and up-to-date, unlike the badly dated Hebrew to be found in Assimil, Duolingo, Pimsleur, and Colloquial Hebrew). I don't know if I'll make it to my goal of mastering 3000 words by the summer (I'm at around 2500 at the moment).

Word of the day (so far): bidud "isolation", as in bidud khevrati "social distancing."

Urdu: Picked up Gopi Chand Narang's Readings in Literary Urdu Prose again which is really great. Currently reading an excerpt from Premchand's novel Godaan. Unfortunately I'm locked out of my office where most of my Urdu books are, but I will try to read some news articles, and I'm also working my way through an old Urdu travelogue.

For listening practice we've started watching Jackson Heights in the Urdu Study Group. I also plan to do some lessons on Italki.
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

eskandar
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2998
Joined: 2006-12-15, 8:27
Real Name: Eskandar
Gender: male

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu)

Postby eskandar » 2020-03-29, 3:08

Arabic
42/492 in my travelogue

Hebrew
Rewatching Shtisel (20/24)

Urdu
Watched Sholay (can't believe I'd never managed to watch it before). Fantastic, of course.
Jackson Heights (2/27)
Reading: Readings in Literary Urdu Prose 131/351
Also reading an Urdu travelogue, currently on page 57/192.
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24776
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Yuanlin, Changhua County
Country: TW Taiwan (臺灣)
Contact:

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu)

Postby vijayjohn » 2020-04-02, 5:27

Have you ever seen Veer-Zaara or Swades? I find the latter extremely underrated (maybe because it doesn't really have a love plot, but that's exactly one of the reasons why I love it so much. I'm kind of sick of these corny love stories, or at least I was back when that movie came out). I honestly just don't get why Sholay is so darn popular. Is it just the onscreen romance between the actors who eventually got married/had an affair or what is it? I remember when I actually saw it, I hated it and couldn't wait for it to finally just end.

Someday I'd love to see Achhut Kanya, too. It's a movie from before independence, but I'm pretty sure it's available online with subtitles. It sounds really interesting to me, especially for that time period because it's about caste discrimination and human rights activism in India in general was a very new phenomenon at the time. I've only seen a little bit of it, but I find it promising.

eskandar
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2998
Joined: 2006-12-15, 8:27
Real Name: Eskandar
Gender: male

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu)

Postby eskandar » 2020-04-17, 18:38

Arabic
53/492 in travelogue. It's not really holding my interest, so I've put it down and will look for something new to read.

Hebrew
Finished watching Shtisel the second time through. When I have more time to put into Hebrew, I'm going to start working through the Streetwise Hebrew podcast. I should also pick up Colloquial Hebrew again, I think it was the least bad of the various resources I tried.

Urdu
Jackson Heights 3/27. Don't think I'll finish, looking for something new to watch.
Reading: Readings in Literary Urdu Prose 141/351. Need to read through the excerpt from Premchand's Godan a second time, the Hindi vocabulary is kicking my ass. I really wonder how many of these words are actually used in "Urdu" per se, and not just in Hindi material transliterated into Urdu.
Urdu travelogue 115/192.
Might start working through C.M. Naim's teaching materials or another textbook. I'm comfortable enough in Urdu to read on my own but I think pedagogical materials are more helpful in encountering and understanding new structures, idioms, etc.

vijayjohn wrote:Have you ever seen Veer-Zaara or Swades?

No, but I should watch them. I've listened to some of the songs from Veer-Zaara which are great.

I honestly just don't get why Sholay is so darn popular. Is it just the onscreen romance between the actors who eventually got married/had an affair or what is it?

I think the friendship between the two main male leads was a bigger part of the film's appeal. The songs became classics, and the movie is just fun (in my opinion; obviously you didn't think so!) I especially enjoyed the depiction of inter-communal harmony in village life and the range of Hindustani you could hear in the film, from the unlettered, "undotted" rural Hindi of the main villain, to the chaste Urdu spoken by the imam.

Someday I'd love to see Achhut Kanya, too. It's a movie from before independence, but I'm pretty sure it's available online with subtitles. It sounds really interesting to me, especially for that time period because it's about caste discrimination and human rights activism in India in general was a very new phenomenon at the time. I've only seen a little bit of it, but I find it promising.

Sounds interesting, though it also sounds like the kind of thing that would be hard for me to understand, language-wise.
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

eskandar
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2998
Joined: 2006-12-15, 8:27
Real Name: Eskandar
Gender: male

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu)

Postby eskandar » 2020-04-21, 21:21

Urdu
Watched Veer-Zaara on Vijay's recommendation and very much enjoyed it. Though it did annoy me that while the Indian lead, played by SRK, generally had good diction, several of the Pakistani characters (especially Rani Mukerji) couldn't pronounce a single xaa, ghaaf or qayn to save their lives. For a film that is relatively sensitive in its portrayal of Pakistan (while still, of course, upholding an Indian nationalist narrative), it could have done a better job with regard to language. (On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed the Punjabified Hindi/Urdu, which only contributed to my growing Punjabi wanderlust.)

Veer-Zaara vocab
کلش kalash - urn (nm)
استھیاں asthiyāṅ - cremated remains (nfpl)
پچھتانا pachhtānā - to regret
چوٹی coṭī - long braid of hair (nf)
پالنا pālnā - to raise
پوچھ گوچھ کرنا pūchh gūchh karnā - to interrogate
دستاویز dastāvez - document (nm)
سلاخ salāx - iron rod, bar (eg. in prison cell) (nf)
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24776
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Yuanlin, Changhua County
Country: TW Taiwan (臺灣)
Contact:

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu)

Postby vijayjohn » 2020-04-25, 8:07

eskandar wrote:I've listened to some of the songs from Veer-Zaara which are great.

Increasingly, I find that "Aisa Des Hai Mera" summarizes what I think of borders in general and also sort of how I feel about Taiwan. I'm tempted to sing it at a karaoke bar or something. :P
the movie is just fun (in my opinion; obviously you didn't think so!)

To be fair, I watched it at a family friend's house at a time when I was probably less tolerant of fun movies than I am now, and it didn't help (though it was slightly amusing) that another family friend kept telling me "oh if you want to get a girl you should do this, you should fight villains like that, (once they start singing "Yeh Dosti") you should sing like that (at that point, I was like "oh I just have to sing? Well, that's easy :lol:")."
I especially enjoyed the depiction of inter-communal harmony in village life and the range of Hindustani you could hear in the film, from the unlettered, "undotted" rural Hindi of the main villain, to the chaste Urdu spoken by the imam.

Huh, maybe I should watch it again sometime.
Sounds interesting, though it also sounds like the kind of thing that would be hard for me to understand, language-wise.

Actually, I think you'd be surprised! Achhut Kanya, at least from what little I've seen so far, has remarkably simple language, with lots of short lines that are pronounced pretty slowly and clearly (for old Bollywood movies, anyway). I think the trickiest thing for you would probably be the dialect variation; some of the lines are in another linguistic variety besides Khari Boli, probably something else spoken in Uttar Pradesh (and I'm not sure there are only two varieties in the whole movie, either).
Watched Veer-Zaara on Vijay's recommendation and very much enjoyed it. Though it did annoy me that while the Indian lead, played by SRK, generally had good diction, several of the Pakistani characters (especially Rani Mukerji) couldn't pronounce a single xaa, ghaaf or qayn to save their lives. For a film that is relatively sensitive in its portrayal of Pakistan (while still, of course, upholding an Indian nationalist narrative), it could have done a better job with regard to language. (On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed the Punjabified Hindi/Urdu, which only contributed to my growing Punjabi wanderlust.)

Hmm, interesting. I don't think I noticed that about the Pakistani characters, although I thought that was common in Pakistan as well. For me, it was definitely the Indian nationalist narrative that bothered me the most (especially the final scene where they cross the border and SRK's all like "AHHHHHH INDIAAAAAAAAA" :roll: :lol: oh, and the part where Amitabh Bachchan's character starts a girls' school in his village because some Pakistani chick told him to. Yyyyeah that's gonna happen), so I'm grateful (and kind of pleasantly surprised) that lots of Pakistanis seem to be willing to forgive (or even just ignore) that particular aspect of the movie. I'm also kind of hopeful that some of the youngest Indians nowadays have better relationships with their neighbors to the west than their relatives did.

eskandar
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2998
Joined: 2006-12-15, 8:27
Real Name: Eskandar
Gender: male

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu)

Postby eskandar » 2020-04-25, 17:27

vijayjohn wrote:Actually, I think you'd be surprised! Achhut Kanya, at least from what little I've seen so far, has remarkably simple language, with lots of short lines that are pronounced pretty slowly and clearly (for old Bollywood movies, anyway). I think the trickiest thing for you would probably be the dialect variation; some of the lines are in another linguistic variety besides Khari Boli, probably something else spoken in Uttar Pradesh (and I'm not sure there are only two varieties in the whole movie, either).

Yeah, it's the register(s) of language used I was worried about, not the speed or length of sentences. Rural Hindi (especially where it starts to meld into neighboring dialects and languages) is really hard for me to follow.

I thought that was common in Pakistan as well.

I was under the impression that a highly educated Pakistani person (like a lawyer) would at least pronounce [x] and likely [gh] and [q] as well. But I don't really know.
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

User avatar
Saim
Posts: 5581
Joined: 2011-01-22, 5:44
Location: Novi Sad
Country: RS Serbia (Србија)

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu)

Postby Saim » 2020-04-26, 15:50

eskandar wrote:I was under the impression that a highly educated Pakistani person (like a lawyer) would at least pronounce [x] and likely [gh] and [q] as well. But I don't really know.


I don't think I've ever come across a Pakistani that doesn't pronounce [x] and [ɣ]; [q] on the other hand I've only really heard on the news. I wouldn't be surprised if there was certain variation according to age, native language, region or class, but no-one I've met so far seems to deviate from this usage. Of course, I've mostly been in contact with "Punjabi Urdu": maybe some people in Karachi use [q] in normal speech, I don't know.

(Native speakers of Kashmiri generally don't pronounce [x] and [ɣ], but there aren't that many of them in areas actually under Pakistani administration.)

eskandar
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2998
Joined: 2006-12-15, 8:27
Real Name: Eskandar
Gender: male

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu)

Postby eskandar » 2020-04-30, 19:14

Thanks, that sounds like what I'd heard elsewhere as well.

I've been focusing mostly on Urdu these days. Read through another chapter in Readings in Literary Urdu Prose (171/351). Prompted by the untimely passing of Irrfan Khan, I decided to watch all of Kahkashan, starting with the segment where he plays the Communist poet Makhdoom Mohiuddin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUC-VXlsfIs

I love Makhdoom; my first-ever exposure to Urdu poetry was trying to translate one of his poems into Persian. I watched the first segment and so far I'm really enjoying it.
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

eskandar
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2998
Joined: 2006-12-15, 8:27
Real Name: Eskandar
Gender: male

Re: TAC eskandar (Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu)

Postby eskandar » 2020-05-02, 18:28

Watched Jodhaa Akbar which was a lot of fun.
Readings in Literary Urdu Prose 189/351
Please correct my mistakes in any language.


Return to “Total Annihilation Challenge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest