Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Ba" se "Baloo"

That means "B" is for "Bear" in Hindi. Yes, I am learning Hindi. Mr. ATK is also learning Hindi, but who wants to hear stories about him?

Hindi is an interesting language. Perhaps you've seen it before. It looks like this: नमस्ते! (That says "namaste" or "hello." I'm not sure if the script will show up on all your computers. Especially if you're using Internet Explorer. I'm guessing you guys will just get a series of random wingdings.) It has a phonetic alphabet so you just need to learn the letters. It can be pretty tricky because there are about four ways to make a "t" sound, but with practice, I think I've memorized most of the letters.

Well, Mr. ATK and I have Hindi class twice a week and for about 15 minutes each time we practice the letters. And by "practice" I mean "rote repetition" like what you do with kids. (You know, "A" is for "apple." that kind of stuff.) So one day we get to "B" (or "Bh" as it is usually written. A heavily aspirated "B.") The teacher says, "Bha se Bhalu." And then he's like, "Bhalu is bear. Like in The Jungle Book." Well, Reader, let me tell you something--there are very few things I enjoy more than Disney cartoons and if they contribute to my educational enrichment, so much the better. So I started to ask about all the Jungle Book characters. Mr. ATK says I was quite belligerent about it, but the teacher did bring it up.)

Basically the conversation went something like this.

Me: What about Sher Khan?

Teacher: Sher means lion.

Me: But Sher Khan is a tiger.

Teacher:  Sher means lion. The bad guy in the Jungle Book is a lion.

Me: No. Sher Khan is a tiger. The bad guy is a tiger.

Mr. ATK (to me): You are talking about a Disney cartoon. Have you read the book?

(Side note: Since I had not read the book, I did not continue to press the point that the bad guy in The Jungle Book is a tiger not a lion. Disney does tend to take creative licence with those kinds of things anyways. But I looked it up and indeed it is a tiger who is the villain in The Jungle Book. And lions don't live in India. But Sher still means lion and not tiger. I guess Kipling's Hindi was limited.)

Me: Does Bagheera mean anything?

Teacher: What?

Me: Bagheera. Bagheera. Does that mean panther?

Teacher: No. It doesn't mean anything. Well, Bagh means tiger. "Eera" is suffix you can use.

Me: But Bagheera's a panther.... bagh doesn't mean panther?

Teacher: No, bagh means tiger.

Me: What about Kaa? Is that snake?

Teacher: No.

Me: How about hathi?

Teacher: Hathi is elephant.

Me: Colonel Hathi is an elephant!

Mr. ATK: Are you done?

I did not bother asking if King Louie meant chimpanzee, because I was fairly sure that was some Disney creativity at work with that one.

So yeah. I can name a few animals and fruits and vegetables in Hindi. Also the English word for bell pepper here is capsicum.

1 comment:

  1. I'm just now reading this post. And I love it. Please find out about every other character - how about the wolves?