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  5. मैं नहीं समझता हुँ


मैं नहीं समझता हुँ

I have been learning Hindi for 18 months now. Many have said that my progress has been rapid, but I think their prospective is askew. I can read, write, and speak. My vocabulary is limited and my grammar is no where near mastery, but I can communicate and be understood. My problem is I can understand almost nothing. Every conversation I beg, “धीरे धीरे बोलिए!” What can I do to progress in this aspect of learning? Any suggestions?

August 14, 2018



It would give me great hope to think I'd even be half as good as that after 18 months :) How much practice are you doing every day?

To get more listening practice you could try watching the news in Hindi, or music videos, or just anything else that interests you. Target language subtitles can be quite helpful if you can read along fast enough... or, like me, you are very quick on the pause button.


I live in "little india" Chicago neighborhood so I am able to speak nearly every day. I unapologetically speak to anyone I can. I started out my learning process by taking a class. Since then, reading and increasing my vocabulary has been my main source of learning. The duolingo course has been great as well!!


Sadly Hindi subtitles aren't a thing. Most Indians who can afford to or are interested in watching foreign TV shows can also understand English. So Hindi subtitles never took off.

I suggest you to watch Sacred Games on Netflix. It is one of the first Netflix originals out of India and it surprisingly has Hindi subtitles.


I've been studying more or less constantly for close to 4 years, have a Hindi mother tongue girlfriend, and have visited India many times. Without subtitles I still only understand maybe 50% of Bollywoods (and that's generous, it really depends on the region of India and actors). In daily conversation I can manage pretty well if the person speaks slowly, but I certainly need to ask for clarification, especially if the topic is more abstract.

Just to let you know that there's no easy magic trick to speed up the learning progression. Just dedication, immersion, and of course bollywood movies/music and language exchanges if you have the time. सौभाग्य!


My wife and I love Indian culture and food. We have many Indian friends, but we have never gone to India. My wife is a little intimidated by the negative media that makes its way to the US. As an American who has been there, what advice would you give my wife?


How is your pronunciation? You say that you can speak, but we can't be sure what level you're at. I ask this because I hypothesize that your language knowledge is awesome but maybe your study of the sound system could use some revisiting. Not just the sounds of the phonemes, but also the tone of a sentence. You sound like you're doing well though. Just watch some Hindi movies with the subtitles turned (alternately) off and on!


My pronunciation is okay. Aspirated consonants are a little difficult. I’ve got a good handle on the vowels because I have never romanized. My wife and I are learning together, and we chose to learn Devanagari before anything. We don’t watch much of any Bollywood so I come be missing out on some low hanging fruit in the learning process. Thanks for the tips!!

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