मेरो नेपाली भाषा सिक्ने यात्रा (My Nepali Learning Journey)

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मेरो नेपाली भाषा सिक्ने यात्रा (My Nepali Learning Journey)

Postby Pinecone » Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:07 am

I am going to try my hand at keeping a log of my Nepali learning.

I tend to over-think / over-edit written things. So I am going to try and resist that urge and keep things rough around the edges (spelling mistakes and all)--otherwise I may never post! :)

First, a little background. I've lived in Nepal for a little over five years. I think I am currently somewhere in the B2 range of fluency (probably on the weaker side of B2). I am aiming for a solid C1. I have employed a variety of language learning approaches over the years. I'll tell more about that at a later time.

I am currently having class with a tutor twice a week for an hour and half each session. Outside of this I spend about an hour a week on vocabulary reviews and 3 hours listening to Nepali (at meetings and via recorded shows). And of course, there is the out and about dialog with shopkeepers, neighbors and taxi drivers (most of this is transactional / pleasantry type conversation that isn't all that stretching).

The areas I want to grow in the most are:
1. Vocabulary. I am aiming to add 1,000 new words a year to the list of words I am familiar with or know. I've seen some sources estimate that a C1 level requires around 8,000 word lemmas. If so, I am about half way there. Whew. It may be awhile!
2. Conversation. I want to be able to participate in intermediate level conversations at natural speed. Currently I need to ask for things to be repeated, ask questions to confirm I am tracking, and bump up against the gap of what I want to say vs. what I can say.
3. Reading comprehension. I want to be able to read announcements, notices, and letters I receive in the course of living here and understand both the main point and important supporting details. Currently I am at about a 3rd grade reading level.

Lately what is working well for me to make progress on these goals is splitting my sessions with my tutor between conversation and reading practice. This surfaces new vocabulary and is stretching me on the conversation and reading comprehension fronts. I only study new vocabulary I encounter through conversation, reading, or during the week in the 'wild'. Learning random words without a context doesn't work all that well for me.

Since I am reading at a 3rd grade level, I am reading kids books. The book I am currently working through is यती भेट्ने केटी (The Girl Who Met The Yeti). It is written by Nepali author Anuradha. I believe it is only available in Nepal. After finishing this book I am going to switch to some that I recently found with PDF copies online. I may post little reviews of each book along with link as I finish them.

Well, this gets my Nepali learning log started. To anyone who wants to follow along from time to time, thanks for reading!
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Book: आमा खुसी हुनुभयो (Mom Became Happy)

Postby Pinecone » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:13 pm

I started reading through a new book today with my tutor. It is a picture book about a boy who eats some bananas without asking his mom for permission then lies about what he did. It explores the feelings of the boy and the mom as they work through the problem of the missing bananas.

Image

आमा खुसी हुनुभयो
By: कृष्णदीप सिग्देल
( Full PDF | Summary )

I translated it to American English as we went. The result is below. Page numbers correspond with the book's page numbers. Bold text is the understood translation and the text under it is the literal word-for-word translation.

Cover:
Mom Became Happy
Lit: Mom happy became

P. 4
I saw bananas on the table.
Lit: Table on bananas (I) saw.

P.5
I felt greedy. I ate the bananas.
Lit: Greedy (I) felt. I bananas ate.

P. 6
Mom didn't see the bananas on the table.
"Where are the bananas?" Mom asked.

Lit: Mom table on bananas didn't see.
"Bananas where?" Mom asked.

P. 8
I felt afraid to say, "I ate them." I lied.
Mom looked for the bananas. The bananas weren't found.

Lit: "I ate" to say fear feels. I lied.
Mom bananas searched. Bananas couldn't be met.

P. 10
"Who took the bananas?" Mom was a little bit angry.
Lit: "Bananas who took (emphasizing particle)?" Mom little-little anger came.

P.13
"Why is everyone in this house lying to me?" Mom became sad.
Lit: "House at people why lie huh?" Mom sad became.

P.14
When I saw she was sad, I felt bad.
Lit: Mother with sad I saw and inner turmoil felt.

P.15
"I am the one who ate the bananas, " I said.
Lit: "Bananas I (emphasizing particle) have eaten," I said.

P. 16
She heard what I said and became surprised.
Lit. Mom my thing having heard surprise fell.

P. 17
And she became happy.
Lit: And happy (emphasizing particle) became.

P.18
While being surprised, Mom said, "Having eaten them is fine. I put the bananas out for you."
Lit: Mom while being surprised said, "Having eaten fine did. Bananas you for [I] put."



Cultural Observations

There is a culture learning piece to this book. The way the mother reacts to her son lying about the bananas and how the bad behavior is resolved is fairly different than how it would have gone down in my home culture. There is no guilt or apology. The boy responds to his mom's sadness and simply corrects the record. The mom acts surprised (of course mom already knew what was going on) then she signals everything is fine since the bananas were for him to begin with. My kids would have gotten a lecture about lying and been sent to a timeout!

Correction: It appears I was partially wrong on this cultural observation. I talked about this with my tutor and he felt the story didn't accurately represent what would have happened in a Nepali home. The mother would have have scolded the child and possibly smacked him. Also, while there isn't a specific indication of guilt the word पिर लाग्नु does indicate the boy felt inner turmoil of some kind. That there was not an "I am sorry." and "I forgive you." interchange between the boy and the mother in the resolution of the conflict is however, consistent with Nepali culture. We both agreed the title of the book should have been more along the lines of "Mom Became Sad."



Vocabulary

लोभ लाग्नु - to feel greedy
डार लाग्नु - to feel afraid / to feel fear
ढाँट्नु - to lie
दङ्ग पर्नु - to be surprised
छक्क पर्नु - to be surprised
रिसाउनु - to get angry
दुःखी हुनु - to be sad (Not to be confused with दुःख लाग्नु which means "to feel sad")
पिर लाग्नु - to feel inner turmoil / to feel bad / to feel worried / to feel distressed (This word has a range in meaning that doesn't seem to match up one-for-one with an English word. It can be used in cases where a person is feeling inner turmoil ranging from disappointment with themselves for not doing well on a test, to distress over the death of a loved one. If a friend is feeling this way, you may also use the same word to describe your empathy toward your friend--similar to how in English you say, "I feel bad for John.").



Edits:
Nov. 20, 2019 - Updated the book summary. Made corrections to the translation. Added vocabulary words. Corrected cultural observation. Tweaked formatting.
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Book: आज मैले के के जानेँ? (What did I learn today?)

Postby Pinecone » Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:47 am

Image

आज मैले के के जानेँ?
By: मित्रलाल पंज्ञानी
( Full PDF | Summary )

This book is a little harder to translate due to the rhyming and poetry. It uses some verbs that usually mean one thing but are understood to mean another from the context. I've done my best with the help of my tutor and Nepali friend to translate the book; however, there are a few places that don't translate well.

Page 4
I learned to climb a ladder.
Lit: Steps ladder climb [I] learned

I learned how to put on clothes by myself.
Lit: Clothes myself put on [I] learned.

Page 5
I splashed water. I washed my face.
Lit: Water [I] splashed, mouth [I] washed

I washed my hands. I washed my feet.
Lit: Hands washed, feet washed

Page 6
I learned to listen attentively.
Lit: Attention give listen [I] learned

I learned to ponder to myself.*
Lit: Heart in having put multiply [I] learned
* This is a hard sentence to translate. Roughly it is communicating that the elephant learned to process internally. A more literal translation may be "I learned to count to myself." But the next page with the elephant counting out loud goes against that idea.

Page 7
I learned to recite a poem.
Lit: Poem one tell [I] learned

"1, 2, 3, 4", I learned to count.
Lit: 1 2 3 4 count [I] learned

Page 8
I learned to smile nicely.
Lit: Gently smile laugh [I] learned.

I learned to join paper.
Lit: Piece paper join [I] learned

Page 9
I learned to open a door by myself.
Lit: Door myself open [I] learned

I learned to speak like a bird.
Lit: Bird just like speak [I] learned

Page 10
I learned to play hide and seek.
Lit: Hide and seek play [I] learned

I learned to play hopscotch.
Lit: Hopscotch play [I] learned

Page 11
I learned to make a straight line.
Lit: Straight line pull [I] learned

I learned to curve lines into circles. (I learned to make circles).
Lit: These (the lines) to make round [I] learned

Page 12
I folded paper and made a plane.
Lit: Plane [I] made paper [I] have broken

It flew dancing away.
Lit: Flying went dancing dancing

Page 13
I also danced in surprise.
Lit: [I] danced I [emphasized] also surprise felt

I jumped in happiness and clapped.
Lit: Because happy [I] jumped, [I] clapped

Page 14
Today what things did I learn?
Lit: Today I what what knew

I feel good understanding and learning.
Lit: To know to understand good feel (by context)



Vocabulary
मुसुमुसु हाँस्नु - to smile gently (smile without laughing, मुसुमुसु is an adverb that only goes with हाँस्नु)
लुकामारी - hide and seek
खर्ल्याङखुट्टी - hopscotch (there are other regional names for this game)
छ्याप्नु = to splash
गाँस्नु = to join / to tie / to link (Generally interchangeable with जोड्नु. Use जोड्नु in cases where it means 'connect'.)
कविता = poem
रेखा = line
भाँच्नु = to break (in the context of this book it means to fold)
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Switching gears

Postby Pinecone » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:28 pm

I've switched gears. The children's story books didn't end up being as helpful as I thought. Some of the reasons were:
1. The new words were not particularly common which meant I was spending time trying to understand and learn words I may never encounter again.
2. The stories were not that interesting to me. I thought maybe I would re-read the stories but that doesn't seem likely now.
3. The stories were too short to provide much context or repetition of new vocabulary.
4. It was work and time intensive for relatively few new vocabulary words.

I did mostly work through translating a 3rd book, but gave up before getting it refined enough to post.

I spent a few tutoring sessions just focusing on conversation.

Earlier this week I found a small book of one to two page essays written at 4th or 5th grade level that looks promising. There are 50 essays and each one is on a different topic. Since they are topically focused the vocabulary repeats and provides enough context to figure out the meaning of some new words by reading alone. I am finding the essays to be more interesting than the children's stories. So, I am going to spend some time using this new book for awhile.

More about the essay book:
सरल नेपाली निबन्धमाला (Saral Nepali Nibandhamala) by Dr Sailendu Prakash Nepal published by EktaBooks.

Edit: Spelling correction.
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Re: मेरो नेपाली भाषा सिक्ने यात्रा (My Nepali Learning Journey)

Postby Pinecone » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:47 am

It took a few months longer than I was shooting for but I reached my goal of adding 1,000 new words (lemmas) to my Nepali vocabulary! (These are in addition to 2,000 words I had previously logged in a spreadsheet and notebook). They aren't all 'active' but most are. It definitely feels good to see my word log grow by 1,000 words.

All of these are words I first encountered in conversation, through listening or reading. I always go over new words in conversation again with my tutor to try it out in several sentences and make sure I understand how it can and cannot be used. Listening to conversation today I hear these new words come up all the time which is also encouraging because it confirms I am learning useful words and my overall comprehension is improving!

Next stop, 1,500. I am aiming to reach that by the end of June--which means I need to add roughly 25 new words a week. With the short essay book I am going through now that shouldn't be a problem. I've been doing one essay a week with my tutor and each one is introducing me to 20-30 new words.

1000-words-sm.jpg
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Re: मेरो नेपाली भाषा सिक्ने यात्रा (My Nepali Learning Journey)

Postby Pinecone » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:13 pm

Two tidbits from today's lesson:

1. When you want to say someone was 'about' to do something there are two ways:
a. Use the verb in 'na' form followed by the properly conjugated form of khojnu (example: मेरो छोरा रुन खोज्यो तर रोएन।)
b. Use the verb in 'na' form followed by the properly conjugated form of laagnu (example: मेरो छोरा रुन लाग्यो तर रोएन।)

2. When saying something hit a person instead of using haannu use laagnu or choT laagnu to indicate injury with the hit.
(example: बलले नाकमा लाग्यो। or बलले नाकमा चोट लाग्यो।)
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Re: मेरो नेपाली भाषा सिक्ने यात्रा (My Nepali Learning Journey)

Postby Pinecone » Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:45 am

I've been looking for some sources for Nepali audio with matching text and haven't been super successful. I just came across a promising option while trying searches for Nepali Audio books. It appears there is a radio show called Shruti Sambeg that airs on the Ujyalo 90 radio network twice a week in which the host, Achyut Ghimire Bulbul, reads Nepali literature. I haven't been able to confirm yet if it is done word-for-word or abridged. I hope to stop at a local bookstore later this week to pick up a few titles to find out for sure, but I think it is going to be the full audio. If so, this will be a big find! Several sites have archives of the episodes including the official Shruti Sambeg show page, a blog called श्रब्य किताब, on the Hamro Awaz blog, and the Internet Archive.

---
Edited to add a link to the Hamro Awaz blog post that lists the books with short descriptions in English.
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Confirmed word-for-word Nepali audio books!

Postby Pinecone » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:31 am

Pinecone wrote:I haven't been able to confirm yet if it is done word-for-word or abridged. I hope to stop at a local bookstore later this week to pick up a few titles to find out for sure, but I think it is going to be the full audio. If so, this will be a big find!.

I am now the proud owner of three of the books that were read on the Shruti Sambeg program: सेतो बाघ (Seto Bagh), कर्नाली ब्लुज (Karnali Blues), and सेतो धरती (Seto Dharti). I just did a comparison of the text to the audio on the radio program and confirmed it is a word-for-word reading! Also, it turns out there are English translations of these titles too. I was able to find one of the English versions, The Wake of the White Tiger (English version of Seto Bagh), and it looks like it follows the original Nepali text pretty closely.

I am pretty happy with this. Although the books are likely beyond my current capability, I feel like I have some good options now for helping me move from B2 to C1. For now, I am going to keep working on the short essay book I've been going through and then see if I am ready to start in on Seto Bagh (I found another reading of this book I think I'll use instead of the Shruti Sambeg one).

I've never used reading and listening along as a language learning method before. I am looking forward to trying it out! Now I am motivated to get through the simple essays book quickly so I can start in on the new books! :D
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Find what interests you they say...

Postby Pinecone » Mon Mar 16, 2020 4:32 pm

What's motivating me in my Nepali learning today? Trying to read the Nepal Government's press releases and coronavirus situation reports. I wouldn't have put that on my list of language learning motivators a few months ago!
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