Hindi Numbers Project

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jeffers
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Hindi Numbers Project

Postby jeffers » Wed May 08, 2024 3:02 pm

I've had an idea to write a series of Pimsleur-style questions to learn and practice Hindi numbers. The problem is, it would really need to be audio, and finding a Hindi speaker who would want to record the audio would be quite a hurdle. However, I've recently realized that AI might be able to do the audio for me, if I write the questions. Heck, given the right prompts AI should be able to write the script as well.

The TL;DR is that in Hindi the numbers from 1-99 are basically each unique, although there are recognizable patterns.

Below is what I wrote in my log, but I'm posting here as well in order to possibly get advice from people who don't read my log.
Hindi Numbers

Hindi numbers can be quite difficult because every number from 1 to 99 is unique. There isn't a predictable pattern like "thirty-two, thirty-three", etc. However, there are patterns which can help with recognition. Today I laid all the numbers out in a table and noted the patterns. Basically, each number has a prefix showing the value of the ones (units), and a suffix showing which multiple of ten it belongs to. For example, numbers ending in 2 start with बा (baa) or ब (ba), and all of the numbers from 71-78 end in हतर (hatar), so 72 is बहतर (bahatar).

The 9s are a tricky case, but they basically sound like "one less than the next ten", so while eighty is अस्सी (assi), 79 is उन्नासी (unnaasi). The a sound at the beginning is lengthened in this case. 69 is उनहतर (unhatar) which sounds great since हतर (hatar) is the standard suffix for numbers in the 70s, but 70 itself is सत्तर (sattar).

I wouldn't recommend memorizing the prefixes and suffixes in isolation, but being aware of the patterns will certainly help with learning the numbers, and especially with recognizing them. Unfortunately, it is rare to see Hindi numbers written out as words, so when reading you either have to know the numbers or read them as English numbers (what I usually do :oops: ). There's an additional wrinkle which is that bilingual Hindi speakers will often just use the English numbers when they speak. This is something that you will often hear in Hindi films.


Anyway, here's a picture of the table I made, for anyone who is curious:
Screenshot 2024-05-08 153113.png


My approach to learning Hindi numbers was to first learn to count to 20, then learn all the other tens, then work on the fives (e.g 25, 35, etc). That's sort of as far as I got, and not very well. The next step was to begin to learn the numbers in between, one ten at a time (e.g. 21-29, then 31-39, and so on). I never actually did this latter step, but I've been thinking about a method taken from the Pimsleur playbook. My idea is that I would like to try to make some audio lessons practicing the numbers using maths (instead of counting). I think Pimsleur really got this right. Just memorizing a list of numbers teaches you to count, but doesn't actually help you when you need to use a number in isolation. Incidentally, Pimsleur does the same with days of the week: they don't teach you them in order, but teach you Wednesday in one lesson, and Friday in another.

So what I'm planning to do is create a bunch of sentences something doing easy maths with the numbers, like "What is 5 plus 4?....... 5 plus 4 is nine." I then want to try to use an AI text to speech tool to turn this into audio. I would start with 1-10, then 10-20, and then the tens, so questions like "What is 20 + 20?" or "What is 50 - 10?". The next lessons would work on all the 5s (25, 35, etc), and then finally lessons covering each set of ten remaining (21-29, 31-39, etc). In between I guess it would be helpful to include a couple review lessons which work all the numbers used so far. Finally, there would be a lesson or lessons doing similar things with bigger numbers.

That's the idea, but I don't really know if I will have to time to actually do it. Does anyone know of a good text-to-speech engine which can handle Hindi?


So there it is. The Hindi Numbers Project is my idea to try to make a Pimsleur-style audio tool which could help me and others finally learn Hindi numbers!
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Re: Hindi Numbers Project

Postby rdearman » Wed May 08, 2024 8:23 pm

If I were to attempt this. I would use OpenTTS for the audio or Amazon Polly. Then I would use gradint to create a Pimsluer audio course.

I am on my phone so can't give you links. But I also did videos about both topics on my YT Channel, so you could look there.

EDIT: Added links to the software. I also have a python script in my log that will generate translations from a list of sentences in a spreadsheet. I have a second python script which will convert the text in both columns into audio for use with gradint.
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Re: Hindi Numbers Project

Postby zac299 » Thu May 09, 2024 3:56 am

I would create the scripts then use a website like Upwork to get super cheap people to read it. You'd get a million people apply for your job and you could pick 3 or 4 from different parts so you even get different voices/accents/speeds of speech etc for your same script.
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jeffers
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Re: Hindi Numbers Project

Postby jeffers » Fri May 10, 2024 12:59 pm

Sometimes the simplest parts are the hardest.

Today I started writing the script, and realised I wasn't sure how should I script something like:
"What is two plus three? ... Two plus three makes five. "
I've never really had a lesson on maths in Hindi, so I wasn't quite sure how best to say something like this. The first problem was with how to say "plus". It took a while to find a list of mathematical terms in Hindi, which has जमा (jamaa) for plus. However, jamaa appears to be quite formal and I'm leaning more towards saying something more like "What is two and two?" which would use और (aur). The next problem was how to say "equals". Again, there is a technical answer, बराबर (baraabar), but I don't think it would be used as much in an informal setting. Looking on a wordpress Wordreference [oops!] page, the most popular answer is not to say "equals", but to pause and say the number, or say the number with "होता है" (hota hai = becomes) or "होते हैं" the plural form. The people on the thread didn't seem to have a preference between the singular or the plural, although Google Translate goes with the plural form. One person on the thread said you would use the plural form with और "and" but the singular form with जमा "plus".

After working this much out, I went to my staff room to get some coffee, and a teacher from Delhi was there so I asked her how she would say, "two plus two equals four", and she answered "दो और दो, चार". I asked if you would use "होता है" and she said, "Yes, yes, we could say, "दो और दो, चार होते हैं". Sadly, I forgot to ask her how to say minus, but I can leave that for another day.

For now I've settled on the following (with a pause after the question for the student to answer first, then a pause after the anwer so the student can repeat that):
दो और तीन क्या होते हैं?
दो और तीन पांच होते हैं


Although I said this would be a Pimsleur-inspired course, I actually intend it to be 99% in Hind, and I will only include English the first time a word is used. For example, at the beginning of the first math exercise, it would have to have a translation in English the first time a maths question is asked, but for subsequent questions it would just ask and answer in Hindi. And the first time a set of numbers are introduced, they would be named in Hindi, then English, then Hindi, with pauses after each for the student to repeat the Hindi, or say the Hindi after the English, as in:
एक, दो, तीन, चार, पांच
one, two, three, four, five
एक, दो, तीन, चार, पांच


I also want to do a few sentence problems, such as, "Raj has one chicken, Sita has three chickens. How many chickens are there all together?" Which would also help students practice singular and plural, because why not? In that case, words might need to be translated on the first use, but I would stick to common Hindi words, so perhaps I could assume the student would know the word. Certain phrases like "all together" ("कुल मिलाकर", kul milaakar) would be used quite frequently, and I would work to keep the sentence problems as simple as possible. I'll have to work out the details of that sort of thing later, but any suggestions would be welcome!
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