Introductory Hindi-Urdu is a “fun class”, provided you are committed. Some frequently asked questions about the class


Q: My parents speak Hindi, Urdu or Punjabi at home. I understand them and also watch Bollywood movies. However, I cannot read or write in the Hindi script, don't know much about grammar, and I only talk in Hindi, Urdu or Punjabi with my relatives. Should I be taking first year or second year Hindi-Urdu?


A: If you cannot read and write Hindi and have not had any formal introduction to Hindi grammar in a school setting, you should enroll in Introductory Hindi-Urdu. If you consider yourself rather articulate and prefer to enhance your language of communication, do consider to enroll in intermediate intermediate Hindi-Urdu and I will support you in your endeavor to catch up on missing grammatical concepts as well as learning the script (you can start learning the script in the summer months with my guidance and/or audit Introductory Hindi-Urdu in the first three weeks of class, when the script is introduced). Intermediate Hindi-Urdu, while also requiring a basic knowledge of grammatical concepts in both English and Hindi-Urdu, focuses on conversation and writing skills. It builds on vocabulary that you will be accustomed to through your background. You might personally and academically benefit much more in the intermediate class than in the introductory class.



Q: What distinguishes an A+ student from an A student?


A: Both students attend class regularly, they are on time and do not leave early. They are not only present physically, but follow whatever is covered in class. They are able to respond to the questions posed by the instructor.


Both students have excellent marks on their home assignments and quizzes (A+ students in the 90s, A students in the 80s). They do not repeat the same spelling and/or grammar mistakes in their writing assignments.


An A+ is awarded to students who spark through exceptional achievements. This means that A+ students are able to help their colleagues who are struggling with particular language issues. They need to be able to explain the grammar with the grammatical terminology learned in class, and not rely on the “sounds-right” approach.



Q: I missed a quiz. Can I make it up?


A: If you inform me before class that you are unable to write a quiz and have an acceptable reason and/or written documentation, you may make-up the quiz during my office hours. This accommodation is not granted on a regular basis.



Q: Are late assignments marked zero?


A: Homework is due before class begins. Late assignments are only accepted if I receive a written notification prior to the due date of the assignment stating a reason why you were unable to submit the assignment on time. If this takes place on a regular basis, though, late assignments will be penalized if turned in within three days of the due date or marked zero. You can always drop off a late assignment in the slot outside my office (Ross S570).



Q: How does attendance affect my final grade?


A: Apart from your marks on written assignments and tests, 30% of your grade is based on attendance and your participatory attitude. You are required to arrive on time and to not leave early.  Attendance is taken at the beginning of each class. Latecomers are marked as late or absent, unless I receive a written notification stating the reason for being late. Chronic latecomers will be marked late or absent.



Q: How is participation assessed?


A: Besides being in class physically, you need to participate on a regular basis. When I call on you, I expect that you be able to respond to my question without me having to repeat it again. Every question from your side is appreciated, there are absolutely no “stupid” questions. I expect that you know the grammatical terminology used in the class (if you don’t then please ask me to explain it again - other students will be thankful for the question) and that you try to answer your classmates’ questions. There is also the discussions forum on WebCT, where you can post questions and participate in discussions. Participation in the discussions forum counts towards your participation grade.



Q: How can I find out about my grade?


A: You can always visit me during my office hours or schedule an appointment to retrieve information about the different components of your grade. The grades on home assignments and quizzes are made known to you upon return, which is usually the next class that the assignment was due.


Please inform me about any concerns or worries, so that we can resolve them at once and not after the final grades have been submitted. Also, if you require “a good grade” in order to enter graduate school, let me know in advance, so that I can alert you whenever I see you fall behind.



Q: Will I receive a better grade if I already know Hindi and/or Urdu?


You are welcome to demonstrate your additional skills if you are more advanced with regard to grammar and vocabulary, but the grading is based on the fulfillment of requirements listed on a test, quiz or homework assignment. You are marked for what you learn in class and not for the knowledge you bring to class. A language class requires much effort and “the right” attitude. Lessons build on each other, so please make sure to not fall behind with regard to vocabulary and grammar especially if words/grammar sound familiar to you.



Q: How important are the Multimedia Language Center (mlc) lab exercises?


A: Upon completion of each unit in class you are expected to do the accompanying oral drills available from the mlc. You can do this by going to the multimedia language centre (Ross S117) or by visiting Username: mlc Password: student.


The exercises are extremely important to the course, even though you might not always be aware thereof at the moment that you are doing them. The drills help you in speaking and listening comprehension and are essential to practicing proper pronunciation. Through “active drilling” and repetition you will gain more confidence in recognizing and applying the grammatical concepts that you were introduced to in class. If you already know the grammatical concept then you might want to instead focus on practicing spellings and vocabulary as well as the gender of the nouns and accompanying adjectives. Be creative and use the voice on the tapes for a dictation. You may submit any work you do to me for feedback.


If you experience trouble with the lab exercises or simply think they are boring, please let me know and we will discuss ways to make them useful for you.


Q: The course is too difficult!


A: Whenever you feel overwhelmed by the content or pace of the class, please speak to me. Often, you are not alone and receiving feedback from you is the only way that I can make things change, i.e. provide more exercises, reduce the pace of the class, repeat lessons etc.


If you have particular problems with a grammatical concept, come speak to me. Please don’t be shy – often the problems are resolved within 5 minutes of your time! Whenever I feel that you are struggling, I will ask you to drop by my office hours in order to resolve problems that you are experiencing or to set up individual or group learning plans.


Q: Is this an “easy course” for me if I already have language background?


A: Please be aware that per class meeting this course requires an additional 1,5-2 hours for class preparation and review outside class. This time includes the homework assignments and time for learning the new vocabulary. This means that per week you are expected to spend 3-4 hours in addition to our class meetings. If you are unable or not willing to make this commitment please do not enroll in this course.


Please also be aware that knowing vocabulary by ear is not equivalent to being able to spell it. Make sure that – from the outset – you spend at least 30 minutes a week learning the spellings and grammatical designation of words.