Frequently asked questions (Intermediate Hindi-Urdu)

Q: My parents speak Hindi, Urdu or Punjabi at home and I understand everything. However, I cannot read or write in the Hindi script 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 your language of communication at home is Hindi, Urdu or Punjabi you should consider enrolling in intermediate Hindi. You may attend the first three weeks of classes in introductory Hindi-Urdu, in order to learn the (Hindi) Nagari script. Intermediate Hindi-Urdu, while also requiring 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 from your background. To be somewhat versed in grammar, you will be required to buy the textbook for introductory Hindi so that I can refer you to a particular chapter, whenever necessary.


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 classmates 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 for that, preferably with written documentation, you may make-up the quiz during my office hours. This is however a one-time exception.


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.


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 participation. 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 absent, unless I receive a written notification stating the reason for being late. Chronic latecomers will be marked absent.


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

The grading is based on the fulfillment of requirements listed on a test, quiz or homework assignment. You are welcome to demonstrate your additional skills if you are more advanced with regard to grammar and vocabulary but you will not receive credit for that, unless the assignment is a creative writing assignment, which also evaluates style. Your written assignments are also be evaluated on the basis of your individual progress in the course of the academic year.


Q: I can understand Hindi and/or Urdu but I have trouble speaking it. Will this affect my grade?

A: Most students face this challenge of expressing themselves in Hindi-Urdu (and not in “Hinglish”). If you are shy or have less experience speaking in front of the class, do let me know. In general, I try to create a relaxed learning atmosphere in which students are not intimidated but have fun expressing themselves in front of each other. It is my goal to make you help each other, especially in the group assignments. It is okay to use English words in your Hindi-Urdu sentences but try to use the Hindi-Urdu equivalents. If you are not sure, we will try to find words together. Effort is that counts!

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 your overall 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 have the feeling that you are falling behind.


Q: The course is too difficult!

A: Whenever you feel overwhelmed by the content or pace of the class, 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! Whenever I feel that you are struggling, I will call you to my office hours in order to resolve problems that you are experiencing or to set up individual or group learning plans.