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Lesson Transcript

Maya: Hi everyone, I am Maya and welcome to hindipod101.com, pronunciation series, lesson 3. Guiding Your Way through Hindi.
Manasi: [Namaste dosto] Hi, this is Manasi here.
Maya: Now, we’ve already gone over how to pronounce all the 36 Hindi consonants. In this lesson, we will explore the vowels.

Lesson focus

Manasi: There are 14 vowels. Most of them are pairs of short and long syllables.
Maya: Right, very simple in a way. So let’s get started.
Manasi: The first pair is [A] and [Aa]
Maya: The first one is short and the second one is long. Could you repeat them so our listeners can hear one more time?
Manasi: Sure. The first one is [A] and the second one is [Aa]
Maya: This sounds similar but listeners, please be careful as the difference in sounds can really change the words.
Manasi: Yes [A] and [Aa]. For example, for the sound [A] we have Amar which means immortal and for [Aa] we have [Aam] which means Mango. This pair of vowels is pronounced using the throat. Try saying each of them one by one. [A] Amar [Aa - Aam]
Maya: So please be careful with this kind of sound. Even though people will understand what you are trying to say, it will of course be easier if you pronounce them correctly.
Manasi: That’s right. Now the next pair is E/I and Ee/Ii…For example for I, we have [Imli] which means tamarind and for Ee…, we have [Eet] which means brick. This is also a pair made of short and long sounds I and Ee…I for [Imli] and Ee…for [eet].
Maya: Yes. The E/I sound is the same as the sound of E and pin. And the E…sound is the same as Ee sound in teen or machine in English.
Manasi: The next pair is [u] and [ou]. For example [upar] which means up starts with the short [u] and the [oun] which means wool starts with the long [ou] upar for [u] and [oun] for the long [ou]
Maya: So the short sound [u] is the same as [upar] in pull and the long sound [ou] is the same as in cool. Let’s go to the next pair.
Manasi: Well, the next is not actually a pair but a single letter [Ri] which is mostly used for Sanskrit or classical Hindi words.
Maya: But wait, isn’t [Ri] a consonant sound?
Manasi: Well in English, certainly the letter R is a consonant but this is slightly different in Hindi. In Hindi, it’s more like a vowel.
Maya: That’s very interesting. So could you give us an example?
Manasi: An example of the short sound is [Rishi] which means a saint.
Maya: Okay so there is a longer version as well?
Manasi: No there is no long version. We just have only the short form of this letter.
Maya: Okay so what’s the next one?
Manasi: The next is the pair A and I.
Maya: Can you give us an example?
Manasi: Sure. A, we have [Ek] which means one. And for I, we have [ainak] which means spectacles.
Maya: Wow, they kind of sound very similar but the meaning is just so different.
Manasi: Yes that’s true.
Maya: So what’s the next pair?
Manasi: The next one is O and [Au]
Maya: Can you give us some examples for this sound?
Manasi: Sure. For the short O we have [Or] which means towards and for [Au] we have [Aurat] which means a lady or a woman.
Maya: And finally, the last pair is
Manasi: The last pair is [Am] and [Ah]
Maya: Can you give an example?
Manasi: Sure. For [an] we have [Angur] which means grapes and [ah] which is mostly used in old literature like in Sanskrit.
Maya: Okay this seems pretty simple.
Manasi: But there is one other thing. Do you remember what we said about matra in Hindi?
Maya: Ah yes, when you are reading, they tell you which vowel to attach to a consonant in a word.
Manasi: Yes Hindi letters are formed with consonants plus matra which tells you which vowel to pronounce.
Maya: We will try to give you an idea about how to pronounce matra by using one consonant. Then you try different matras with other consonants and check your pronunciation.
Manasi: Yeah let’s take the first letter of Hindi ka. All the consonants have the default vowel [A] with them but we can modify it by using matra.
Maya: Right. If you look at the PDF now, it will be very helpful. Read the corresponding letter with matra to identify and pronounce them correctly.
Manasi: Right.
Maya: So let’s do it with the [K] sound.
Manasi: First we have [Ka]. This is the same as the vowel [Aa]
Maya: Second is [Ke] with the vowel E.
Manasi: The next is with the long vowel Ee. So we have [Kee]
Maya: Next is [Ku] with the vowel [U].
Manasi: Next is [Kou] with the vowel [ou]
Maya: And next is [Ke] with the vowel A.
Manasi: Next we have [Kai] with the vowel I.
Maya: And next is [Ko] with the vowel O.
Manasi: And next we have [Kau] with the vowel [au]
Maya: The next one is [kam] or come with an vowel [am]. It can be [am] or come depending on the word.
Manasi: Yeah and last we have [kahan] with the vowel [ah]. This matra is usually found with Sanskrit words.
Maya: The concept of Matra might be new for native English learners but they are not that difficult.
Manasi: Well Maya, this might sound interesting but we used to sing a song by using consonants and all the Matras to remember pronunciation when we were in school.
Maya: Really? That sounds like fun. You should definitely sing it to me sometime.
Manasi: Sure.
Maya: Now you can all try placing matra with the next consonant and check how you pronounce them.
Manasi: Right. So read as many Hindi words as you can and identify the matras.
Maya: Try to pronounce them correctly remembering to keep the short vowels separate from the long ones and don’t forget to keep practicing.


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Maya: Goodbye.