Big Gora Learns Hindi

Big Gora Learns Hindi

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Chalte chalte

First, let's get this out of the way: I didn't get the Fulbright for fall 2014. I spent about a week feeling very depressed, then another two coming out of it very gradually. Damn. That was going to be my excuse/occasion/motivation to work super-hard on my Hindi in 2014; now I'll just have to do it for its own sake!
One thing I'm amused by about Hindi, which actually it shares with English, is the repetition (or echo/rhyme) of words, and the use of two similar words together, for effect. Think how often we do this in English:
Hustle and bustle, wear and tear, willy-nilly, shilly-shally, kitty cat, puppy dog, tick-tock (also used in Hindi), and so forth.
One really common instance is चलते चलते [chalte chalte/gradually, over time]. Here it is in one of my all-time favorite Bollywood numbers, from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi: it's "Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte" [see you later, down the road].

Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte
The wonderful (and earlier-posted) song "Dard-e-disco" includes लम्हा लम्हा [lamha lamha/from moment to moment].

Dard-e-disco
Here are a few more I've learned that I especially like:
अलग अलग [alag alag/different-different, separately]
एक एक [ek ek/one each]
कौन कौन [kaun kaun/which various people]
बड़ा बड़ा [baraa baraa/great big]
मीटिंग-शीटिंग [meeting-sheeting/ meeting or anything of the kind. This is an example, too, of the vast potential of echo words to convey mocking. That usage is very common in English-language novels with Hindi-speaking characters; they import this tendency into English, all the time.]
नौकर-चौकर [naukar-chaukar/servant of some kind (the words both mean "servant"]
गप-शाप [gap-shap/idle chatter, gossip. This approaches to onomatopoeia, I think--kind of like saying, "Blah blah blah."]
सब हैम लोग तालियां बजाइए [sab ham log taliyaan bajaie/let's all clap hands] for repeating words in Hindi!