Posts Tagged ‘Urdu’

communication issues within the family

June 13, 2012

Hmm, I seem to be posting now more than ever and I am so busy. But, I think it helps to post when I am thinking about things. then, I go back to packing.

this post has nothing to do with packing, however. It has to do with language and family.
I have a family reunion on Saturday. I’m bringing vegetarian baked beans and samosas (if I can get to the store in time). DH figured that we should not have to bring anything. after all, we have a little baby, we are coming from far away and… … yes, the most common excuse, “We are blind.” My mother told him that if he / we did not bring food for the pitch in, she would make sure that he would not get any of her strawberry banana dessert (which he loves enough to ask her to make him a bowl to take home). My SIL will also be down that day. She is coming on Friday and will stay until Tuesday. She, her driver friend and her little baby Ayaan will come with us to the event.
My mother rarely “makes a request,” she just “tells people what to do.” And, so, she told me (on several occasions) to tell DH and Sil that she did not want them to speak Urdu during the reunion. Often when she calls, DH is on the phone with SIL and she can hear him in the background. He always speaks to her in Urdu, even though both of them are very proficient in English. I have to admit that it bothers me, as well. when they are talking on the phone, I am not as annoyed, but when she comes to our house and they both talk in Urdu — Or Punjabi (which is why it would be pointless for me to learn Urdu, if my only aim was to understand what they were saying) it is annoying. I find it rude. It says to me:
We are “choosing” to leave you out of our conversation. This dialog is only between us two special people and we have a wonderful special bond that you can’t and won’t share with us, no matter how much you try. and, I have had more than one person ask DH when he and his sister are out: “are you husband and wife?” That is, they think that DH and his sister are married — not DH and me. /This special communication doesn’t help any. although my whole family knows that DH and I are married, it just proves how exclusive it makes DH and his sister look. They do have a very very very (can’t say “very” enough times) close relationship. It is somewhere between father/daughter and twin. “Twin” because they want to do everything together and have parallel lives. “Father/daughter” because many times, he will act like her father — taking responsibility for her and her decisions… … and before the feminists get all up in arms, know that it is “her choice.” Some women do feel better having a male figure be responsible for their well being and decisions. I can’t explain it.
OK, am I being a bit dramatic? Probably.But, I do think that it is rude when you are suppose to be socializing with others to exclude them from your conversation by “choosing” to speak in a language that they don’t understand. I keep emphasizing the word “choose,” because, it would be entirely different “if” they didn’t know English. But, they do.
and, if I am honest, some of these language Issues have stopped me from learning the language that I was so intrigued by from the start. I had good intensions to learn Urdu. I wanted to talk to my ILS and knew that they were not very proficient in English. I wanted to speak it to Azaan so that he would be bilingual. I had someone teaching me and we were making great progress. but:
DH would not talk with me on a daily regular basis so that I could get better. the rub is that: He’ll talk with his sister for at least two hours a day — mostly in Urdu. But, he can’t spend ten minutes helping me get better. I am not saying that he doesn’t want me to learn the language. I am saying that he doesn’t want to put any effort forth in helping me learn it, but he is perfectly fine sharing that lingual bond with his sister. Language is important enough for him to want to speak it on a daily basis — just not with a novice like me.
I could go on and on about my own feelings; but I am wondering (from you readers);
Is my family being too closminded? Are DH and my sil being rude? I’d love to ehar your opinions.

All about books

June 7, 2011

As I have said before, Dh and I are passionate about giving our child the best education through books and music. OK, OK, the music part is mostly mine. But, we both believe in expanding our child’s mind through reading and thinking. Besides, I keep telling Dh that music will help “HER” be better in MATH. So, it is only appropriate for us to find print/Braille books for us to read to our child.
When I had my older children, there were very few selections available. The ones that I did have, I gave away to other parents and children. After all, what was the purpose of keeping them when other children could enjoy them?
This is where it gets tricky. There are Braille books for this specific purpose. They are called “twin vision” books. They have print, Braille and pictures. Some of them are board books and some are not.
You can read an interesting article about the start of these books at:
I can find them at many state libraries on loan. And I can buy them at the following places:
There are even some that have tactile pictures. These are even better for parent and child to enjoy. But, always wanting to be “global” in my approach, I was on the hunt for children’s books about Pakistan.
It started with my mother’s suggestion. I had given her first great grandchild, My nephew’s daughter, Lily, a couple of these twin-vision books. They had decided to “give” some of these books back to me. Actually, I hear that Lily has quite a collection of board books and my mother was going to give quite a few of them to me for the new baby. After all, she has graduated to more complicated books. She is now four years old – I think. Anyway, my mother said: “You can Braille these, just like you did the last ones.” But, I had not brailled “any” books myself. I don’t know where she got that idea. Yet, as I began to think about it, I realize that it certainly is possible. I could get some clear plastic labels that come uncut in a large sheet. I’d have to do some measuring to make sure that the Braille will fit. But, since there are few words on a page, I think that I can successfully make it work. I probably could not do this with “story books” that have more words on a page. That would probably require rebinding. But, I could probably handle books with a sentence or two on a page. It would be easy to just go out and buy tons of English written, American board books about almost any topic under the sun. Actually, I admit that most likely the bulk of our collection will be from American authors. However, I want to find a unique collection of world Titles. And, since our child is part Pakistani and since we are not living in Pakistan; thus, he/she will not have Pakistan types of experiences, I want to infuse a bit into our reading. And, I KNOW that there has to be some great Pakistani authors that write children’s books.
I admit that I don’t know urdu Braille. So, translating an Urdu board book is just out of my realm at the moment. But, if I could find some English books that talk about Pakistan, then I am in business. Hey, I might be able to do a “Body part” or “my first objects,” in both Urdu and English. Hmmm, now that is a thought! I’ll look into that one.
Now, it is not just about “Pakistan.” I find that there are many more African and Hispanic writers that write board books for children and I have thought of getting some of these, also. They would be good additions to our collection. Is it my imagination? It seems that there are many many more African writers than Asian writers; especially when it comes to young children’s books.
Annd, while looking for “Pakistani children’s literature,” I found:
“A boisterous Bedtime Read,” by Anitha Balachandra;
“Sumptuous Delights,” by Subhadra Sen Gupta;
“the old woman and the Eagle,” by Idries Shah;
“Two sides of a coin,” by Poile Sengupta;
“Real Winners in life,” by Ramendra Kumar;
“the Lion who saw himself in the Water,” by Idries Shah;
“Flying Dogs and school going monkeys,:” by Deepa Agarwal;
“Temper, Temper,” by Santhini Govindhan;
“Hamid Buys a Present,” by Munshi Premchand;
“the Magic Horse,” by Idries Shah;
“the Man with Bad Manners,” by Idries Shah;
“the Man and the Fox,” by Idries Shah;
Not that I am trying to be picky, here. But, most are more Indian/Hindi in nature. I think that India is the closest that we get to Pakistan.
I wonder if the following Titles are in English or English/Urdu translation.”
“chacha Chakkan,” by Imtiaz Ali;
“Piyari maa,” by Raza Ali;
“Teen Shehzadian,” by Hafizur Rehman;

I found that Idries Shah’s books are published on Hoopoe Books and I might just get some of these because there are CDs to go along with them which sound quite interesting. Although, I want to do most of the reading myself, we can listen to CD books together, also.
And, I might even donate to this wonderful organization, Hoopoe Books, which is trying to keep education in the forefront of children’s minds.
I’d love to hear any suggestions that you might have about children’s literature. Here are some questions for you.
What were your Baby’s first books? Which did you like the most? Did you find any rare books that you and your husband liked to read to your baby? Did your husband participate in the “reading,” also? Did you find books in Urdu and if so, could you read them to your baby?

Maira kwahish seekhna … maira safar samajna [My wish to learn … my journey to understand].

February 25, 2011

As a wife of a Muslim man,
I feel that I should be quite versed in the Quran.
(confession) I tried reading it once and did not get very far. I just could not understand most of it and was looking for the “practical application part.”
But, in order for me to help and encourage him to be an upstanding Muslim, I can’t take this faith journey lightly.
But, i am digressing… … (more on that later)

The same goes for his Pakistani heritage.
Most of the time, when we are at home, he speaks Urdu. He talks to family in Pindi, his sister in Illinois and his friend at Purdue — all in Urdu.
I will mention in passing that I am more than slightly annoyed that while he speaks Urdu at least three hours a day, regularly, his teaching moments are far less frequent, far less time intensive and are done with far less enthusiasm.
“Main sach say boolt rahi hoon.” “i am speaking the truth.”
It is essential that I learn – with or without his help.
I have already felt excluded from conversations on skype Yet, I feel too much like a millstone around the neck when I have to constantly request him to translate.
So, if “I” want things to be better, then, I need to continue to strive for such things: even if he is “bohat masroof, “Bohat Nidhal,” or ( just too lazy ) and enjoys speaking it much more than actually “teaching it.”

In order for me to tackle this task, I need to understand the challenges and where I have failed in the past.
One of the problems with learning urdu is that I have not found a good course. So, I take the best from all of them…. … or at least try.
But, no one writes Roman urdu the same. My screenreader can not read Urdu script and any literature must be read via computer. .
For example:
“Nila,” “Neela,” and “niila,” are all the same word.
“Phool,” “Phhoul,” or any combination of “ph” or “phh” preceeding “ul,” “ool” “oul” “uul” are used for the same word. And, to complicate things, because everyone uses their own spellings, my screen reader (which is speaking the urdu) reads the word differently.
I can get use to the mispronunciation, if it is a constant; such as “ahmed.” My screenreader always pronounces “Ahmed,” with the “a” found in “ALL,” not the “a” found in “AM.” But, since it always pronounces it this way, I can get used to it.Yet, if Flower in urdu is spelled tons of ways and thus, is pronounced a myriad of ways, then, I have a double problem on my hands.
I choose not to deal with it at this point. While I “do” write urdu for my own learning, I try to speak more than I write. So, this is why I must stick to conversation. Besides, it is highly unlikely that I will be reading much Urdu Braille.
Yet, lessons that focus on conversation seem to focus on memorizing phrases. And, that does not help me transfer many skills to expand my conversation.

SO: I am finding anyone that I can to help me learn. Ultimately, it would be nice to find an aging English teacher who can speak both urdu and English. Maybe I could find a circle of women who would take turns helping me speak the language. I need to find a variety of speaking partners. I don’t think that one partner can give me theconstant help that I need. I have tried finding “urdu teachers,” on various language learning sites. This, too has always failed. This was due to such factors as: time, skill, knowledge, my inflexibility with the written word, their patience and probably both of our people skills. I thought about taking an Urdu course, but the closest university that offers a course is 2hours away and I get off of work and get home by … (between 5:30—7:00). Remember, I don’t drive. I’m going to have to find unconventional ways to learn. Any suggestions?? Being desperate: I am making a flyer and going to try to post it in such places as “the Indian Center,” and a few Indian Grocery stores in the area.
But, I can only write Roman Urdu and can’t (don’t know how to) use my computer to make urdu script, nor do i know how to spell the words in Urdu script. I have thought about one of those translation software programs so that i can write in the Roman letters and they be translated to Urdu, or i could write in each English word and have it translated into Urdu script.
But, i’ll probably just hope someone can read roman Urdu.
***Corrections are seen as constructive criticism and are appreciated in advance!!

My dog knows Urdu

November 5, 2010

Imran and I have decided to walk after he gets home from work. this is partly because I need to walk and want him to walk with me. I want to be more healthy. and, part of this stems from the fact that he would like to see if he can run or walk the mini marathon in March. It is a new experience for him and I need as much exercise as I can get.
Besides, we talk while we walk.
I am usually in front with Fallbrook and he follows behind with his cane.

So, today, we were walking. Now, on these walks, I am picking up more Urdu.
“chalo Niklo.”
and our most recent favorite,
“chalo bhago!”
After some training, my dog, Fallbrook, now knows this phrase and when I say it, he speeds up.
So, not only am I learning Urdu, but my dog knows Urdu, also.
this is big points for Fallbrook in Imran’s book.
Especially after last night when we passed at least twenty snarling growling dogs. they all were on leashes and behind fences, but that didn’t make them less frightening. But, they sounded close and Imran announced after walking:
“I hate dogs!”
So, tonight was much better.
Hopefully we will be
“chalo bhago – ing” for quite some time.
I like starting new habits!

denied access

May 3, 2010

No, this post is not how my guide dog and I were denied access at a restaurant and made some type of scene before threatening to get the Civil Rights commission involved.
It is about the web!
Ok, have I said — “I’m unemployed?”
Anyway, I have always been a supporter of volunteering. In fact, until I made my big move on the first of March, I tried to volunteer wherever I could.
I feel that it is my responsibility:
both commanded by God to serve the community and
it does appeal to my social sensibilities.
Oh, wait, I have blogged about that before.
Now, I am in a larger city and it is taking me a while to become acclimated with public transportation.
So, volunteering is not readily accessible.
But, it seems that “nothing is.”
I continue to use my computer to make a positive contribution, however, it is getting more challenging.
I have been constantly looking for a language learning website.
I have blogged about this before, also and if I knew how, I would post the link
But, I am not technically savvy, yet.
Needless to say, the “learning language,” department is rarely accessible, either and the sites (for the most part) are filled with people who might have
honorable intentions, but little else.
So, I decided to try and learn Urdu, as well as critique the English exercises of others on livemocha. The site came highly recommended. .
Now, the
website is not very accessible. I can’t drag and drop, identify or click on the picture or “connect” anything.
I can, however, view or make flashcards. I can quiz myself on these flashcards. I can also make an attempt (all be it pathetic) to submit a writing exercise.
My computer is not new or fast enough for me to listen to and/or record speaking exercises. So, I content myself with reviewing written work and writing
my own.
that is until now!
Now Livemocha has decided that no reviewer can post a review to someone’s work unless they rate the work. I can’t find the rating buttons.
I have given many people constructive criticism on their work. But, now I can’t even do that because I can’t find the “rating button.” Sighted people can
push the “rating button,” and write a trite “Good job,” or “needs work.” But, my three lined critique (and you know how much I write, so three lines is
an under statement) is not accepted.
You get “Mocha points,” and a “teacher score,” for reviewing the work of others. Of course, none of these “points,” result in real “money — (what a shame) .” But, it was something that I could do. It was a way for me to use my native language to assist others. And, I would often give examples as well as my livemocha email
if they had further questions concerning the exercise.
No more!
That volunteering opportunity has gone down the tubes until either:
1. they make the website more accessible
2. I get a new computer.
And, did I mention that my Urdu learning has stopped as well?
Well, a big “thumbs down,” for Livemocha.
Businesses should employ disabled people to review their websites and give them a summary of their accessibility status. And, if ever a business or **anyone
wants to “update,” their site, they should employ a disabled person to advise them on the propper way to do this so that the disabled population (and,
when I say disabled, I mean someone who is using alternative software such as a screenreader and who can’t read the print on the screen) is not left out
in the dark — literally and not so literally.
Note: I don’t just say “Blind,” because there are those with dyslexia who also need the assistance of a screenreader, however, those who are dyslexic and actually need&use
a screenreader are far less in number than the blind population.

more Urdu: in prep for wedding

February 9, 2010

Ok, I am trying to learn Urdu.
Since I have dedicated myself to learning a bit, i had decided to write some marriage commitments.
These would be commitments that I would make to my soon-to-be spouse.
But, his family is not going to be there for the wedding. I want to include them as much as possible:
but, come on, only the wealthy can travel to Pakistan for weddings and while I am reading blogs of people who are doing just that: we won’t be any of them.
We just don’t have the money to do so.
So, I want to translate some of my commitments(actually, I wanted All, but the way I write and the length of my commitments — intro/14commitments/conclusion) into Urdu.
Here is what I have so far:
“Mayray hamsafar, mayray Mehboob,
Mein sab kay samnay jo khushi kay iss mokay par ikathay huay hein, aapni musarat aur muhabbat ka izhar kar rahi hoon”
For people who don’t speak Urdu:
It is basically:
“My beloved, my companion, I am both excited and honored to profess my love as witnessed by all who have gathered to share in our joy.”
1. “Mein Hamaysha tamari koshishon kee honsla afzai karoon gee, Hamaysha tumharay leeay behtar chahchoon gee, aur hamaysha tumhari kamyabion kar fakhar mehsoos karoon gee.”
” I will encourage you in your endeavors, always wanting the best for you and will exude with pride in your accomplishments.”
Ok, now is that a start or what?
ha, those few lines have not even scratched the surface. And, Urdu is much longer than English — in print and most definitely in braille.
And, now you know how I write. “encourage you in your endeavors… … Exude with pride….” I couldn’t keep it simple.
(blush blush)
I have my work cut out for me.
Imran says that he will translate bit by bit when he sees me progressing.
But, I think that he is doubtful.
I am actually a bit worried, but I choose to use this particular instance as a symbol of how I will react to future challenges.
I am going to practice on this until I can say it flawlessly and then continue.
No, I am not memorizing them.
But, I want to not stumble over the words and try to get the right inflection.
And: it is my wedding. If I want to stand for an hour reeling off my various vows and commitments, it should be my choice.
does that seem a bit selfish… … stubborn… … ? maybe.
But, I’ll only do it once. And, maybe, in a different frame of mind, I will relent.
Just not today (smile).

language learning on the net

January 17, 2010

I am still learning Urdu.
It is hard because Imran is only sometimes available and even though he speaks Urdu and English quite well, he still can’t explain “why” something is the way it is and how to help me remember it.
I do ask for his help, but have found that he should not be my main source of learning Urdu.
He does not have the time, patience or inclination.
While he applauds my efforts and results, he can’t be the one to teach me.
So, I have looked for a teacher.
Now, remember
1. my computer is slow
2. I live in a very small town (for the moment)
3. I have web accessibility issues
I have tried: (a waste of money — which I am embarrassed that I paid) [Gladly, Imran does not read my blog and I will never tell him of this horrid mistake]. (smile) (not a language learning site, but has many from different parts of the world)
and many others.
seems to be the most helpful.
I still have web accessibility issues and can not do many of the exercises.
But, I can create flashcards and then take tests on my flashcards.
I can also help others with their English.
Steadily, I am getting quite a number of people to ask me to help them with their English. They are not committed and most often want me to help them with business letters.
One guy even wanted me to write his entire paper (twice). I could not understand how on earth he was studying in the USA. He must have bribed someone to help him pass the toefl.
I am not kidding. I did help with one paper, but never again.
In any case, after reading
Gori Girl’s blogs on language and finding Live mocha,
I decided to renew my efforts.
So, I am making flashcards.
If anyone has any lessons or tips, I’d love to have them.
Oh, is another great website.
Someone did give me a wonderful Urdu/English dictionary and that is when I first noticed that
… … the letters were not in order.
I had to resist the urge to alphabetize it acording to the english alphabet. (smile)

You should check out Gori Girl’s blog about language. I concur, but don’t have the energy to A. reproduce it and B. summarize it. I have a journal entry on my computer about learning the language of your partner, but I will have to dig it out from somewhere.