Ralph Russell

This course meets the needs of British people who come into constant contact with speakers of Urdu and Hindi and want to be able to communicate with them adequately. It is not intended for visitors to South Asia, but for teaching the language required for use in Britain. Urdu and Hindi are two forms of the most widely used language of South Asia. The literature of these two forms is very different, but at the everyday spoken level, they are almost identical. The book provides for 35-40 hours of class teaching, and covers the basic structures of the language. The primary emphasis is on imparting fluency in speaking and understanding. For this reason a Roman transcription is used, making it unnecessary at this stage to learn the Urdu (or the Hindi) script.

A New Course in Urdu and Spoken Hindi for Learners in Britain
The course, originally published in 1980-1982 under the title A New Course in Hindustani, comprises four parts.

Part I covers all the basic structures of the language, using a limited everyday vocabulary which may equally well be called Urdu and Hindi. (Where spoken Hindi usage differs from that of Urdu, Hindi equivalents are given). This Part of the course, now in a second, completely revised edition, is designed for some 35 to 40 hours of class teaching. The primary emphasis is on imparting fluency in speaking and understanding, and a consistent Roman transcription is used which makes it unnecessary at this stage to learn the Urdu (or the Hindi) script, though Part IV, which teaches the Urdu script (see below) is designed in such a way that those who wish to learn to read and write Urdu at the same time as learning to speak can do so.

Part II, An outline of grammar and common usage, and Part III, Rapid Readings, are designed to be used together. Part III contains about 12,500 words of material for rapid reading on everyday themes. Each piece is followed by notes and vocabulary, given in the order in which the words occur in the passage, and the aim is to extend considerably the range of vocabulary of the student who has mastered Part I and to familiarize him/her with the remaining common structures of the language. Part II is a systematic setting out of these structures. The most common of them are illustrated by numerous examples, almost all of which are taken, with cross references, from the passages in Part III.

These two parts should, therefore, normally be used together with Part III as the basic text, and Part II providing back-up.

Part IV, The Urdu Script. For those students who can give the necessary time, it is desirable to learn to read and write in parallel with learning to understand and speak the language, and Part IV teaches you to read and write words and sentences in much the same order in which you meet them in Part I. The traditional method of presenting the whole alphabet, set out in alphabetical order, and giving full range of detached, initial, medial and final forms, has not been followed. You learn the letters as you need them, and in the forms you need at the point at which you first encounter them, until the whole range of letters and forms has been covered; and a systematic statement is then given. You are also given throughout much more detailed guidance on how to write the script than other courses provide.

Published by School of Oriental and African Studies
Part I: (1st published 1966, frequent reprints) ISBN 0-7286-0131-1
Part II: (1st published 1981) ISBN 0-7286-0085-4
Part III: (1st published 1981) ISBN 0-7286-0086-2
Part IV: (1st published 1982) ISBN 0-7286-0093-5
Teacherís Guide to Part I, by Alison Shaw (1991) ISBN 0-7286-0170-2

Order from Publications Officer, SOAS

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