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Lesson Transcript

Afrah: Assalam u Alaikum Urdupod101.com mein khush amdeed
Eric: Hi everyone! I’m Eric, and welcome back to Urdupod101.com. This is All About lesson 14, The Top Five Tips for Avoiding Common Mistakes in Urdu.
Afrah: Hi everyone, this is Afrah.
Eric: You’re in for a very useful lesson, because we’re here to give you some tips on how to avoid common mistakes made by learners of Urdu. But before we go on, remember that there’s nothing wrong with making mistakes.
Afrah: It’s how you learn!
Eric: But in this lesson, we’ll offer you some basic tips, so you’ll have a heads up if something goes wrong.
Afrah: If you’re aware of a few points, it will make your language learning experience so much easier. So Eric, what are we waiting for?

Lesson focus

Eric: Tip #1 is...
Afrah: Don’t attach Ji to your own name.
Eric: Remember that Ji is a polite suffix that you attach to other people’s names to show respect. Though it’s similar to Mr. or Mrs. in English, it’s ten times as awkward if you use it with your own name.
Afrah: Yeah. We also have jaan and some other words that are more formal but operate on similar principles.
Eric: But the most common is Ji. You can attach Ji to a first name or even a nickname.
Afrah: For example, somebody with the name Ahmed...
Eric: is called Mr. Ahmed in English.
Afrah: Yes, and in Urdu just attach Ji to the name. So it becomes Ahmed Ji.
Eric: This is a title of respect. So if you use it for yourself, it will sound very strange.
Afrah: So just remember to refer to yourself by using only your name.
Eric: Tip #2 is, watch your politeness level.
Afrah: Urdu has different politeness levels.
Eric: The one you choose depends on the age and the status of the speaker and the listener, and the relationship between the two.
Afrah: One thing that’s really important to remember is to speak politely to people who are older than you, or have a higher status than you.
Eric: The same with people you don’t know. An exception is if you’re talking to children. To everyone else you don’t know, you should speak formally.
Afrah: In general, people who study Urdu are taught formal language first, but those who learn mostly from friends or peers might only pick up informal language.
Eric: Right. So you just have to be very careful when making that switch between levels when it’s appropriate. I would say that when in doubt, speak formally. If the other person doesn’t think it's necessary, they’ll probably let you know, so it won’t be a problem.
Afrah: That’s a good piece of advice, Eric. So what do we have next?
Eric: Tip #3 is....
Afrah: Watch your gender.
Eric: So wait, Afrah, what kind of gender are we talking about? Because in Urdu, men and women use somewhat different language, right?
Afrah: Yeah that’s very true. And it’s a very interesting aspect of the Urdu language as well. Here we’re talking about male and female speech, not just grammar.
Eric: I think this is something that male non-native speakers have to be especially careful with. The majority of Urdu teachers are female and if those male non-native speakers are learning Urdu from a female friend or partner, they run the risk of sounding feminine if they start copying the speech patterns they hear.
Afrah: Something that might help is listening to a lot of different speaking styles in Urdu.
Eric: That’s right. Listen to Urdu spoken by all kinds of speakers, and eventually you’ll start to pick up on the differences between male and female speech.
Afrah: But there is something else I want to talk about now that we’re on the subject of gender. Not only do men and women speak differently, but whole sentences can change depending on the gender of the nouns used in the sentence.
Eric:The verbs and sometimes the adjectives might change depending on whether the other words in the sentence are masculine or feminine. So it’s important to be aware of the differences and be able to recognize them.
Afrah: Try to learn the gender of nouns every time you learn a new one.
Eric: Phew! That sounds like a lot of work.
Afrah: Yeah, but it will be all worth it when you speak in a natural way just like a native Urdu speaker, and studying gender can be quite fun too. Just don’t get bogged down doing it.
Eric: That’s good advice. It’s funny, but even if it sounds strange and foreign to some of our English speaking listeners, it starts to make sense quickly.
Afrah: Okay so what’s next?
Eric: Tip #4 is...
Afrah: Use the correct consonants. In Urdu, consonants play a big role in making sure words are spelled right. It is really necessary to put the right consonants with the word.
Eric: If you make a mistake, the meaning of the word can change.
Afrah: Yes. So be sure to use the right consonant.
Eric: Can you give us an example?
Afrah: Well, let’s look at two similar words (مین) mein, which means "In " vs. (میں) mai, which means "I". Just putting a dot in the center of the last Urdu letter changes the meaning of the word.
Eric: When you read or write these words, they look identical except for a single dot. Even one dot can make a huge difference!
Afrah: Exactly.
Eric: Can you hear the difference? It’s an important one.
Afrah: Okay Eric, what’s the last tip we have for our listeners?
Eric: Tip #5 is to watch out for similar sounding words.
Afrah: I guess this is like the last tip in some ways, but the focus here is on spoken language.
Eric: Now this could happen in any language. The difference might be just one syllable or something like that, and when you’ve just started and still have a small vocabulary, it becomes even easier to mix up words.
Afrah: That’s right.
Eric: What are some infamous examples?
Afrah: One example could be ghar versus kar.
Eric: These sound really similar. So what do they mean?
Afrah: ghar with gh means “a house” or “home” whereas kar with a ka means the verb “to do.”
Eric: So I guess you do have to be really careful with this one.
Afrah: Yeah that’s right. If you want to ask about doing something and use ghar, the result could end up being quite hilarious.
Eric: Yes, that sounds like it would cause a lot of confusion too.
Afrah: So when you want to ask somebody to do something, you should use kar.
Eric: How about another example?
Afrah: Well another one is aam versus aam.
Eric: What do they mean?
Afrah: The first aam means “mango” and the second means “common.”
Eric: Yikes! So be careful when hearing or saying these words.
Afrah: Yeah, even though the aam aam can be quite delicious.
Eric: (laughs) Listeners, be sure to check the lesson notes to see the difference in how these are written down too. Okay, let’s go over our top five tips for avoiding common mistakes in Urdu one more time.
Afrah: The first one is, don’t attach ji to your own name.
Eric: Second, Watch your politeness level. When in doubt, speak formally. Third, watch your gender.
Afrah: Fourth, use the correct airaab and fifth, watch out for similar sounding words.
Eric: And last but not least, keep these tips in mind and your Urdu learning experience will be a lot easier.
Afrah: And you’ll be on the right track.


Eric: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time!
Afrah: phr milenge.