The Best Way to Learn Urdu
- Language exchange is, according to the Wall Street Journal, "is one of the best ways to learn a foreign language." A language exchange is where native speakers of different languages meet via the phone or internet and have conversations in order to help each other expand their language skills. For a language like Urdu, it is one of the very few ways, short of traveling to Pakistan, for a non-native to get to hear and speak the language as spoken by a native speaker. First you pick up the fundamentals from a tape or program, learning basic pronunciation, vocabulary, phrases and grammar. Watching Urdu films with subtitles and listening to Urdu music also can help with getting the sounds and pronunciation down.
Once you get to an intermediate level--where you can string sentences and thoughts together--a language exchange will help you hone your skills. You can find all the information you need to start an exchange online. To form an exchange, you need two or four people, half of which are native Urdu speakers and the other half are English speakers. You split the exchange time in half; first speaking only in one language and then speaking only in the other. This gives both teams the chance to practice the language they are trying to master. Since this is done as a set of conversations, everyone in the exchange gets to hear the language they are learning as it is spoken by natives, complete with common phrases and slang that would not be learned in a typical classroom or on a tape. You also can communicate online in order to practice written skills.
Sites like mylanguageexchange.com can help you find Urdu exchange partners, as well as lesson plans, guidelines and tips. These will assist you in setting up your exchange and give you the guidance necessary to make it effective and enjoyable for everyone involved. They also can help make everyone more comfortable with each other and the process. You will have the opportunity to also learn about the culture that native Urdu speakers live in, which gives the language a context that aids in understanding how the language is used and spoken.