Rosetta Stone Language Software

Itty Bitty Thai Course

Introduction to Thai

Before you begin, there are a few things you should know.

1. Thai is actually written in a beautiful, intriguing and to Western eyes seemingly indecipherable syllabary. What you see here is a hodgepodge of the transliteration systems used in several guides.

2. Thai is a tonal language. The tones are as follows:

Low tone – à
High tone – á
Lilt up – â
Lilt down – ă

Absence of an accent means the tone is flat. Getting this right for a beginner is rough and you have to hear it for it to make sense. It’s good to come up with your own convention for keeping things straight in your own mind so you can adapt the system once you’ve actually heard Thai spoken.


Rosetta Stone Thai Level I



3. Thai has two consonants we lack in English. We’ve followed the easiest typographical convention for these two sounds:

bp is halfway between a “b” and a “p”
dt is halfway between a “d” and a “t”

Think of these two phrases: “Rob Peter to pay Paul.” “He spun the red top.” Say them fast and then try to approximate the sounds in bold. Again, you may have to hear it.

4. Thai grammar is so simple that it’s bizarrely complex. Some things will go together in a way that makes you say, “Hey, that was easy!” Others will have you going, “What was that all about?” Try to stick to the constructions in the stock phrases I’ve given. In lessons two and four in particular I’ve tried to show how things go together to help you along.

5. Thai is a language with multiple levels of politeness and nuance that cannot be taught here. What can be taught is the importance of kráp and . The first is used for talking to males, the second for females. Tack them liberally onto phrases like please, thank you, how are you, please write it and anything else that feels like a request or a chance to make a good impression.

6. Thai is a language of which I know a very few structures and phrases. The information here is patched together from various sources and should open some doors. Some of the phrases are not quite right but have been reworked to be easier to learn vis-à-vis the other material. In short, this is not a comprehensive guide, just a little primer to get you started. Constructive criticism for making the learning easier and helping avoid misunderstandings would be appreciated. kŏr, e-mail languages-at-gbarto.com if you've got something to add.

Thai Lesson Four - A Few More Basics

Hello – sàwàt dee
Goodbye – lah gòrn
Excuse me – kŏr tôht

Please – kŏr
Thank you – kórp kun
You’re welcome – mâi bpen rai

How are you? – sàbai dee măi?
Fine – sàbai dee
Sir/Ma’am – kráp/kâ

What is this? – nêe arai?
I like (it) – chôrp
I don’t like (it) – mâi chôrp

How much is it? – tâo rài?
Could you write it? – kĕe-an long hâi dâi măi?
Credit card – kraydìt

Restroom – hôrng nâhm
Left/right – sài/kwăh
Straight ahead – dtrong

I want… - ao…
A room – hôrng
I want a room – ao hôrng

Thai Lesson Three - More Basics

Hello – sàwàt dee
Goodbye – lah gòrn
Excuse me – kŏr tôht

Please – kŏr
Thank you – kórp kun
You’re welcome – mâi bpen rai

How are you? – sàbai dee măi?
Fine – sàbai dee
Sir/Ma’am – kráp/kâ

You/your – kun
Name – chêu
What’s your name? – kun chêu àrai?

I/my – pŏm for a man, dìchăn for a woman
My name is… - pŏm chêu… for a man, dìchăn chêu… for a woman
Pleased to meet you – yindee têe dâi róo jàk

Do you understand? – kun kôw jai măi?
I understand – (pŏm/dìchăn) kôw jai
I don’t understand – mâi kôw jai

Could you…? – … dâi măi?
Write – kĕe-an
Could you write it? - kĕe-an long hâi dâi măi?

Thai Lesson Two - Basics and Building Blocks

Hello – sàwàt dee
Goodbye – lah gorn
Excuse me – kŏr tôht

Please – kŏr
Thank you – kòrp kun
You’re welcome – mâi bpen rai

Car – rót
Bus – rót may
Train – rót fai

Station – sàtăhnee
Bus station – sàtăhnee rót may
Train station – sàtăhnee rót fai

Ambulance – rót páyahbahn
Hospital – rhong páyahbahn
Hotel – rhong ram

Night – keun
Overnight – ram keun
Hotel – rhong ram

How are you? – sàbai dee măi?
Fine – sàbai dee
Sir/Ma’am – kráp/kâ

Thai Lesson One - Basics

Hello – sàwatdee
Goodbye – lah gòrn
Excuse me – kŏr tôht

I’m sorry – kŏr tôht
How are you? – sàbai dee măi?
Fine – sàbai dee

Please – kŏr
Thank you – kòrp kun
You’re welcome – mâi bpen rai

Where is…? – … yòo têe-năi?
Bus staion – sàtăhnee rót may
Where is the bus station? – sàtănee rót may yòo têe-năi?

Train station – sàtăhnee rót fai
Airport – sànăhm bin
Market – dtàlàht

Restaurant – ráhn ah-hăhn
Hotel – rhong ram
Where’s the hotel? – rhong ram yòo têe-năi?

Police – dtum ròo-ut
Ambulance – rót páyahbahn
Doctor – mŏr

Itty Bitty Arabic Course

Here are the contents for the Itty Bitty Arabic Course:

Introduction to Arabic

Lesson One - Basics

Lesson Two - More Basics

Lesson Three - Still More Basics

Lesson Four - A Few More Basics

Lesson Five - Nouns

An Alternative Approach to Lesson One

This little program introduces some Arabic phrases (greetings, please and thank you) and one grammatical construct (Where is...?). To use it, click the button below and just watch until it's cycled through a few times. Come back in a few hours (or a day) and do it again until you feel comfortable that the associations are there. Then have a look at the Itty Bitty Course to learn some more.

Close the window when you are done.

Note: This little routine uses CSS with DHTML and javascript. It is browser dependent. It functions on Internet Explorer, but other browsers may not display text correctly or at all.

Introduction to Arabic

Arabic is not an inherently difficult language, but it works very differently from English. Here are a few things you might want to know before starting.

1. Arabic is a consonantal root language. That means that the consonants carry the main meaning, the vowels (as well as prefixes and suffixes) modify it:
aKTaB - I write
KiTaaB - book (written thing)
maKTaB - desk (written on)
KaaTiB - writer
As you can see, all the words have K-T-B in them, but the vowels, suffixes and prefixes change.

2. For simple sentences with active verbs, English word order should be understandable, though it won't necessarily be what you hear others using. However, Arabic also has - and makes much use of - nominal sentences where in English we say "to be." For example, where we say:
John is an engineer...
They say:
Juun, huwa muhandis -
John, he engineer.

I am happy...
They say:
ana mabsuut -
I happy.

The construction may seem a bit odd to English ears, but it will come quickly enough.

Rosetta Stone Arabic Level I


3. Arabic has gender – and number. Some words are masculine, some are feminine. In sentences like those above, you need to make adjectives agree with their nouns for masculine vs. feminine and singular vs. plural. There are complicated rules for forming the feminine in some cases, for forming the plural in most. To get by, stick an “a” on adjectives if the noun ends in “a” (just one “a,” not two). The big thing to pay attention to here is the set phrases I’ve given. If an entry has a slash (faDl-ak/-ik) or parentheses (mabsuut(a), for example), the second possibility is feminine. Use the feminine version if you’re talking to a woman and the entry has an “*”. Use the feminine version if there’s no star and you are a woman.

4. The hardest bit for Arabic will be the pronunciation. For simplicity’s sake, this course eschews perfect, or even close to perfect, pronunciation. The use of this guide is simple: pronounce the capitalized letters with extra emphasis. You won’t make quite the right sound, but you’ll come up with something close enough to be differentiated. And where there’s an apostrophe (’), choke your voice for half a second, like the middle non-sound in “uh-oh.” The “q” is like a “k,” only in the back of your throat. Imagine saying “could” while gargling – the sound at the start will be close. Finally, where a vowel is doubled, say it twice as long.

Arabic Lesson Five - Nouns

Water - maa'
Meat - laHm
Bread - khubz

Coffee - qahwa
Tea - shaay
Milk - Haliib

Room - Hujra
Bed - sariir
Bathroom - Hammaam

Table - maa'ida
Chair - kursii
Desk - maktab

Person - shakhS
Place - makaan
Thing - shay'

House - daar
Car - sayyara
City - madiina

Cat - qiTTa
Dog - kalb
Friend - Sadiiq

Arabic Lesson Four - A Few More Basics

Hello - as-salaamu alaykum
Goodbye - Allah isallim-ak/ik*
Excuse me - law samaHt

I am American - ana amriikaniy(a)
I am British - ana briitaaniy(a)
How much is it? - bikam da?

Please write it - mumkin tiktib(i)*
Thank you - shukran
Credit card - kredit kard

I like it - 'agibni
I don't like it - mish 'agibni
Good - Hasan

Come - ta'aal-a/-i*
Look - buSSa/buSSi
Stop - u'af / u'aftii

I don't understand - mish fahiim/fahma
I'm sorry - aasif/aasfa
Where's the hotel? - ain funduq?

I want... - uriid
Just a minute - intaZiir qaliilan
Check, please - al-Hisaab, min faDl-ak/-ik*

Arabic Lesson Three - Still More Basics

Hello - as-salaamu alaykum
How are you? - izzay-ak/-ik?*
Fine - kwayiis(a)

Are you happy? - inta mabsuuT(a)?*
I am happy - ana mabsuuT(a)
I am not happy - ana mish mabsuuT(a)*

Are you sad? - inta Haziin(a)?*
I am sad - ana Haziin(a)
I am not sad - ana mish Haziin(a)*

Are you tired? - inta ta'baan(a)?*
I am tired - ana ta'baan(a)
I am not tired - ana mish ta'baan(a)*

One, two, three - waaHid, ithnayn, thalaatha
Four, five, six - arba'a, khamsa, sitta
Seven, eight, nine - sab'a, thamaanya, tis'a

Zero - Sifr
Ten, eleven, twelve - 'ashara, Hidaashar, itnaashar
Left, right - yasaar, yamiim

Straight ahead - 'ala Tuul
Fast, slow - sarii', baTii'
Here - hunaa

Arabic Lesson Two - More Basics

Hello - as-salaamu alaykum
Goodbye - Allah isallim-ak/-ik*
Excuse me - law sa-maHt

Please - min faDl-ak/-ik*
Thank you - shukran
You're welcome - 'afwan

Do you understand? - faahim/fahma?
I understand - faahim/fahma
I don’t understand – ana mish faahim/fahma

What's this? - ey da?
What's your name? ism-ak/-ik?*
My name is... - ismi...

Are you happy? - inta mabsuuT(a)?*
I am happy - ana mabsuuT(a)
You are happy - inta mabsuuT(a)*

Are you sad? - inta Haziin(a)?*
I am sad - ana Haziin(a)
You are sad - inta Haziin(a)*

Are you tired? - inta ta'baan(a)?*
I am tired - ana ta'baan(a)
You are tired - inta ta'baan(a)*

Arabic Lesson One - Basics

Hello - as-salaamu alaykum
Goodbye - Allah isallim-ak/-ik*
Excuse me - law sa-maHt

I'm sorry - aasif/aasfa
How are you? - izzayy-ak/-ik?*
I'm fine - kwayiis(a)

Please - min faDl-ak/-ik*
Thank you - shukran
You're welcome - 'afwan

Where is...? - ain...?
Bus station - maHaTTa baaSaat
Where is the bus station? - ain maHaTTa baaSaat?

Airport - maTaar
Market - suuq
Train station - maHaTTa qiTaar

Restaurant - maT'am
Hotel - funduq
Where is the hotel? - ain funduq?

Police - buliis
Ambulance - sayaara al-is'ef
Doctor - Tabiib

Note: Arabic has gender. When two possibilities are given, the first is masculine, the second feminine. If marked with an *, the phrase changes for the person spoken to. Otherwise, it changes according to the person speaking.

Itty Bitty Dari Course

Dari Lesson Five - Nouns

Water – áb
Meat – gósht
Bread – nán

Coffee – qahwa
Tea – cháy
Milk – shir

Room – otáq
Bed – takhte-khab
(With) bathroom – (bá) hamám

Table – meyz
Chair – chawki
Desk – meyz

Person – ádam
Place – já
Thing – chis

House – khana
Car – mótar
City – shár

Cat – peshak
Dog – sag
Friend – dóst

Dari Lesson Four - A Few More Basics

Hello – salám
Goodbye – khoda hafez
Excuse me – meybakhsheyd

I am American – man amrikáyi hastam
I am British – man británáyi hastam
How much is it? – cheqadar ast?

Please write it – meytawáneyd bonawiseyd
Thank you – tashakor
Credit card – kredet kárt

I like it – in rá khosh dáram
I don’t like it – in rá khosh nadáram
Good – khub

Come – beyá’id
Look – negáh konid
Stop – aystad konid

I don’t understand – man nafahmidam
I’m sorry – meybaksheyd
Where is the hotel? – hótel kojást?

I’d like… – man … meykháham
Just a minute – lotfan saber konid
Check, please – man bel meykháhom

Dari Lesson Three - Still More Basics

Hello – salám
How are you? – háletun chetor e?
(I’m) fine – khub (astam)

Are you happy? – shomá khosh hál asteyd?
I am happy – man khosh hál astam
I am not happy – man khosh hál neystam

Are you sad? – shomá ghamgin asteyd?
I am sad – man ghamgin astam
I am not sad – man ghamgin neystam

Are you tired? – shomá khasta hasteyd?
I am tired – man khasta hastam
I am not tired – man khasta neystam

One, two, three – yak, do, sey
Four, five, six – chár, panj, shesh
Seven, eight, nine – haft, hasht, noh

Zero – sefer
Ten, eleven, twelve – da, yázda, dwázda
Left, right – chap, rást

Straight ahead – mostaqim
Fast, slow – tez, áhesta
Here – inja

Dari Lesson Two

Hello – salám
Goodbye – khoda hafez
Excuse me – meybakhsheyd

Please – Lutfan
Thank you – Tashakor
You’re welcome – Heych moshkele neyst

Do you understand? – shomá fahmideyd?
I understand – man fahmidam
I don’t understand – man nafahmidam

What is this? – án chist?
What’s your name? – náme shomá chist?
My name is… - náme man … ast

Are you happy? – shomá khosh hál asteyd?
I am happy – man khosh hál astam
You are happy – shomá khosh hál asteyd

Are you sad? – shomá ghamgin asteyd?
I am sad – man ghamgin astam
You are sad – shomá ghamgin asteyd

Are you tired? – shomá khasta hasteyd?
I am tired – man khasta hastam
You are tired shomá khasta hasteyd

Dari Lesson One - Basics

Hello – salám
Goodbye – khoda hafez
Excuse me – meybakhsheyd

I’m sorry – meybakhsheyd
How are you? – háletun chetor e?
(I’m) fine – khub (astam)

Please – Lutfan
Thank you – Tashakor
You’re welcome – Heych moshkele neyst

Where is…? – … kojást?
Bus station – estádgáhe bas
Where is the bus station? – estádgáhe bas kojást?

Airport – maydáne hawáyi
Market – bazar
Train station – estéyshan

Restaurant – resturán
Hotel – hótel
Where is the hotel? – hótel kojást?

Police – pólis
Ambulance – ambuláns
Doctor – dáktar

Introduction to Dari

Before beginning the Itty Bitty Dari course, there are a few things you should know.

1. Dari is for all intents and purposes, the dialect of Persian spoken in Afghanistan. Once you know it, you not only know Dari. You can speak Persian with a funny accent!

2. Long vowels are indicated by the grave accent (á, é, ó) in these lessons. Otherwise, the spelling conventions largely follow those of Awde’s Dari Dictionary and Phrasebook. Where Dari resources (books and websites) did not seem to contain what I was looking for, I have tried to convert standard Persian for a Dari accent. The resultant phrases may not be strictly correct but should be understandable.

3. Dari and Persian are written with the Arabic script, which a) doesn’t render vowels clearly and b) joins short words to longer ones sometimes. Most of the time, if a word is joined to another in writing, I have written it as one word here. Note, by the way, that in the “Are you happy?” sections in Lessons Two and Three, I have given the full form for the verb “to be,” rather than available shortened forms. This should make the learning easier though your speech may be a touch stilted or overemphatic as a result.

4. Dari vocabulary has multiple sources, ranging from Old Persian (of which it is a descendant) to the Turkic languages to Arabic. For example, the words for “Please” (lutfan) and “Thank you” (tashakor) are Turkish (though the latter is probably indirectly from the Arabic “shukran”). The words for “Hello” (salám = peace) and “straight ahead” (mostaqim) are straight from Arabic, the latter being the word used to define the straight and narrow path of the virtuous Muslim in the opening book of the Koran.

Itty Bitty Pashto Course

Pashto Lesson Five - Nouns

Water – obë
Meat – ghwásha
Bread – mäRey

Coffee – káfi
Tea – cháy
Milk – shide

Room – kota
Bed – kaT
Bathroom – tashnáb

Table – mez
Chair – chawkëy
Desk – mez

Person – shakhs
Place – dzáy
Thing – shay

House – kor
Car – moTar
City – shár

Cat – pisho
Dog – spay
Friend – dost

Pashto Lesson Four - A Few More Basics

Hello – salám
Goodbye – khudáy pë ámán
Excuse me – wabakhSHa

I am American – zë dë Amrika yam
I am British – zë dë Bartániya yam
How much is it? – dá pë tsa di?

Please write it – keday shi dá wëlikëy
Thank you – tashakor
Credit card – krediT kárt

I like it – dá me khwaSH day
I don’t like it – dá me në khwaSH eZHi
Good – SHë

Come – rásha
Look – kash
Stop – dresh

I don’t understand – zë në poheZHam
I’m sorry – bakhSHena
Where is the hotel? – huTal cheri da?

I want… – …ghwáRëm
Just a minute – lëZH sabër wëkRa
Check, please – lutfan, bel ráwRëy

Pashto Lesson Three - Still More Basics

Hello – salám
How are you? – tá tsënga yëy?
Fine – SHë

Are you happy? – táse khwaSH yëy?
I am happy – zë khwaSH yëm
I am not happy – zë khwaSH në yëm

Are you sad? – táse nákhwaSH yëy?
I am sad – zë nákhwaSH yëm
I am not sad – zë nákhwaSH në yëm

Are you tired? – táse staRay yëy?
I am tired – zë staRay yëm
I am not tired – zë staRay në yëm

One, two, three – yaw, dwa, dre
Four, five, six – tsalar, pindze, spaZH
Seven, eight, nine – owë, atë, nahë

Zero – sifar
Ten, eleven, twelve – las, yiwolës, dolës
Left, right – chap, Shay

Straight ahead – negh
Fast, slow – tez, wro
Here – dalta

Pashto Lesson Two - More Basics

Hello – salám
Goodbye – khudáy pë ámán
Excuse me – wabakSHa

Please – lutfan
Thank you – tashakor
You’re welcome – parwá na lari

Do you understand? – poheZHe?
I understand – poheZHam
I don’t understand – në poheZHam

What is this? – dá tsë shay day?
What’s your name? – stá num tsë day?
I am… - zmánum … day

Are you happy? – táse khwaSH yëy?
I am happy – zë khwaSH yëm
You are happy – táse khwaSH yëy

Are you sad? – táse nákhwaSH yëy?
I am sad – zë nákhwaSH yëm
You are sad – táse nákhwaSH yëy

Are you tired? – táse staRay yëy?
I am tired – zë staRay yëm
You are tired – táse staRay yëy

Pashto Lesson One - Basics

Hello – salám
Goodbye – khudáy pë ámán!
Excuse me – wabakhSHa

I’m sorry – bakhSHëna
How are you? – tá tsënga yëy?
Fine – SHë

Please – lutfan
Thank you – tashakor
You’re welcome – parwá na lari

Where is…? – …cheri da?
Bus station – dë basano haDa
Where is the bus station? – dë basano haDa cheri da?

Airport – hawáyi-Dagar
Market – bázár
Train station – dë orgádi steshan

Restaurant – rasturán
Hotel – huTal
Where is the hotel? – huTal cheri da?

Police – polis
Ambulance – ambuláns
Doctor – dáktar

Introduction to Pashto

Before beginning the Itty Bitty Pashto Course, there are a few things you should know.

1. Pashto is written with a Persio-Arabic script. The English transliterations here are a mishmash of Rudelson’s in the Lonely Planet Central Asian Phrasebook, Awde’s in the Pashto Dictionary and Phrasebook and my own based on my own way of taking notes from Arabic script. Apologies are offered for any confusion. The main thing you need to know is to really emphasize consonants that are capitalized. While this won’t lead, strictly speaking, to the proper retroflex consonants (which is what they represent), it should approximate them acceptably.

2. Pashto is from the same source as Persian and has a lot of vocabulary in common with it. Ironically, a lot of that vocabulary is Turkish, including the words for “Please” and “Thank you.” There’s also a fair amount of Arabic vocabulary, including the word for “Hello.” (The word for “Thank you,” though Turkish, is probably also ultimately Arabic, derived from “shukran”.)
3. There are one or two grammatical points that may make the Pashto here make more sense. First of all, “dë” in front of a word means it’s possessive: “dë basano haDa” means “of the bus – station,” i.e. “the bus’s station.” “ná/në” mean “un/not” so: “zë khwaSH në yëm” = “I happy not am” while “zë nákhwaSH yëm” = “I not-happy (unhappy) am.”

Itty Bitty Urdu Course

Urdu Lesson Five - Nouns

Water - pânî
Meat - gosht
Bread - rotî

Coffee - kâfî
Tea - câ'e
(With) milk - dûdh (kî)

Room - kamrâ
Bed - bistar
Bathroom - Gusal-xânâ

Table - mez
Chair - kursî
Desk - desk

Person - shaxs
Place - jagâ
Thing - cîz

House - ghar
Car - car
City - shehar

Cat - billî
Dog - kuttâ
Friend - dost

Urdu Lesson Four - A Few More Basics

Hello - as-salâmu alaikum
Goodbye - xudâ hâfiz
Excuse me - mâf karye

I am American - maiN amrîkî hûN
I am British - maiN Bratânvî hûN
How much is it? - ye kitne kâ hai?

Please write it - âp likh sakte haiN?
Thank you - shukriya
Credit card - credit card

I like it - mujhe ye pasand hai
I don't like it - mujhe ye pasand nahîN
Good - achcha

Come - aye
Look - dekhye
Stop - rukye

I don't understand - maiN nahkîN samajhtâ/î hûN
I'm sorry - mâf karye
Where is the hotel? - hotel kahân hai?

I want... - mujhe... câhîye
Just a minute - intizar karye
Check, please - mujhe hisâb câhiye

Urdu Lesson Three - Still More Basics

Hello - as-salâmu alaikum
How are you? - âp kaise haiN?
Fine - thîk

Are you happy? - âp kush haiN?
I am happy - maiN kush hûN
I am not happy - maiN nahîN kush hûN

Are you sad? - âp zade haiN?
I am sad - maiN zadâ/î hûN
I am not sad - maiN nahîin

Are you tired? - âp thake haiN?
I am tired - maiN thakâ/î hûN
I am not tired - maiN nahîN thakâ/î hûN

One, two, three - ek, do, tîn
Four, five, six - câr, pânc, che
Seven, eight, nine - sât, âth, no

Zero - sifar
Ten, eleven, twelve - das, giyâra, bâra
Left, right - bâyâN, dâyâN

Straight ahead - sîdhe
Fast, slow - tezîse, dhîre
Here - yahâN

Urdu Lesson Two - More Basics

Hello - as-salâmu alaikum
Goodbye - xudâ hâfiz
Excuse me - mâf karye

Please - meharbâni karke
Thank you - shukriya
You're welcome - koi bât nahîN

Do you understand? - âp smajhte haiN?
I understand - maiN samajhtâ/î hûN
I don't understand - maiN nahîN samajhtâ/î hûN

What is this? - ye kiyâ hai?
What's your name? - Ism-e sharîf?
I am... - mujhe ... kahte haiN

Are you happy? - âp kush haiN?
I am happy - maiN kush hûN
You are happy - âp kush haiN

Are you sad? - âp zade haiN?
I am sad - maiN zada
You are sad - âp zade haiN

Are you tired? - âp thake haiN?
I am tired - maiN thakâ/î hûN
You are tired - âp thake haiN

Urdu Lesson One - Basics

Hello - as-salâmu alaikum
Goodbye - xudâ hâfiz
Excuse me - mâf karye

I'm sorry - mâf karye
How are you? - âp kaise haiN
Fine - Thîk

Please - meharbâni karke
Thank you - shukriya
You're welcome - koi bât nahîN

Where is...? - ... kahâN hai?
Bus station - bas aDDâ
Where is the bus station? - bas aDDâ kahân hai?

Airport - havâi aDDâ
Market - bazâr
Train station - isTeshan

Restaurant - restaurant
Hotel - hotel
Where is the hotel - hotel kahân hai?

Police - police
Ambulance - ambulance
Doctor - Dâktar

Introduction to Urdu

Before beginning the Itty Bitty Urdu course, there are a few things you should know.

1. The Urdu given here is not 100% accurate in terms of spelling or grammar. Rather, an effort has been made to give simple patterns that will get the job done in getting your meaning across in a way you can pronounce and remember with a minimum of trouble.

2. Urdu is from the same source as Hindi, but with a lot of Persian and Arabic vocabulary mixed in, as it is spoken in the Muslim areas of the Subcontinent. On the plus side, the British have given it a fair number of English words.

3. Urdu has gender. Simple rules:
If the masculine form ends in -â, it changes to -î in the feminine and -e in the plural. Otherwise, leave it alone. There's more to it, of course, but this will get you through.

4. Some common verb forms consist of a form of the verb that changes for masculine, feminine and plural (like an adjective) followed by the verb to be. For example, to talk about understandig, you use "samajhtâ" followed by "to be". So:
maiN samajhtâ hûN - I understand - for a man
maiN samajhtî hûN - I understand - for a woman
ham samajthe haiN - we understand - for plural

5. The polite form in Urdu is to use the plural for "you". This means that when you use an adjective or a verb form that acts like an adjective, you will need to change the masculine singular ending -â to -e when addressing someone.

Itty Bitty Uzbek Course

Itty Bitty Turkish Course

Getting More from the Itty Bitty Courses

The Itty Bitty Courses are designed to teach a little bit in a little bit of time. They are not intended to be in depth. But… if you want to learn the information we’ve packed into these courses really well, there are a few things you can do to enhance your learning.

1) Really follow the suggestions about music. People tend to get really nervous when they think about speaking a foreign language and you need your mind to be calm.

2) Make flashcards – seven per lesson, one for each grouping of three. Shuffle through them when you get spare moments throughout the day. Once you’re done with the course, go through all thirty-five cards, eliminating those you always get right until you run out of flashcards. Repeat.

3) Imagine using your language in everyday situations. How, given your limited vocabulary, would you get your point across at the grocery store or the bank. (Hint: “Please, this” – “Thank you” and “Where is the bathroom?” – “Thank you” don’t make for sophisticated conversation, but they get the job done without offending.)

4) Make your own tapes/CDs: record yourself reading a lesson over some soft classical. Then play the day’s lesson right before you go to bed. Listen to it a couple times instead of watching a rerun on television.

5) Use these ideas and any you come up with on your own in small but frequent bits of time, not over one extended period of time. Let the language seep into your mind off and on throughout the day so it becomes a part of you. Note that long, intense study sessions are usually less useful: If you study for ten minutes, five times a day, your language will become something you live with. If you study for two hours in one block, it will become something you did, then put away.

Using the Itty Bitty Courses

These courses are designed to teach you little snippets of language in a way that the brain can absorb it. Be sure to follow the directions, particularly about getting relaxed and spacing your learning. If you just read all five lessons while packing, you're not going to remember much.

1. Put on some light, slow music. Without words. A largo from a piece by Vivaldi or Bach. Something understated by Brahms, or something that stumbles along like Satie's Gymnopedies. You need to get your brain slowed down enough to let things sink in.

2. Do a stretch or two. Close your eyes a few seconds and picture a wheat field. In short, relax. You can't think about language if you're still thinking about the office or the kids.

3. Sit with your back flat against the back of your chair. Then let your shoulders drop, so you don't mistake sitting up straight with making your body tense.

4. Look at the first lesson. You're going to read it out loud so that your mouth can get used to the idea of saying these things and your ear to the idea of hearing you say them. Take a deep breath and exhale to let go of the nervousness about speaking a foreign language. Laugh at yourself a moment if it helps.

5. Read the first block of three. Read the English in a soft monotone - "You are getting very sleepy..." Read the foreign language the way you'd say the phrase in English. This will build the association in your mind while making the new language feel more natural. Vary your tone a little - try to say at least one of the phrases emphatically: Please. - Thank you. - You're welcome

6. Keep reading till you finish the seventh block. Then repeat.

7. Skim down the lesson. Does everything look familiar? If yes, continue. If no, read the items that are still troubling you with emphasis.

8. Listen to the music two or three more minutes. Try to imagine yourself saying a snippet of dialogue. Say "Please" and "Thank you" or "How are you?" without looking at the screen.

9. Print the page and take it with you to glance at when you don't have anything better to do.

10. Do something else for between an hour and a day. You need to give each lesson time to sink in - but not too much.

11. Skim the lesson you did earlier. Does everything look familiar? If so, try the next lesson. If not, reread it once before doing the next one.

12. When you've completed all the lessons, skim through all five lessons. By the fifth lesson, the phrases for "Hello," "Please" and "Thank you" should be painfully familiar. If not, you might need some review. If so, congratulations, you've just completed your first step in picking up a new language.

Note: When you learn a language, the more you learn, the more your brain has to create a structure out of and the less you need review - though even native speakers need review if too long away from the home country. Since this is a short course, you should read through it every week or two once you're done until you get to use the language for real.

Introduction to the Itty Bitty Courses

Language learning in the past
Once upon a time, learning a language meant mastering grammar, syntax and vocabulary in order to decipher literature. Then came the direct method, popularized by Berlitz. All of a sudden people were learning to use language as it was spoken.

Fluency as the goal
The direct method was a great improvement over what had gone before, and with time new and even better teaching techniques have been developed. But there still remained a problem: What to teach. While new programs could actually steer you toward fluency, they didn't do such a good job of letting you stop halfway. The typical language learner could either buy a comprehensive program or buy set one, then set two and so on until her money or patience ran out. Alternatively, he could buy a phrasebook and hope to learn all 500 key terms and phrases from single repetition cassettes - though he might not know what he was actually saying.

New goals
Today, there is a wealth of language learning products at the beginning level and for many languages, there are fairly comprehensive resources available. At the lower end, some of the best are the "Teach Yourself Instant..." series, giving around 400 key words, and Tuttle's "Instant..." series, which gives 100 key terms and places to use them. These are worthy courses and if you want a moderately rich experience with a moderate investment in study time, they're a must have for Western European and Asia-Pacific languages respectively. To go a little deeper, you can turn to Hawke's Quick and Dirty Guide, which lays out what you need to learn to really live in a different language environment - though you have to get other resources to fill in the information for your particular language. Finally, though, there's the very shallow end in the pool of language learning - the spot where you sit on a step and get your feet wet.

Point-and-Shoot language
The Itty Bitty Courses are at the shallow end. They offer "point-and-shoot" language skills: "Hello. I need that one. Please." When you're done, you won't be an expert, any more than you can become a master photographer with an Instamatic. But you'll be able to express yourself - graciously - whether introducing yourself or asking for the things you need. And you'll have just a few stepping stones into learning more from a non-English speaker if you both are patient. It isn't much, but it's the difference between being the ugly American and an earnest if struggling language learner. And when you need some goodwill in a foreign land, that can be a very big difference. So click on the link for "Using the Courses" to learn how the course works, then run through a course and in just a few days you'll be able say hello, convey your good intentions and graciously ask for what you need in a foreign language.

Welcome to Itty Bitty Language Courses weblog

This weblog holds the content for selected Itty Bitty Language Courses along with the menus for all the courses. The Itty Bitty Language Courses are a feature of multilingua.info.

For more information, please see the introduction at the Itty Bitty Course home page.