Learn A Language, Learn A Culture

Review of Dreaming in Hindi – Katherine Russell Rich; Houghton Mifflin Co; July 2009; Hardcover; pp 384

– Susan Thomas

There are two broad motivations for people to learn languages: make a living or slip into another community. When Katherine Rich is diagnosed with cancer, she travels to India to rediscover herself and escape to another culture. Along the way, she is enthralled with the idea of learning an entirely different language: Hindi.

The book is an engaging, at times frustrating, account of her enrollment in a Hindi language school in Udaipur, Rajasthan, and her experience with the Indian culture, customs and especially, the manner of communication.

Rich tends to criticise India and its lack of privacy, and its conservative, masochistic characteristics and yet at the same time, she takes great pride in mastering the country’s official language.

Rich also underlines the neurological aspects of grasping a new language such as the ability to be dyslexic in one language and not another, interference from external interests when pursuing a new one and the novelty of mastering a new language.

Overall, I related a great deal with Rich’s experience in India as a traveller, and as an avid learner of French and Spanish, I connected with her transformation and enjoyment in a new language and culture.

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Rating: 3.0/10 (1 vote cast)
Learn A Language, Learn A Culture, 3.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 at 7:43 pm and is filed under Non-Fiction, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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