Hindi

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Hindi Proficiency Guidelines

Hindi Proficiency Guidelines

 

Introduction

The Hindi Proficiency Guidelines are based on the 1986 generic ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Proficiency Guidelines. They represent a hierarchy of global characterizations of integrated performance in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Hindi. The guidelines for each skill provide a description of linguistic behavior ranging from the Novice Level (that of a beginner) to the Superior or Distinguished Level (full professional competence). Descriptions for each level become increasingly complex in terms of functions, contents, and accuracy.

            These guidelines provide a standard yardstick for measuring proficiency in Hindi. They do not rest on a particular linguistic theory or pedagogical method, since they are based on candidates’ actual proficiency, as opposed to achievement. These guidelines help us identify various stages of proficiency; they are not intended to measure what and individual has achieved as the result of a particular language course. Because they are proficiency guidelines, they do not consider how, when, and where an individual learned the language. The level descriptions illustrate what linguistic functions or tasks (i.e., narration, description, supporting opinion), in what content areas (i.e., personal, social, professional), and how accurately an individual can perform at a certain level. The examples given at each level do not constitute an exhaustive list, or a discrete set of requirements; they are only representative samples of ranges of non-native ability in Hindi.

            Though the primary use of these guidelines is to assess the proficiency level of an individual in Hindi, they have important implications for teaching as well. Teachers can derive from them ideas for setting short and long-term goals for introducing various real life tasks, or grammar constructions. It is important, however, to bear in mind that it may take students a longer time to attain a certain proficiency level in some skills than in some others. For instance, it generally takes Hindi students a longer time to reach the Intermediate-Mid Level in Reading than in Speaking because of the non-Roman script and the diglossia in formal and informal vocabulary.

            These guidelines are the result of a two-year project (1987-89) funded by the U.S. Department of Education, which was directed by Dr. Vijay Gambhir with the collaboration of Dr. Rosane Rocher, both of the Univeristy of Pennsylvania. A national working committee consisting of Hindi linguists who have had first-hand experience teaching Hindi as a foreign language assisted in this effort. The committee members were Dr. Surendra Gambhir (U. of Pennsylvania), Dr. Bruce Pray (U. of California at Berkeley), Dr. Michael Shapiro (U. of Washington), Dr. Herman van Olphen (U. of Texas at Austin), and Dr. Manindra Verma (U. of Wisconsin at Madison). The project received valuable input from experienced consultants who were involved in developing the ACTFL generic and/or language-specific guidelines: Dr. David Hiple of ACTFL, Dr. Roger Allen of the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Irene Thompson of George Washington University. The project owes a special thanks to Dr. Claire Kramsch of MIT who took time to read the guidelines and made valuable suggestions.

            These guidelines are primarily based on the analysis of a large number of authentic speaking, listening, reading, and writing samples. They have been field-tested by many Hindi testers and teachers. They are, however, by no means to be considered definitive, but are likely to be refined and updated in the future in the light of important feedback received and advances by the profession.

            A copy of these guidelines may be obtained by writing to the Department of South Asia Regional Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305 or ACTFL, 6 Executive Boulevard Upper Level, Yonkers, NY 10701.


Speaking Guidelines

 

The Novice Level

The Novice level is characterized by the ability to communicate minimally with learned material.

Novice-Low

Oral production is limited to a few isolated words and fixed expressions, such as

नमस्ते; जी हाँ; नहीं; ठीक है, and some Hindi loanwords commonly used in English, such as साड़ी and रिक्शा. Essentially no functional communicative ability.

 

Novice-Mid

Oral production continues to consist of isolated words and a few memorized phrases, but quantity is increased. Vocabulary is limited to areas of elementary needs, such as food, clothing, the classroom, and some basic formulaic courtesy expressions (धन्यवाद; आप कैसे हैं?; फिर मिलेंगे). Utterance length is rarely more than a few words. There are frequent long pauses and repetitions of interlocutor’s words. Speakers may have difficulty producing even simple utterances and may be understood only with great difficulty.

Novice-High

Able to satisfy partially the requirements of basic communicative exchanges by relying heavily on memorized utterances. Can sometimes create new expressions through combining and recombining elements of learned material. Can ask and respond to a limited number of simple yes-no questions (आपको पसंद है?; क्या यह आपकी किताब है?) and simple information questions with क्या, कौन, कब, कहाँ, कितना. Can make some basic requests (एक लिम्का दीजिए; फिर बोलिए) and short statements (मालूम नहीं; मुझे हिन्दुस्तानी खाना पसंद है). Vocabulary is largely limited to some basic objects and places (मेज़; कुर्सी; कमरा; दुकान), popular foods (समोसा; दाल; केला; संतरा), clothing (कमीज़; कुर्ता; जूता), immediate kin (माता; पिता; बहन; भाई), basic colors, numbers (most likely from one to ten), days of the week. Displays partial control of personal pronouns (मैं, आप). Limited control of a few common verbs (पढ़ना; जाना; देखना), mostly in polite imperative and present habitual forms. Emerging ability to qualify nouns using a few adjectives (अच्छा; सुन्दर; बड़ा) and possessive adjectives (मेरा; आपका), and to use common adverbs (यहाँ; वहाँ; आज; कल) and postpositions (में; पर; से; का; के लिए). Errors are frequent in plural forms of nouns, and in adjective-noun and noun-verb agreement. Pronunciation may still be heavily influenced by the first language. Distinction between unaspirated and aspirated, dental and retroflex, short and long vowels, and oral and nasal vowels may not be maintained. Misunderstandings are frequent. Many Novice-High speakers will have difficulty being understood even by sympathetic interlocutors.

 

The Intermediate Level

The Intermediate level is characterized by the speaker’s ability to:

-create with the language by combining and recombining learned elements, though primarily in a reactive mode;

-initiate, minimally sustain, and close in a simple way basic communicative tasks;

-ask and answer questions; and

-use basic grammar with limited control

 

Intermediate-Low

Able to handle minimally a limited number of everyday interactive  task-oriented and social situations. Although speakers are mostly reactive, they consistently create new utterances. Can make statements, and ask and answer questions in a restricted manner in a simple face-to-face conversation in familiar contexts. Can handle greetings, introductions (मेरा नाम x है; मेरा घर शिकागो में है), compliments (सुन्दर है; बहुत अच्छा), courtesy expressions and social amenities (क्या हाल है?; मैं ठीक हूँ), leave taking (अच्छा, नमस्ते). Can order a meal (साग-पनीर लाइए; एक चाय चाहिए), make simple purchases (यह कितने का है?; यह दीजिए; यह लीजिए दस रुपए), ask directions (x किधर है?; कितनी दूर है?), have routine exchanges with porters, cooks, washermen, rickshaw/scooter drivers. Most utterances are single clauses in first person and present tense. Word order is predominantly subject-object-verb. Demonstrates partial control of habitual present, the plural forms of nouns and pronouns, basic postpositions, adjective-noun and noun-verb agreement, and some numbers (most likely from 1 to 20 and multiples of ten). Almost every sentence is fractured and laboriously produced. Vocabulary is increased but still limited to everyday common nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Speech lacks spontaneity and comes across as a translation from the speaker’s first language. Important phonological distinctions in consonants and vowels are only partially controlled. Misunderstandings frequently arise from limited vocabulary, hesitations, fractured grammar, and inaccurate pronunciation, but with repetition, the Intermediate-Low speaker can generally by understood by sympathetic interlocutors.

Intermediate-Mid

Able to handle a variety of simple everyday communicative tasks and social situations with increased quantity and quality of speech. Can ask and answer questions. Can participate in simple conversations on topics beyond basic survival needs, e.g., personal information (मैं हिन्दी पढ़ता हूँ; मेरा एक भाई है), travel (मैं बनारस में थी; सफ़र अच्छा था), leisure time activities (मुझे फ़िल्म देखना पसंद है; मैं टैनिस खेलता हूँ). Can ask and give directions (किस तरफ़ है?; सीधे जाइए), handle simple transactions (पाँच डाक टिकट दीजिए; क्या दाम है?). Can talk simply about self, family, school, weather, and places. Can express some feelings and states (मैं यहाँ खुश हूँ; मुझे ज़काम है), and can accept or turn down invitations. Errors are still frequent, but there is increased accuracy in the use of postpositions, plural forms of nouns and pronouns, oblique case, adjective-noun and noun-verb agreement, tenses, चाहना (with noun and infinitive), and indirect verb constructions (बच्ची को पानी चाहिए; सब को संतरे पसंद हैं). Overuses the habitual present at the expense of other vern forms. Emerging use of simple connectors (और; लेकिन). Speech gains spontaneity and shows less evidence of being translated from the first language. Increasing control of numbers. Emerging ability to incorporate English words (e.g., wait करना) in Hindi, though not always correctly and with facility. Utterance length and fluency are improved, but speech continues to be characterized by frequent long pauses and repetitions as the speaker struggles with vocabulary and labors to create appropriate language forms. Shows increasing control of important phonological distinctions. Misunderstandings still arise because of poor pronunciation, limited vocabulary, grammatical errors, and strong interference from the first language. Intermediate-Mid speakers, however, can be understood by sympathetic interlocutors.

Intermediate-High

Able to handle most uncomplicated communicative tasks and social situations. Can sustain a conversation on a variety of common factual topics by giving detailed information about self, family, school, and work. Begins to participate actively in conversations and to show spontaneity and flexibility in expression. There is emerging evidence of connected discourse, particularly for simple description (of objects, places, and people) and narration. Can use basic fillers (मतलब; अच्छा; तो), attention catchers (सुनिए; देखिए), and concluders (वगैरह; बस). Able to personalize and qualify statements with expressions such as मैं सोचता हूँ; मेरा ख्याल है; ऐसा लगता है कि… Can use a variety of sentence connectors (और; लेकिन; तो; तब; फिर; उसके बाद; इसी लिए; क्योंकि). Use of subordinate clauses is mostly limited to those introduced by कि. Occasional use of relative clauses with जो and जब, and sporadic use of relative-correlative constructions (जितना-उतना; जैसा-वैसा), although only with partial control. Increased control of basic grammar, but errors are still frequent in the use of the agent marker (ने), oblique forms of nouns and pronouns, and adjective-noun and noun-verb agreement. Better but not consistent control of basic tense and aspect forms, and the modal सकना. Demonstrates partial control of the  morphologically related intransitive, transitive, and causative verbs (बनना; बनाना; बनवाना). Emerging use of the reflexive अपना. Control of numbers is still not consistent. Sporadic use of non-SOV word order for topicalization, emphasis, or to incorporate afterthoughts. Demonstrates increased facility and confidence in the use of Hindi-English code-mixing. Limited vocabulary may give rise to hesitations and awkward circumlocutions. Lack of consistent phonological distinctions between aspirated and unaspirated, dental and retroflex, short and long vowels, may give rise to occasional misunderstandings, but Intermediate-High speakers can generally be understood by interlocutors not accustomed to foreign speech.

 

The Advanced Level

 

The Advanced level is characterized by the ability to:

-converse in a clearly participatory fashion;

-initiate, sustain, and bring to closure a wide variety of communicative tasks, including those that require an increased ability to convey meaning with diverse language due to a complication or an unforseen turn of events;

-satisfy the requirements of school and work situations;

-narrate and describe with paragraph-length connected discourse; and

-use basic grammar with good control.

Advanced

Able to satisfy the requirements of everyday situations and of routine aspects of school and work. Can handle arrangements with local officials for study, use of library or archive, and deal with complicated travel-related situations. Can communicate facts in a general way about topics of common interest, such as academic programs, social life, current events. Able to make factual comparisons, such as aspects of life in India and the U.S., life in a city vs. a small town. Can narrate and describe in some detail. Can handle with confidence, but not with facility, complicated tasks and social situations, such as elaborating, complaining, and apologizing. Can state or explain a point of view in a simple way, but cannot rebut objections or support an opinion with detailed arguments. Good control of basic morphology, tenses, aspects, cases, all modals (सकना; चुकना; पाना), inceptive लगना (e.g., जाने लगा), permissive देना (e.g., जाने दो/दीजिए), agent marker (ने), indefinite pronouns (कई; कोई; कुछ), and the reflexive अपना. Consistent control of morphologically related verbs (बनना; बनाना; बनवाना), constructions of compulsion (with पड़ना/होना/चाहिए), conjunctive (कर/के), and comparison (से; की तुलना में; जैसा – वैसा; जितना – उतना), ‘to have’ expressions (मेरा…; मेरे पास…; मुझे…), conditional, and relative clauses. Limited control of passive, presumptive (होगा), and compound verbs (mainly with जाना; लेना; देना). Can successfully use non-basic word order for topicalization, emphasis, and to incorporate afterthoughts. Can use a variety of sentence connectors such as हालांकि; ताकि; फिर भी. Vocabulary is good in general, but there may still be occasional groping for words. Shortcomings in vocabulary and grammar can often be smoothed over by circumlocution and communicative strategies such as pause fillers, stalling devices, and varying rates of speech. Control of numbers is good. Can incorporate English words and phrases in a native-like manner in appropriate contexts (यह कमीज़ without pockets है). Pronunciation is generally good, but phonological distinctions may still not always be maintained in the flow of speech. The Advanced-Level speaker can generally be understood without difficulty by native interlocutors.

 

Advanced-High

Able to satisfy the requirements of a broad variety of everyday simple and complex situations in India. Can handle most concrete topics of current and personal interest with facility. Able to talk about non-technical aspects of special fields of interest with relative ease. Emerging ability to handle abstract topics, support opinions, explain in detail, and hypothesize. Often shows a well developed ability to compensate for an imperfect grast of some lexical items and structures with confident use of English words, and circumlocution or paraphrase. Demonstrates good command of basic morphological categories, tense, aspects, modals, passive, presumptive (होगा), subjunctive, indefinite phrases ( e.g., कहीं न कहीं; कोई न कोई), and complex  constructions such as conditional and relative clauses, Increasingly confident use of participial phrases (adverbial and adjectival) and compound verbs including less frequent ones such as with डालना, बैठना, उठना, पड़ना. Partial control of hypothetical (अगर मैं जाऊँ) and counterfactual (ागर मैं जाता) verb forms. Demonstrates ability to topicalize either with word order or with topic markers तो and जो. Some ability to handle lexical variation according to social situation (प्रसन्नता vs. खुशी; नमस्ते vs. राम-राम; थैंक्यू vs. शुक्रिया). Good control of all phonologically important sound distinctions, and fair control of stress patterns and intonation contours. The Advanced-High speaker often shows considerable fluency and ease of speech, but under stress of the demands of Superior-level tasks, language control may break down or prove inadequate.

 

The Superior Level

 

The Superior level is characterized by the speaker’s ability to:

-participate effectively in most formal and informal conversations on practical, social, professional, and abstract topics;

-support opinions and hypothesize using native-like discourse strategies; and

-use a wide range of grammatical forms with good control.

 

Superior

Able to participate effectively in most informal and semiformal conversations on practical, social, professional, and abstract topics. Can discuss with ease in a general way special fields of competence and interest. Can support opinions with detailed arguments, and hypothesize. The ability to tailor language according to informal or formal style my still be limited. May have difficulty in handling highly abstract descriptions (abstract art, states of mind) and formal monologues (introducing a guest speaker, vote of thanks, dinner toasts, professional presentations). Control of grammar is good. Can use with consistent control less frequent structures such as participles, clause level nominalization (उसका समय पर आना; बारिश न होने की वजह से), embedded passives (बनाया जा सकता है; शुरु किया जाने लगा), and abilitative passive (मुझ से इतना चला नहीं जाना). There may be sporadic errors in grammar, but no patterned errors. Vocabulary is broad but may still be weak in technical terms. Superior-level speakers demonstrate near-native Hindi-English code-mixing ability, but may not be able to sustain a high-level conversation without resorting to occasional English lexicon. Control of idioms and proverbs may be weak. Can use a variety of words and expressions to convey subtle meaning differences, and shows well-developed conversational and discourse strategies through the use of synonyms, paraphrase, and expressions such as ख़ैर; यानी; बात यह है कि…; कैसे कहते है? Can use suprasegmental features (pitch, stress, intonation) to express fine shades of meaning, such as whole-hearted or half-hearted agreement or disagreement. Influence of the first language is sometimes evident in the choice of lexical items or sentence structures. Pronunciation of certain sounds may still be non-native but never disturbs the native speaker or interferes with communication.

 

Listening Guidelines

 

These guidelines assume that all listening tasks are authentic and follow standard or near-standard norms.

 

The Novice Level

 

The Novice level is characterized by an ability to recognize learned material and isolated words and phrases when strongly supported by context.

 

Novice-Low

No functional understanding of spoken Hindi. Can recognize a few high-frequency courtesy formulae (e.g., नमस्ते, धन्यवाद), isolated loanwords from English (e.g., टेलीफ़ोन, स्टेशन), and well-known city names (e.g., दिल्ली, बम्बई). Can usually identify when Hindi, and not another South Asian language, is being spoken.

 

Novice-Mid

Able to recognize a somewhat greater number of words and some clearly enunciated short learned utterances, particularly when supported by context; needs frequent repetition and a slow rate of speech. Can understand some simple courtesy formulae, statements, questions, and requests such as सुनिए; ठीक है; कैसे हैं?; बैठिए.

 

Novice-High

Able to understand a number of short learned utterances and some sentences, particularly when strongly supported by context (e.g., at a tea stall or bus stop, in a store or at a friend’s house). Can comprehend some simple greetings, statements, requests, and inquiries about self and immediate environment (e.g., नमस्कार; आज बहुत गर्मी है; यह किताब देखिए; क्या टाइम है?). Misunderstandings are frequent. Needs frequent repetition and rewording, even for simple face-to-face and clearly articulated conversations.

 

The Intermediate Level

 

The Intermediate level is characterized by an ability to understand main ideas and some facts from interactive exchanges and simple connected aural texts.

 

Intermediate-Low

Able to understand some simple sentence-length utterances which consist of recombinations of learned elements on a limited number of everyday familiar topics. Can comprehend some simple questions and statements of personal introduction (e.g., आप कहाँ रहते हैं?; मेरे दो भाई हैं), and courtesy formulae such as about well-being (e.g., क्या हाल है?), hospitality (e.g., इधर बैठिए; और लीजिए), and apology (e.g., माफ़ कीजिए). Can understand some simple numbers (most likely from 1 to 20 and multiples of ten) and time expressions (e.g., दो बजे). Comprehension is mostly limited to spontaneous face-to-face conversations about areas of basic needs, such as getting meals, hiring a scooter or taxi, and receiving some simple directions. Can gather the main idea, but may miss many details. Comprehension is limited to clear and careful speech, and continues to require frequent repetition and rephrasing.

 

Intermediate-Mid

Able to understand a greater number of sentence-length utterances on a variety of everyday familiar topics. Content areas continue to pertain primarily to basic needs such as meals (e.g., क्या आपको भारतीय खाना पसंद है?; जी, ठंडी लिम्का नहीं है), lodging (e.g., आपको कैसा कमरा चाहिए?; बाथरुम में गर्म पानी है), transportation (e.g., सूटकेस यहाँ मत रखिए), and directions (e.g., दाईं तरफ़ मुड़ जाइए). Able to understand many requests (e.g., यह फ़ॉर्म भर दीजिए; टिकट दिखाइए) and courtesy expressions (e.g., तशरीफ़ लाइए; आप से मिलकर बड़ी खुशी हुई). Increased ability to understand numbers beyond twenty, and time expressions (e.g., साढ़े दस). Comprehension is largely limited to spontaneous face-to-face conversations. May also be able to understand parts of some simple TV broadcasts (e.g., program listings, introduction of a guest) when strongly supported by visual cues. Misunderstandings are common and the need for repetition and rephrasing is frequent. Understanding continues to be limited to clear and careful speech.

 

Intermediate-High

Able to understand consistently most sentence-length utterances about survival needs and social interactions. Can sometimes also understand longer stretches of connected discourse and speech on topics beyond survival needs. Content areas may include personal information (e.g., आप का जन्म कहाँ का है?; मेरी एक बहन अमरीका में डाक्टर है), work (e.g., भाषण शाम को चार बजे शुरु होगा; शर्मा जी इस वक्त सीट पर नहीं हैं), hobbies and interests (e.g., स्कूल में मैं फ़ुटबॉल खेलता था), intentions and plans (e.g., मेरा आज फ़िल्म देखने का इरादा है), and some current events and states of affairs (e.g., इस साल पेट्रॉल की कमी है और चीज़ों के दाम बढ़ रहे हैं). Can get the gist of many conversations but cannot sustain comprehension over lengthy discourse in complex utterances or on unfamiliar topics. Understanding irregular numbers (e.g., नवासी) and some time expressions (e.g., पौने चार) is still not consistent. Can comprehend main ideas of some TV broadcasts on uncomplicated news items, but may miss details. Needs occasional repetition and rephrasing when language is not sufficiently redundant. Understanding is still largely limited to clear and careful speech.

 

The Advanced Level

 

The Advanced level is characterized by an ability to understand main ideas and most details of connected discourse on a variety of topics beyond the immediacy of the situation, including some topics where comprehension is complicated due to an unexpected turn of events.

 

Advanced

Able to understand main idea and important details of connected discourse on a variety of topics beyond basic situations. Increasing ability to understand speech in other than face-to-face situations. Can comprehend description and narration on factual topics in different time frames found in some current radio or TV news, documentaries, short lectures, TV interviews, and live commentaries. Sufficient comprehension to follow the story line of a movie, or of a stage or TV play that has many sociocultural allusions. May have difficulty in understanding highly informal and colloquial speech, as well as highly formal speech that includes complex sentences and expressions such as के हेतु, क्रमशः के समझ. Understanding of numbers and time expressions is generally good. Can understand most native speakers, even those who are not used to dealing with foreigners. May require occasional repetition when a topic is unfamiliar and/or listening conditions are not optimal (e.g., in a train station or airport, or on the phone).

 

Advanced-High

Able to understand the main idea and many details of most factual and non-technical speech in standard Hindi. Cannot sustain comprehension in extended discourse that is propositionally and/or linguistically complex such as academic lectures, formal reports, and movies. May be able to follow a relatively technical discussion in one’s own area of specialization. Emerging ability to get the connotative meaning of emotional overtones, different registers, and historical, cultural, and mythological allusions. Can understand the literal as well as the implied meaning of commonly used discourse structures such as चाहे आप कुछ भी कहें, और तो और, अगर आप चाहें. Increasing ability to understand highly colloquial and formal forms of speech as well as speech in less than ideal conditions. Some ability to understand non-standard and regional speech.

 

The Superior Level

 

The Superior level is characterized by an ability to understand concrete and abstract topics in extended discourse offered by speakers using native-like discourse strategies.

 

Superior

Able to understand the main idea of all speech in all styles of Hindi, including technical discussions in the listener’s field of specialization. Can follow the essentials of extended discourse that is propositionally and linguistically complex, as in academic or professional lectures, political speeches, and professional reports. Listener shows some appreciation of the aesthetic norms of Hindi, idioms, colloquialisms, and register shifting. Emerging ability to appreciate humorous references. Understanding is aided by an awareness of the underlying organizational structure of the oral text and includes sensitivity to its affective overtones. Substantial comprehension of commercial movies; may not, however, understand the parts that are excessively rapid, highly colloquial, and/or have strong cultural references. Highly Sanskritized and Urdu styles of language found in literary symposia or poetry recitations may impede comprehension of detailed meaning. Increasing ability to understand non-standard and regional speech.

 

The Distinguished Level

 

The Distinguished level is characterized by an ability to understand most linguistic styles and forms from within the cultural framework of the language.

 

Distinguished

Able to understand with ease most regional, social, and stylistic forms of speech pertinent to personal, social, and professional needs. Shows strong sensitivity to social and cultural references and aesthetic norms by processions language from within the cultural framework. Can understand most radio and TV broadcasts, commercial movies, plays, presentations at symposia, public speeches, and literary readings. Can integrate linguistic and paralinguistic cues (i.e., body language) for full comprehension. Able to understand many idioms, colloquialisms, and some humorous references. Generally understands rapid, casual, and emotionally charged speech. Rarely experiences major difficulty with various accents in standard Hindi. Can understand many colloquial, regional, and dialectical expressions as well as some jokes and puns.

 

Reading Guidelines

 

These guidelines assume all reading texts to be authentic and legible.

 

The Novice Level

 

The Novice level is characterized by an ability to identify isolated words and phrases when strongly supported by context.

 

Novice-Low

Able to recognize some simple Devanagari characters and words. Can decipher portions of signs containing Hindi names of cities, streets, shops, etc. when accompanied by English equivalents, pictures, or other contextual clues. Can identify the Devanagari script as opposed to other South Asian scripts. No functional ability in reading Hindi.

 

Novice-Mid

Able to identify most simple Devanagari characters and a few of the commonest conjunct consonant sequences, such as क्य. Within these limitations, can identify many personal and place names, and some familiar words and short phrases on street and shop signs, movie billboards, menus, train and bus signs, etc. Rereading is often required.

 

Novice-High

Able to recognize most Devanagari characters and conjunct sequences. Can identify alternate letter shapes (e.g. झ/   ). Can read printed and carefully handwritten words, phrases, numbers, and sometimes short sentences in forms, letters, advertisements, public notices, etc. Sometimes, but not consistently, the Novice-High reader can comprehend materials at the next higher level when context and content are familiar. Rereading is still often required.

 

The Intermediate Level

 

The Intermediate level is characterized by the ability to understand main ideas and some facts from simple connected texts.

 

Intermediate Low

Has a good overall familiarity with the Devanagari writing system. Able to get main facts from simple connected texts dealing with personal and social needs. Texts at this level consist mainly of simple sentences in nominative (SOV) word order, and deal with topics to which the reader brings personal interest and/or knowledge. They may include personal letters and notes, invitations, public posters and announcements (e.g., कवि सम्मेलन, रामलीला). Reading ability still limited to printed and carefully handwritten samples. Misunderstandings and non-understanding occur frequently because of limited control of vocabulary and structures.

 

Intermediate-Mid

Able to read consistently with increased understanding simple connected texts dealing with a variety of personal and social needs. Can get main facts and some details from texts which feature frequently used words and non-complex structures in nominative word order. Texts at this level are mostly straightforward and informational, and require minimal suppositions about format and/or content on the part of the reader. Examples may include weather forecasts, sports reports, simple descriptions of people, places, and objects (in travel guides or school books), personal letters and notes. Misunderstandings are many and rereading is often required. At the Intermediate-Mid level, reading is still largely limited to printed matter and familiar handwriting.

 

Intermediate-High

Able to read consistently with full understanding simple connected texts dealing with personal and social needs. Can determine who is doing what to whom, where, when, and why in texts such as simple short stories written for children, simple reports on concerts, elections, festivals, etc. Can get some of the main facts from longer texts containing factual information intended for the general reader. Unfamiliar vocabulary and structural complexity may lea to misinterpretations, slowed reading, and rereading. An Intermediate-High reader may be able to read Advanced-Level texts in special areas of interest, but not on a wide variety of topics.

 

The Advanced Level

 

The Advanced level is characterized by

-an ability to read with consistent understanding pose consisting of several paragraphs in length, dealing with factual information and intended for the general reader; and

-in areas of special interest or knowledge, an increasing ability to understand parts of texts which are propositionally and linguistically complex.

 

Advanced

Able to read consistently with good understanding prose of several paragraphs in length dealing with factual information. Can read a variety of printed as well as free flowing native handwriting. Texts at this level include complex structures (e.g., जो – वह, हालांकि – फिर भी) and discourse features (e.g., इसलिए, ताकि). Reading materials may include passages from simple short stories, personal and routine business letters, news items, and some passages of general interest in popular magazines (e.g., फ़िल्मफ़ेयर, सरिता) and newspapers (e.g., नवभारत टाइम्स, हिन्दुस्तान). Comprehension derives not only from knowledge of the subject matter but also from increasing control of the language. Reading is relatively smooth and requires only occasional rereading. Occasional misunderstandings may occur because of unusual multiple embeddings, vague discourse referents, and use of low-frequency vocabulary and idiomatic expressions. An Advanced-Level reader, however, has a fairly well developed ability to infer meaning of unknown words and expressions from the total context.

 

Advanced-High

Able to read consistently with almost complete understanding a variety of texts on familiar factual topics written for the general reader. Can get main information from Superior-Leve non-technical, abstract, and linguistically complex texts for which the reader lacks familiarity with subject, culture, or style, such as political editorials, critical reviews, cultural commentaries, and academic/professional writing. Greater comprehension of Superior-Level reading materials in areas of special interest or knowledge. Emerging ability to understand author’s intent and general tone of the text. May not understand the inferential meaning of arguments. Highly Sanskritic or Perso-Arabic words and phrases may not hinder general comprehension. Misunderstandings, however, may still occur due to insufficient knowledge of subject or style, or the presence of rare structures and expressions.

 

The Superior Level

 

The Superior level is characterized by an ability to read for information or pleasure with almost complete understanding and at a normal speed a wide variety of texts on a wide variety of topics.

 

Superior

Able to read with almost complete comprehension and at a normal speed a variety of literary texts and a broad range of expository prose on unfamiliar subjects. Reading ability is not dependent on knowledge of the subject matter, yet the reader may not thoroughly comprehend texts which are dependent on a specialized knowledge of the subject or of Indian culture. Understands technical material in area of specialization, such as Hindu iconography, ethnomusicology, public health, or textual criticism. Reads with almost complete comprehension and for pleasure materials such as short stories and novels (e.g., by Premchand, Renu, and Mohan Rakesh), and magazines written for the educated reader (e.g., धर्मयुग, इंडिया टुडे, अभिव्यक्ति). Texts featuring hypotheses, argumentation, and supported opinions present few problems. Some ability to understand and appreciate humor, irony, and sarcasm. Good control of general vocabulary and structures usually allows the Superior-Level reader to match the meaning derived from extralinguistic knowledge with meaning derived from the language, allowing for smooth and efficient reading. Occasional misunderstandings may still occur because of presuppositions and complicated style. Fairly good knowledge of highly Sanskritic and Perso-Arabic words and phrases as used in Hindi texts.

 

The Distinguished Level

 

The Distinguished level is characterized by the ability to read fluently and accurately most styles and forms of the language with comprehension that is achieved from within the cultural framework of the language and that includes appreciation of nuance and subtlety.

 

Distinguished

Able to read fluently and accurately most styles and genres of language pertinent to academic and professional needs. Can readily understand literal and intended meaning. Comprehends linguistic and cultural nuances, and follows unpredictable turns of thought in texts such as literary criticism, sophisticated editorials, and scholarly writings. Can read and appreciate a wide variety of literary texts including novels and poetry. Can always distinguish relevant from irrelevant information. Due to confident control of language can understand neologisms (आतंकवाद, तरणताल) and other creative word formations (प्रश्नाकुल, पुत्रधन) without difficulty. Can understand many dialectical usages and uncommon idioms and expressions. Appreciates literary devices such as metaphor, simile, and hyperbole, and understands cultural humor, irony, and sarcasm.

 

Writing Guidelines

 

The Novice Level

 

The Novice level is characterized by an ability to write isolated words and phrases.

 

Novice-Low

No functional ability in writing Hindi. Can copy printed or carefully written words. Can write independently a few Devanagari characters and short Hindi words such as बस.

 

Novice-Mid

Able to write some familiar names and words, as long as their spelling does not require conjunct consonants other than a few of the most common, such as in क्या, नमस्ते. Errors are frequent and may include incorrect vowel symbols (matras) and the substitution of dental for retroflex and unaspirated for aspirated consonant characters, and vice-versa. No practical communicative writing skills.

 

Novice-High

Able to write some phrases and simple sentences about very familiar topics, compile short lists (e.g., shopping or laundry lists), fill out routine forms requiring basic personal information, and the like. Has a good overall control of most of the Devanagari characters and of the writing conventions of the script as used for Hindi, including numbers, half forms (e.g., दिल्ली, हिन्दी), anusvara (e.g., लंबा, अंडा), pre- and postconsonantal r conjuncts (e.g.,  गर्म, प्रेम), and some of the more common irregular conjuncts (e.g., कुत्ता, सत्रह). May still have difficulty with less frequent forms such as  ऋ,  क्ष,  श्र. Most of the writing is characterized by frequent misspellings and much linguistic inaccuracy.

 

The Intermediate Level

 

The Intermediate level is characterized by an ability to meet practical writing needs by communicating simple facts and ideas in a loose collection of sentences with a limited control of basic grammar.

 

Intermediate-Low

Able to meet limited practical writing needs. Has sufficient control of the writing system to meet everyday needs, such as writing short messages, notes, and postcards. Material produced consists of recombinations of learned vocabulary and structures into simple conversational-style sentences. Vocabulary is limited to words for common objects and usual activities and situations, but is adequate to express elementary needs. Writing tends to be a collection of sentences or sentence fragments strung together loosely on very familiar topics (e.g., likes and dislikes, general routine, everyday situations). Errors in spelling and grammar are frequent. Most sentences are single clauses in the present tense. Word order is predominantly subject-object-verb. Demonstrates partial control of habitual present, the plural forms of nouns and pronouns, basic postpositions, and adjective-noun and noun-vern agreement. Some awareness of oblique case. Misunderstandings frequently arise from limited vocabulary, spelling errors, and inadequate or incorrect grammar, but writing can generally be understood by sympathetic readers.

 

Intermediate-Mid

Able to meet a number of practical writing needs. Can write simple notes and short letters to meet survival needs and limited social demands (e.g., to make arrangements, to inquire about someone’s health). Able to write simple sentences on familiar topics grounded in personal experience and immediate surroundings. Can describe likes and dislikes, daily routine, everyday events. Writings still tends to be a loose collection of sentences on a given topic, though with increased quantity and quality. Provides little evidence of proper organization of the text. Writing style is reflective of the grammar and lexicon of the spoken language. There is increased accuracy in the use of postpositions, plural forms of nouns and pronouns, oblique case, adjective-noun and noun-verb agreement, tenses, चाहना (with noun and infinitive), and indirect verb constructions (e.g., मुझे … चाहिए; आपको क्या पसंद हैं?), but errors are still frequent. Demonstrates better control of habitual present than of other tense forms. Sometimes writes connected sentences with simple connectors such as और and लेकिन. Rarely uses complex structures such as जो — वह and जहाँ — वहाँ. When using a dictionary, is often unable to choose among alternative lexical items for use in specific written contexts. Writing can be understood sympathetic readers used to the writing of non-natives.

 

Intermediate-High

Able to meet most basic writing needs and limited social demands. Can write in some detail simple descriptions and narrations of paragraph length on everyday events and situations in different time frames, though with some inaccuracy. Can write simple personal letters, brief synopses of some written texts or sequences of events, summaries of biographical data and work experience. Emerging ability to write connected sentences in a paragraph with a variety of sentence connectors such as फिर, उसके बाद, क्योंकि, इसलिए. Use of subordinate clauses is mostly limited to those introduced by कि. Occasional use of relative-correlative constructions (e.g., जितना-उतना; जैसे-वैसे, although with only partial control. Demonstrates increased control of basic grammar, but errors are still frequent in the use of the agent marker ने, oblique forms of nouns and pronouns, and adjective-noun and noun-verb agreement. Better but not consistent control of aspect, tense, and modal distinctions. Due to a limited ability to manipulate stylistic registers of language and lexicon, the Intermediate-High level writer is often restricted to one among many options provided by the language for expressing a particular concept. Vocabulary and grammar style are still essentially reflexive of the spoken language. Increasing ability to select appropriate lexical items from the dictionary. Writing, though faulty with many misspellings, grammatical errors, and overlay of the writer’s first language syntax, is generally comprehensible to native not accustomed with non-native writing.

 

The Advanced Level

 

The Advanced level is characterized by an ability to write narratives and descriptions of a factual nature of at least several paragraphs in length on familiar topics with a good control of basic grammar.

 

Advanced

Able to write simple connected discourse of at least several paragraphs in length on familiar topics. Demonstrates awareness of authentic writing styles of standard Hindi. Can write routine social correspondence such as personal letters with appropriate conventions, such as openings (e.g., प्रिय); greetings (e.g., नमस्कार), and closings (e.g., आपका, तुम्हारा). Can take adequate notes and write cohesive summaries as well as narratives and descriptions of a factual nature. Can explain problems, make complains, and offer apologies. Good control of basic morphology, tenses, aspects, the modal सकना, the agent marker ने, the reflexive अपना, adjective-noun and noun-verb agreement, and the use of such postpositions as की तुलना में, के अनुसार. Demonstrates the ability to use correctly some conjunct and compound verb constructions. Can use various coordinations and subordinations, but makes frequent errors in producing less frequent complex structures such as जैसे-जैसे; वैसे-वैसे; ज्यों ही-त्यों ही. Has enough vocabulary to allow needed circumlocution, yet inappropriate loan translations of words and constructions are frequent. Good control of sentence connectors (e.g., हालांकि, ताकि). Limited ability to use written-style vocabulary (e.g., परन्तु, यद्यपि, के उपरांत) and structures (e.g, के द्वारा passive), with little variation in style. Successful use of Hindi dictionaries is still limited. Writing at this level can be read and understood by those who are not used to non-native writing.

 

Advanced-High

Able to write about a variety of topics with significant precision and in detail. Can write social and some professional and business correspondence with appropriate conventions, such as आदरणीय, महोदय, प्रणाम, भवदीय. Can describe and narrate personal experiences fully but has difficulty supporting points of view in written discourse. Can write with limited success on abstract topics relating to professional interest and special fields of competence. Demonstrates good control of grammar in general, but may have difficulty in using more complex structures such as embedded participials (e.g., ढाई घंटे तक चले समारोह में; लगातार बढ़ती हुई कीमतें; हाथ में किताब लिए हुए). Often shows fluency of expression, but writing may be inaccurate under the demands of Superior-level tasks. Demonstrates some ability to alter word order for stylistic and pragmatic purposes. Emerging use of synonyms and stylistic variants to avoid monotony, but for the most part style remains uniform in spite of changes in subject matter or context. Can use dictionary to advantage, though some inappropriate selection of vocabulary is still evident. At this level writing is mostly cohesive and characterized by the emerging use of lexical, structural, and other cohesive devices typical of authentic Hindi written style.

 

The Superior Level

The Superior level is characterized by an ability to write formally and informally on practical, social, and professional and abstract topics with good control of basic and non-basic grammar.

Superior

Able to express self in most formal and informal writing on practical, social, professional, and abstract topics. Can use different registers in writing letter, articles, and research reports. Good control of a full range of structures and a wide general vocabulary allow for the writer to hypothesize and present arguments or points of view accurately and effectively. And underlying organization, such as logical ordering and thematic development, is strongly evident, although not thoroughly executed and/or not totally reflecting hindi patterns. Can write most types of correspondence such as memos as well as informal and formal letters and short papers. Can take notes in a class or on other occasions, which represent a comprehensible account of the event described. Writing is predominantly in authentic Hindi written style. Constructions commonly found in Hindi writings, such as subjunctives, passives, and quotatives introduced by कि are frequent. Control of grammar is good; there are no patterned errors in the use of simple or complex sentences. In general, there is evidence of good control of formal vocabulary (e.g., समुचित, वक्तव्य, पर्याप्त). Can use dictionary effectively. Although sensitive to differences in formal and informal style, may still not be able to tailor writing precisely to a variety of purposes and/or readers. There are very few misspellings and there is some ability to write Devanagari in a native cursive style. Errors in writing rarely cause miscommunication or disturb native readers.

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