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Like I said, at the colloquial level, they're virtually the same, hence
the combined dictionaries.  When you get into the really fancy words, Hindi
tends to use more Sanskrit sources, where Urdu tends to use Perso-Arabic
roots.  However, these distinctions are unimportant for the most part, unless
you're getting really heavily into specialized fields.

Don't trouble yourself with conjunct characters.  First off, they're not
all that common to begin with.  Secondly, they're not always some totally
unrecognizable third character, typically they are just one character
lacking its vertical bar up against another.  If the character lacks a
vertical bar, it is typicaly written underneath.  And finally, don't try
to pre-emptively memorize them.  Learn the basic set of Devanagari characters,
and look up conjuncts as you come to them... you'll soon learn the ones
you need.  This works even for those fearsome trigraphs.

My retort is that in Hindi, the characters all look like distinct forms,
not just a squiggly line with some bumps and dots. ;)

On Tue, Sep 25, 2001 at 02:23:15AM -0400, David Peterson wrote:
> In a message dated 9/24/01 10:43:11 PM, [log in to unmask] writes:
>
> << Of course, if the only thing putting you off is the alphabet, and if you
> already can read the Arabic script, try hitting it from the Urdu direction,
> rather than Hindi. (At the colloquial level, they're virtually the same). >>
>
>     What are the differences, anyway?  I always see Hindi/Urdu dictionaries,
> which seems to suggest that they're identical, save, possibly, pronunciation
> and script. Oh, and Arabic script is a billion times easier.  Why?  Because
> when you put two Arabic characters together, they never merge to form some
> third character, as happens all the time in Hindi.  There's three pages of
> them in my Hindi book.  And then the trigraphs!  Blech... But, yes,
> Hindi/Urdu is what I'm after with this e-mail.
>
> -David