After a long time of trying to learn devanagari, the nepali writing system or alphabet, I now dare to say I can handle it. I can read and write in devanagari script and even if it’s not perfect yet it’s certainly a lot further than I have come before. It’s enough to be able to learn new words in devanagari from the beginning and I can skip the romanised version of the words. Some of the special case characters and combinations might take a little longer before I master since they aren’t used very often and I don’t see them that much.
I have already noticed that it’s a huge advantage to learn nepali this way. It’s much easier to get the pronounciation of the words right after learning devanagari. The fact that the writing system is phonetical is of huge help and make learning and spelling much easier compared to Swedish for example (where the spelling and pronounciation doesn’t make much sense sometimes). My pronounciation is getting better and it’s much easier to remember the new words I learn because I get the pronounciation right from the start and don’t have to guess.
It sure was a lot of drudging before I reached this point. I have tried to learn and previously thought that I had done it, but as soon as I stopped studying Nepali for a while (due to university studies) I forgot it. Noticing the difference between some of the charcters that looks or sounds similar also used to be a problem for me.
I have tried different methods for learning devanagari. In the beginning I just tried to get the pronounciation right, reading the characters in order, after that I started writing them in the right order (like the picture). I practiced at home and when I had breaks in school. When I thought I knew them I moved on and made small flashcards in paper with the character on one side and trying to explain the pronounciation on the other side. In the beginning I simply tried to puzzle them in the right order. After that I used them more like flashcards, shuffling them and trying to guess the character. It was not very effective and actually not much fun. It often felt like I was not making any progress and it was frustrating that it didn’t seem to help with the different methods I had tried.
I decided to give it another try when I got an iPad and found a program for flashcards. I had tried flashcard on my PC before but didn’t really like it and had problems figuring out how to write the devanagari characters on my computer. The flashcards app was much better than the PC versions I had tried before and I kept on practicing over a long time. I had my university studies to focus on and the Nepali came second. After some time of druding it started to make sense and I got them all correct when I studied. I had finally learned devanagari! It was such a relief.
Even though it took a long time to learn I’m happy I didn’t give up and that I’m learning Nepali from the beginning without “cheating” with the romanised versions of the words. I really aim to master the language and want to become fluent and that it will be like my second mother tongue. Learning devanagari properly was the first step towards that goal. I’m sure I will remember all the charcters from now on since I’m practicing reading and writing them all the time when learning new words, reading in a book or writing something.