What is the OSLS Philosophy?
We believe that immersion is the best means by which to learn a new language. This is why we have chosen the name “On-Site Language Services (OSLS)” and the motto “Immerse to Converse.” Our resources and services are designed for community-based language learning. Our clients learn their new language in one-on-one sessions with language helpers and out in the community with Hindi speakers.
We aim to offer a flexible program with easily-adaptable tools for learning. We recognize that each person has a different learning style, learns at a unique pace, and will constantly be growing through new phases of language ability, as compared to the next person. We have services available on a full-time or a casual basis, enabling them to learn at their own speed. We provide curriculum materials which can be used in any locale in which our clients can find Hindi speakers, enabling the client to work at his or her own pace.
Language learning for the purpose of communication (which is in turn for building relationships), is a lifelong pursuit. Our aim is to equip our clients with resources and techniques that will enable them to continue learning long after their formal language study is complete.
Our program has been built around cutting edge language-learning theory. We have incorporated the best-proven practices of language acquisition and the unique patterns of North Indian languages.
Finally, we believe that language learning has universal relevance, for it is in speaking the heart language of another person that one can connect with the deepest understanding and respect. In a country like India it is possible to get by using only English. However, the mother tongue of most north Indians is Hindi or Urdu. Our hope is that you would see your self not as a student earning a certificate or a grade, but a human beings hoping to master the language so as to communicate at this heart level with fellow human beings.
Is the OSLS program for me?
Most of our clients come from the English-speaking world. However, the curriculum can be effectively used by those for whom English is a second language. We have helped such clients from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, South Africa, Argentina, Guatemala and many others.
Our program is designed for:
Businessmen and their families
Anyone who wants to experience more of Hindi or Urdu language and culture
What is the key to becoming fluent?
Modern language-learning theory has identified motivation as the most crucial component for mastery of a new language. An informed and sympathetic outside source is necessary to monitor and promote motivation, as well as to manage the other intangibles (such as culture shock) which profoundly affect one’s language-learning process.
Access to adequate methods and resources are also key. OSLS provides materials geared for each phase of language acquisition. Training is provided in how to use these.
OSLS also provides coaching to help keep you accountable think through your unique language-learning situation.
What benefit does OSLS give me that I can’t find by simply learning language on my own, with the help of a few self-study books?
Organizing one’s own language-learning program is challenging, especially if you have not gone through a self-directed language-learning process before. It can be challenging to identify specific language-related needs, or to figure out how to go into the community and get those needs met. OSLS provides this kind of help. The OSLS curriculum is systematic and adaptable to one’s unique learning style and living situation. Through OSLS a learner of Hindi or Urdu can begin each week with the confident assertion, “THIS is what I need to do this week to progress toward fluency.”
How do the OSLS program compare to local Language Schools?
There are good language schools available in Delhi and other locations around India. OSLS is different than most of them because the emphasis from the beginning is on listening comprehension and spoken communication. Some schools have a different emphasis, focusing on grammar, reading and writing much earlier in a student’s experience than does OSLS. Grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing do play a role, but it is a supporting role–to enable spoken interaction with people.
Our Stage 1 curriculum (2-4 months) focuses mostly on listening skills and some basic spoken phrases, though of course our clients learn to read and write the Hindi or Urdu alphabet in that time. Through Stage 1, our clients build an “encyclopedia” in their mind of up to 1500 new vocabulary words and sentence patterns which they can recognize in context, even though they may not yet be able to recall such words in order to speak or write. This effect on the brain is similar to what happens to a young child who spends her first 3-4 years of life only listening to her parents and siblings speak, before she actually goes to school and begins to read and write.
When learners begin to work on Stage 2 (9-12 months), they have an experiential reference pool with which to relate the grammar rules and patterns that they learn. Studying grammar without such a reference source available in one’s mind is like learning in a vacuum. The brain has no practical experience with which to relate the grammar theory, making it much more difficult to absorb grammar points (let alone utilize them in daily Hindi or Urdu conversation).
Though there is a grammar component to the OSLS program, many learners find it beneficial to supplement OSLS with some classes with a grammar teacher or a grammar school. A teacher can explain grammar points and point out the reasons for grammar mistakes (usually a language helper notices mistakes but cannot explain why it is wrong). For the best language acquisition results, grammar should be interspersed with other OSLS activities that are communication-focused.
What is the benefit of the OSLS program vs. hiring a professional Hindi or Urdu teacher?
During Stage 2 and Stage 3 we do recommend that you either attend a local language school or that you hire a professional Hindi or Urdu teacher. A grammar teacher or a professional tutor will be able to more precisely explain complex grammar points to you. They can also help you differentiate between the standard language and the colloquial expressions that are acceptable but may not be grammatically correct. Paying money for grammar classes with a good teacher is definitely worth it.
However, most of the OSLS language activities do not require a highly trained professional teacher. It is not necessary to pay teacher rates. A non-professionally-trained native speaker with a good accent who speaks well can give you the language you need. This kind of language helper is better suited to the OSLS learner-driven methodology. Activities where you want to drive the lesson and focus on what you need to learn are best done with a language helper.
I have already been through a generic course on how to learn a new language. Do I need to do the OSLS program?
A seminar on general principles for language learning or actual experience in learning another language can certainly be helpful. However, the uniqueness of OSLS lies in that its programming, resources, and content are specific to Hindi and Urdu.
One linguist has said, “While language-learning must be self-directed, it doesn’t have to be self-designed.” You don’t need to spend precious time and energy figuring out what to do. Our team of experienced Hindi and Urdu language consultants have created curriculum filled with practical lesson plans that can enable you to focus your maximum time and energy on actually learning Hindi and Urdu from native speakers.
The language-learning principles of OSLS can be applied to other Indian languages, as well. Whether you want to learn Bengali, Malyalam, or Punjabi, our customized seminars equip you to get a solid start in acquiring any Indian language.
Can I start learning in my home country?
Yes! You can begin practicing listening comprehension through apps and programs such as duolingo or Rosetta Stone. Watching familiar movies or cartoons that are dubbed in Hindi or Urdu will help you get used to the sounds and even recognize some words. If you know any Hindi or Urdu speakers in your country, spending time with them can be an excellent culture learning opportunity.
You can also begin to familiarize yourself with the script. Even in Stage 1 you will be doing some elementary reading and writing, so it can be helpful to have a head start. (Note to Urdu clients: It will help you if you familiarize yourself with both scripts. The Devanagri script is more straightforward and easier to learn. It will help you function in everyday life in India.)
Teach Yourself Beginner’s Hindi Script by Rupert Snell
Teach Yourself Beginner’s Urdu Script by Richard Delacy