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“I have been learning Urdu for about 3 months online. My experiences have been very positive so far.”

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I have been learning Urdu for about 3 months online. My experiences have been very positive so far. Although I wasn’t a beginner when I started, my language acquisition has improved greatly. I knew about great literature of the subcontinent, I just hadn’t been exposed to it before. It was a great pleasure to read the afsaneh (short stories) of Manto. The literature selection was diverse and I liked the mixture of magazine articles, conversations, short stories, etc. Raza is a good teacher and it is nice to have the entire class in Urdu. Onwards to the poetry!
Mubarik Arshad, 30 July 2016

“Unlike other programs that teach the language in a “this is the way it is” type format, Zabaan focuses on the underlying grammatical reasons for why the language is structured the way it is.”

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After spending 4.5 months at Zabaan, I would have to say that I was impressed with the quality of my Hindi instruction. I began as a complete beginner, enrolling in the 4 week beginner Hindi group course (5 students). I followed this with 3 or so months of a combination of small group lessons (with another student that was in my group course), as well as private lessons.

At the end of the 4 week group course, I walked away being able to read and write the Hindi (Devanagari) script, as well as engage in very basic conversation (survival Hindi). The course is based on the Teach Yourself Hindi text, and during the 4 weeks, approximately 1/2 of the book was covered. My remaining time at Zabaan was spent finishing the book, reviewing grammar, as well as reading short stories and news articles.

Zabaan is really only one of two languages schools in India offering comprehensive and reputable Hindi language instruction oriented for western students. The other being AIIS. The reason for this comes down to the caliber of instructors employed at Zabaan, of which consists of formally/university trained linguists that truly understand both Hindi and English grammar. Unlike other programs that teach the language in a “this is the way it is” type format, Zabaan focuses on the underlying grammatical reasons for why the language is structured the way it is. For a language that is so different from english (and includes concepts that are foreign to native english speakers), I have found that this provided much needed clarity, and has paid dividends later on in my Hindi studies.

Despite having intensively studied foreign languages at a top american university, the pace of Zabaan’s group course took getting use to. But it was manageable. This pace reflects the clientele of Zabaan, which tends to be a group of individuals seriously committed to language learning. Students included US Fulbright and FLAS Fellows, as well as diplomats, British journalists, graduate students, and US military personnel. The prices for private group lessons certainly reflect this western orientation. Though, if you can pair up with other students as I did, prices will be significantly reduced, and end up costing less than other programs in India.

In line with what a couple reviews have pointed out, Zabaan is not without its quirks. I tend to attribute this mainly to differences in culture. However, regarding language instruction, I have the utmost confidence in their ability to effectively teach Hindi, and for this reason, I recommend them for anyone seriously interested in studying Hindi.

Reid, 19 July 2016

“The online classes are via Skype with screen sharing and reviewing scanned homework which works perfectly fine and I was positively surprised! Zabaan gets both thumbs up for their services and I can wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone who is serious about learning Hindi (and other languages).” 

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Ali has been my Hindi teacher since September 2013. After six years of no formal classes in this language, I finally took up classes in Delhi. I started out classes not being able to even read my own name in Devanagari and can now read, write and speak it using proper grammar and vocab. Ali has proven to be the best teacher I could have asked for; he is patient, competent and meticulous. He adjusted the classes in content and pace to my language skills and preferences. He assigns plenty of homework for days I don’t have classes (something I specifically asked for), checks every line of my written Hindi for even small mistakes and does repeat drills for sections I am less confident in. He has been a great teacher to work with, anticipating my very specific grammar questions and giving me satisfying answers to literally each one of them. The online classes are via Skype with screen sharing and reviewing scanned homework which works perfectly fine and I was positively surprised! Zabaan gets both thumbs up for their services and I can wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone who is serious about learning Hindi (and other languages).
Sindy Brücher-Sharma, 04 Apr 2014

“I took intermediate Urdu lessons through Skype with Ali Taqi off and on for several months…I would highly recommend Zabaan to anyone wishing to study a language.” 

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I took intermediate Urdu lessons through Skype with Ali Taqi off and on for several months. It was extremely helpful and very worth it. Lessons and homework assignments both helped my language skills. Even my pronunciation improved. I would highly recommend Zabaan to anyone wishing to study a language.
Natasha Caron, 08 Jan 2014

“I would recommend Zabaan’s private tutoring to anyone wanting to learn a language in an intensive and effective manner.” 

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I had a great experience learning from the team at Zabaan. They personalized our classes so that we could tailor our learning and get the most out of our experience. I would recommend Zabaan’s private tutoring to anyone wanting to learn a language in an intensive and effective manner.
Travis Gylnn, 16 Aug 2014

“I really look forward to my classes: they are stimulating, challenging, enjoyable – and they work!” 

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I remember Zabaan when it was two people with a good idea handing out flyers in Khan Market. Since those days (actually not so long ago) it has grown into a first rate language institute offering courses in 9 modern and 4 classical languages (and counting). I haven’t taken Old Norse but I can definitely say there is no better place in Delhi to study Hindi. The quality of the teaching is superb, well-structured but also tailored to individual needs and learning styles. The teachers are fascinated by language and how we learn. They have a deep knowledge of their subjects and an ability to explain any detail or nuance in a clear effective way, consulting books and dictionaries if necessary. I really look forward to my classes: they are stimulating, challenging, enjoyable – and they work! Plus the chai is delicious. In fact Zabaan is a deeply civilised place. I recommend it highly. I first studied Hindi at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. The teaching at Zabaan is at least as good as it was there, if not better.
Charty Dugdale, 14 Apr 2015

“I studied Hindi and Urdu at Zabaan for over a year and can’t recommend it enough!” 

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I studied Hindi and Urdu at Zabaan for over a year and can’t recommend it enough! At the moment I am pursuing a PhD in Hindi literature and I am still indebted to Ali for creating a clear understanding of the Hindi/Urdu grammar in my head. The professional atmosphere and way the classes are adapted according to different student’s needs creates an opportunity to learn how to speak, read and write which is a real gift. My strongest memory from Zabaan is that way that all the teachers there motivated me to study and advance my skills- not only were they able to explain different subjects in clear language-they also pushed me forward making me work harder and harder and reap the fruit of studying. If this sounds too enthusiastic just go give it a try and see for yourself!
David Landau, 03 May 2015

“I am very impressed with the Zabaan team, their professionalism, enthusiasm and student-centered approach.” 

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I was very happy when I found Zabaan a few years ago now. I had wanted to learn Hindi for a long time and had never quite found the right opportunity till then. My instructor inspired confidence from day one – he was clearly very knowledgable and an extremely good teacher. In particular he was excellent at explaining the grammar and patiently took the time to answer my questions in detail. I had definitely come to the right place. The Zabaan approach was exactly what I had been looking for – you’re given a strong foundation in grammar, which is essential if you’re to feel confident when using the language. For a private student, the programme is tailored to suit your interests, and at intermediate and advanced Hindi level, alongside grammar lessons, I was encouraged to do a lot of reading, as well as listening tasks, and in this way you get to extend your vocabulary much further than you would through simply chatting (although you can do this too). I also took the opportunity to learn Urdu alongside Hindi, which enriches your vocabulary further still, and is immensely rewarding. I have waited a few years before posting this review, as I was fortunate enough to be offered a job with Zabaan and I spent three years working there, before moving on to new things. As someone who has both studied and worked with Zabaan, I am very impressed with the Zabaan team, their professionalism, enthusiasm and student-centred approach. I can confidently say you won’t find a better place to learn Hindi in Delhi – my husband (a Hindi speaker) is very happy with the result too!
Stephanie Shah, 28 Apr 2015

“The instructors were fantastic at implementing a well-developed curriculum tailored to my level, and my level of progress.” 

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I came to Zabaan to learn Hindi from scratch. I had only three weeks, and registered for daily private classes. The instructors were fantastic at implementing a well-developed curriculum tailored to my level, and my level of progress. I have taken comparable intensive classes in other languages, and thought that this program was one of the best, and incorporated all of the best features from previous programs that I have enjoyed. Zabaan also goes well above and beyond to create a community atmosphere for its students. Daily lunches and an open (wifi-equipped) study room go along way to providing ways for students to interact. The staff is wonderful.
Carolyn Edelstein, 15 Oct 2013