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Which GPA Phase is right for me in learning Hindi Urdu?

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

GPA stands for the Growing Participator Approach and is an attitude and approach to growing as a participator in another langua-cultural world through an increasing number of deep relationships. This is an approach used all over the world for a wide variety of languages.

Launch India is happy to offer GPA services for Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi. If you have some prior experience already in learning Hindi, Urdu, or Punjabi it can be difficult to assess where you should begin in your journey. But how do you know which Phase of GPA is right for you in these languages or others?

General Principles for Determining Which GPA Phase is Right for You:

In general, you want to spend your time in your focused language sessions doing activities that will maximize your growth. How do you know you are maximizing your language growth? Here are some helpful tips to consider.

  • Are you having fun and are you feeling challenged? Of course everyone has a different definition for fun but basically if you are feeling like crying the whole time you are learning Hindi Urdu or feeling like it is so hard that you are just stuck in frustration, then you likely need to consider trying activities from a lower Phase for awhile. On the other hand, if you are having fun but not feeling challenged, then you likely need to consider using activities from a higher Phase.

  • Are you encountering about 8-10 new or review words per hour? The GPA method is a wonderful approach for having strong encounters with vocabulary words in another language within a story or conversational context. As you listen to recordings in your language sessions, you will stop and clarify the meaning of new or weak vocabulary words for you with your Nurturer. Having strong encounters with 8-10 new or weak words per hour is a healthy vocabulary growth rate and can be a helpful way to assess if you need to increase or decrease your phase.

Benchmarks Across GPA Phases

In general, below are the expected linguistic and relational outcomes of your life you should expect to see after completing each GPA Phase for Urdu or Hindi.

  • Encountered 1000 words.

  • Completed 100 hours of supercharged participation sessions.

  • Connected relationally with a Nurturer, able to meet and greet in the language and ask and understand a few basic questions about a person and his/her family.

  • Able to do some market transactions in Hindi/Urdu.

  • Familiarity with language needed to talk about the “here-and-now.” This includes familiarity with language such as:

    • “I, we, you, s/he, they etc.” as subject, object, possessor, etc.

    • Names for basic objects, actions and properties, animals, and humans

    • Properties of these: size, shape, emotions, etc.

    • Spatial-locational descriptions (in the box, under the table, etc.)

    • Terms for human relationships (such as kinship terms) and some roles (such as

    • shopkeeper)

  • Familiarity with simple sentence forms that enable you to

    • Make sentences

    • Ask questions

    • Describe situations that are in view

    • Give instructions

  • Ability to use “power tools” (language that helps you learn more language), such as:

    • “Please repeat”

    • "Please speak more slowly”

    • “Please speak more clearly”

    • “What is this called?”

    • “What am I doing?” (asked while acting out an action)

    • “What is he doing?”

    • “What kind of X is this?”

  • Can understand and use present tense.

  • Can recognize all sounds associated with the letters in Hindi/Urdu Script.

Phase 2:

  • Encountered an additional 1500-2000 words.

  • Completed 150 hours of supercharged participation sessions.

  • Connected with Nurturer and some of his/her family.

  • Beginning to spend time outside sessions becoming familiar with the neighborhood and talking to neighbors.

  • Able to talk a lot about the “here-and-now”

  • Able to understand simple connected stories built together with the nurturer

  • Able to carry on simple conversations on a narrow range of topics

  • Using increasingly complex sentences in own, everyday speech

  • By the end can understand and share very basic life stories with pictures.

  • Can understand and use present and past tense.

  • Some exposure to future tense.

Phase 3:

  • Encountered an additional 2000-3000 words.

  • Completed 250 hours of supercharged participation sessions.

  • Beginning to make aquaintances/friends with more patient people in your community.

  • Can understand relatively rich and complex stories with familiar plots.

  • Able to tell simple stories.

  • Can understand more abstract explanations and “expository speech” than before without the use of visual aids used in Phases 1 and 2.

  • Basic conversational ability.

  • Able to discuss a wide range of topics, including ones you have not discussed previously.

  • Can understand and pray short simple prayers.

  • Can understand and use a variety of tenses.

  • Ability to read Hindi Script has been developed.

Phase 4:

  • Encountered an additional 2000-4000 words

  • Completed 500 hours of supercharged participation sessions.

  • Can understand and enter into life stories.

  • Several deep and meaningful relationships formed.

  • Learning deeply about host life, through learning deeply about individual host lives.

  • Able to carry on simple conversations on a wide range of topics and provide simple verbal explanations.

  • Able to retell moderately complex stories.

  • Provide verbal explanations of moderately abstract ideas and occasionally explaining your view on complex matters.

  • Grammar hole finding and record for feedback activities contribute to more native sounding speech.

  • Able to share life story, pray simply and ask and understand deep questions.

Phase 5:

  • By the end should have encountered close to 10000 words for all five phases.

  • Can understand much native to native speech.

  • Able to participate in activities designed for natives.

  • Able to tell rich, textured stories.

  • Considerable freedom in forming meaningful and deep relationships.

  • Able to continue growing in grammar, vocabulary, ways of speaking through normal life.

Phase 6:

  • Able to understand nearly all of what you hear native people saying around you

  • You are positioned to hear a lot of native speech daily

  • Your language will continue to grow naturally through every day interactions.

More Tips for Determining Which GPA Phase is Best for You:

  • If you have very little to no prior Hindi, Urdu, or Punjabi experience, then Phase 1 is right for you!

  • If you are reaching out after having already done some self study, used DuoLingo or some other app, learned Hindi or Urdu Script, or done some grammar training, then usually a brief, informal assessment with us can help determine where is the best starting point for you. We simply try out a few different activities with you and determine what seems to be the best fit. We then remain very open to work with you to move you through our phases at a faster or slower than normal pace depending on your unique needs.

  • You may also register to take one of our graded assessments for Phases 1-3 if you would like a bit of a more formal evaluation of your level.

  • We also often recommend that new GPA clients do an accelerated version of Phase 1 before moving on to higher phases. If you are doing individual sessions, then it is very easy to customize the Phase 1 course to your unique level- spending more time on the vocabulary and grammar sets that are less familiar to you and little to no time on the sets you already know.

  • You may also consider trying out a few free trial classes of people in different phases in our program at the time to see what feels like the best fit. Sometimes chemistry with a certain peer can be just as important as considering your own skills to determine the best fit for you moving forward.


The number one contributor to success in language learning is time spent learning the language. So if you want to see noticeable change in your speaking or understanding abilities in Hindi, Urdu, or Punjabi, you first need to consider if you are able to devote a few hundred hours to the process. While minimum gains can be seen (especially in the earlier phases) from smaller commitments, overall becoming an active participant in another language and culture takes significant time commitment. But it should also be enjoyable and we are excited to cheer you on in the process!

It is always an acceptable and even welcomed activity in any GPA phase to use the activities from earlier phases to supplement your current learning. As a Phase 6 learner myself, I learn new words and clarify grammar structures any time I sit in on a language session of an earlier Phase. So while we do want to work with you to make sure you are in a GPA Phase that will maximize your growth, your attitude and what you bring to your own learning each day will make the greatest difference in your outcomes.

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