1) I've decided to start teaching myself Bengali, and because I'm broke and this is the only program my library has I'm using William Radice's Teach Yourself Bengali. But I've already hit a hurdle: he claims the inherent vowel sounds like the "o" in the British English "hot." I'm American, so I'm not really sure what this sounds like except that it probably sounds different from the way I say it so I was wondering if anyone had any good examples of it/a better explanation for it. I know what an inherent vowel is, but I just don't know how to pronounce this particular one.
2) I graduated from college in May of '07 after taking four semesters of Hindi, which means my Hindi's good (not great). I was wondering if anyone knew of any good mid-level Hindi grammar books I could look into because I know my grammar's decent but not perfect. I've been watching Hindi movies to try to stay in practice, but those aren't really teaching me the advanced grammar that I feel like I should have.
3) And while we're on the subject of Hindi movies, I was wondering if anyone knew what "Kola Laaka Vellari" meant. It's the name of a song from the Hindi movie Welcome, but the subtitles just translate it as "Kola Laaka Vellari." I've tried looking the words up in several dictionaries but two of them don't seem to be in them and I'm totally stumped. So...anyone know what they mean?
4) I'm really interested in reading about language politics in India. I was wondering if anyone had read any books on the topic and if they had any recommendations.
Thanks in advance!