The author of this blog stopped writing here long time back. The posts published here embarrass her now. And hence, there is very little chance that she is going to write here again.

This blog is hence declared to be in a state of COMA.

Indians and English- WAY TO GO!!!

Before i begin, I'd like to share with you this popular scene from the Hindi movie "Namak Halaal", that very well illustrates the object of the discussion henceforth.

So here it goes...

Assuming that you just saw it OR didn't see it coz you have already seen it before OR whatever it be, (how does it matter anyway), I now move on with my words....

" Indians and English- WAY TO GO!!! ", so says the title of this post. Seriously, the way Indians seem to simply ADORE the language that entered our country with the Brits but refused to leave with them, English, it seems will always be the 'in' thing. And so we see here, there and everywhere, the limbs of the language being ruthlessly (read 'amusingly') pulled apart by the innocent 'common man' of our society, as projected in the scene above.

There are arguments and discussions galore, making comparisons between American, British and Indian English. Whatever you say, whatever be the technicalities, Indian English surely has its own stand, it is unique in its own way. And that is mainly because Indian English isn't just English, but depending on the region, cultural and educational background of the person, it contains noticeable splashes of Hindi, Punjabi, Haryanwi, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam or any other jewel of the rich linguistic heritage of our country, which imparts it a characteristic  flavor, a bit of spice, a bit of humor and ofcourse, a tint of differentness. 

A PROPER "well-acquainted-with-the-rules-of-grammar", English speaking Indian, I feel, has a better accent than his foreign counterparts. We people (pardon me if I am wrong but I include myself in 'we' without any second thoughts :P) I propose, speak in a more lucid manner, with the words having better clarity of speech as well as of expression. 

What I am interested in talking about, is a flavor that each one of us adds to the language, owing to our own regional trends and also, the way Indians seem to be obsessed with the language, including those who know it and those't.

I remember my high school English teacher narrating a small incident while talking of something of this sort. She was telling how, when she was once on a rickshaw with her two daughters, the two young girls were striving to give directions to the rickshaw wala( the rickshaw puller). Like even I used to think, they too thought that the poor, illiterate man wouldn't be able to understand a single word of English. So they were trying to use only Hindi words for giving directions. But like many other kids, they too weren't able to clearly distinguish between dayen (right) and bayen (left). Irritated by their changing, confused directives, the rickshaw wala finally said, "arrrrey madam aap seedhe seedhe kyun nahi bolte, right ya left!!" 

Besides, Indian accents vary so widely and so interestingly. As I said, the region that the person belongs to, the mannerisms followed there, the backgrounds, these kinda things do create an impact. So you see some trends like these:-

I remember my Chemistry school teacher, who was Tamil, messing up on a lot of words, which was rather a source of fun for all of us. So when she said 'ellow' when she actually meant 'yellow' OR when the the chemical formula of water ('waaater') became 'hech two wo' = H 2 O courtesy her OR when the spectral series named "Paschen series" came to be called as "Pachchan series" and so on, all of it spelled 'fun' for us. [*wink*] 

Then the people from U.P, in particular Bihar, they too have a typical accent. I remember my Physics professor creating a laughter riot in our class during his lectures that were more FUN than knowledgeable. So with him, 'one' became 'bun' ; 'oscillations' became 'oxcilations' and still better, 'waves' became 'babes' and hence, sir himself came to be known as बेब्स वाले सर (the 'sir of babes' :P). I clearly remember one of his statements highlighting the importance of the subject of 'waves and oscillations' that he taught us. He said, "this topic is bhery important. कहीं भी चले जाओ, बेब्स तो आपको देखने को मिलेंगी ही, which, IRONICALLY translates to, "wherever you go, you will always get to see waves (babes :P)". The other day,  my sister amusingly asked me, "do you know how to draw the baby curve?" and I said,"what on Earth is that?". We both laughed off when she told me that it was the Mathematical tool of 'wavy curve' that she was talking about and 'baby curve' was what their Mathematics sir at the institute said. 

The 'rounding up'/curling effect on words is pretty much evident in a Bengali's way of talking.

Similarly, no matter how sophisticated he/she might be, you can be certain of finding a typical rawness or taporipan woven into the way of talking of a Mumbaite. Delhi people too have an attitude of their own that shows up somewhere or the other. 

When it comes to culturally richer regions of the likes of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh etc or somewhere from East India,  you can be sure of getting an idea of where the person belongs to. And mind you, this holds true for most people, even celebrities, as you may notice. 

Sorry if I sound messy, my attempt was only to illustrate my point as well as possible.

and PLEASE! I beg you, do NOT be offended, there's nothing ill that I mean by this. Frankly, I see this as something that's not just humorous but beautiful too. It only projects the cultural, geographical and linguistic variety of our country, which is an asset, rather. Ultimately, we are not English, we are the people of India, a country that spans from snowy hills to tropical regions as we move North to South, scorching deserts to rainy lands as we move from West to East. And with this great geographical variation, we come endowed with an equally fascinating cultural diversity.
So, with thousands of different languages being used in various parts of the country, it is BUT-OBVIOUS that somewhere or the other, the basic linguistic background of the person will show up in his regular speech, which is nothing to be embarrassed about. 
Ofcourse, with regular practice and proper educational training, we can over come these modifications too. (I refuse to call these 'flaws', OK?)
Hamka bhi sikhao babua....

But then, we are Indians, our mother language is Hindi, so if a FOREIGN language, even if it's our own official assistant language, English, is attaining a new form of it's own in every hook and corner of our country, WHY BOTHER?

It is the depleting importance of our own mother language, Hindi, which should be a matter of greater concern. No, it's been too long now, let's leave this for some other post. 

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Tanay June 13, 2010 at 11:46 AM  

I like the way you do your research while writing posts. Maybe that's what takes up all the time.

A language should be no more than a means of communication. Its only grammar-obsessed hypocrites like you, I and loads of other people who point out errors so readily and enthusiastically. The tampered forms our English, or even Hindi, for that matter, take, is funny, nonetheless.

Here's a list of my observations on English accents:
Most Royal accent - The London English
Laziest and most irritating accent - Pakistani
Ugliest accent - Carribean
Most un-understandable - French
Most stupidly-stylish accent - American
Most beautiful accent - The London and the Irish
Proudest accent - Australian
A rare accent with circular curvatures - Bengali
Funniest accent - Japanese
Weirdest accent - South Indian
Most illiterate accent - Bihari (myself being one ;P , though, not a Bihari by my English accent; since I speak more Hindi than English, whenever I use English, it touches the British way of speaking in a way, since that's the way I have taught myself mentally, ever since I got interested in phonetics)
The most un-English accent - French (I mean, its as if they are still speaking their own language)
Most comical/amusing accent - Yorkshire accent

Huh. Thats too much. I HAD to put this list down somewhere in written, lest I forgot. It has been revolving in my mind for years now.

SUGANDHA June 13, 2010 at 12:26 PM  

:P The word 'research' looks like a joke, as you use it for my posts in your comment above, particularly AFTER the list you gave above. Mine is mere observation, an attempt to present little incidents that i found funny somewhere in real life, hoping that they would look interesting in written text too.

And about people like us who point out errors when language ought to be no more than means of communication, well i don't think there's anything wrong with that. When the rules of a certain language are designed, they are meant to be followed, not that they really ARE, by all or always, but still, without those rules we cannot expect even a bit of homogeneity in the language's usage. So it's quite logical that a person who knows some of those rules, will not be able to help it but point it out when someone makes an error with any of those rules.
And the tampered form, i agree, is funny but as i said, it's cherishable, given the fact that it only projects our diversity. :)
And that's a great set of observations indeed. I wouldn't have been able to make a single word out of it, had it not been for a bit of Omegling. You must put this list on your blog too. :)

Appu June 26, 2010 at 1:00 PM  

Nice attempt. Well, been lived in various States of country like Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, Bihar...I can easily understand what you are portraying. English is global medium of communication. But because of being from hindi speaking state of Rajasthan and been educated in Hindi medium school, I was never really fasinated by this language

Yes, English in all parts of India gets a touch of religious harmony and the regional language. But it is true for all other languages. Like Hindi also is spoken in different accents in different parts. But yes, we speak any language grammatically correct than any other country. And that thing makes me feel proud.

Different people have different attitudes over this language. Like if you go to delhi, delhi people have that 'attitude' thing in their speaking. But if you go to rural areas, you would feel little nervous speaking English before those people. The language is same, but where we use it, changes everything.

NIPUN CHAWLA October 15, 2010 at 5:04 PM  

That was so funny..the bihari maths teacher incident just took me to a baby curbh.

i was literally laughing after reading that XDDDD
i see it is an old post and wonder how i missed that??
but very nicely written...and then when i was expecting a boring ending in the revival of hindi...u just left it for another post...thats another funny element.

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