The English Of India

Posted on November 30, 2011 in Specials

By Adeena Jamal:

I speak the Queens’s tongue. I speak Australian and I speak American. Surprisingly, for me it is one language. For the world it maybe three languages, but it is undoubtedly one language. English. Funny however is the accent that can actually differentiate between a set of languages. The demarcation is immense. The effect is mammoth and the origin one. For me colour or color, both remain the same, guess that is the adaptability of the quintessential Indian who have been a colony of the British and are now empowered by the American industry with all the call centers and hundreds of American firms.

Now, India in itself is a country that has a twist of its own. Where the accent and dialect changes every 200 kms, how can an alien language like English be spared? The world is announced that Indians speak the Queens language without an accent, is it so? The North Indians are famed with their spellings errors. Go down a Punjabi dhaba and I swear by the menu card, that you will be delighted to read the most appealing dishes in the most repulsive manner along with several profanities. I remember distinctly sitting outside the Mumbai Airport in a local joint, wherein it amazed me that the Hungarian Noodles were so “Hungaree” , really? When did the egg sandwich become so hilarious to become an eggg sandwitch? The tandoori chicken is now the eternally Tanduri chikan? Ha!! I mean a delicacy to a clothing? That soon?

And the accent itself will probably make you roll on the floor. I had a home science teacher in the convent school I studied at. After tasting an oriental dish from my mother’s old and dusty recipe book, she looks up to me and inquisitively questions in a quintessentially gujrati tone ,“Have you added paper in this?” Now on several baffled looks, and weird stares, all of us burst out giggling because she was actually talking about pepper and not paper!

And the surprising thing is the set of Indians who go to English Speaking country love their new found accent, and embrace it wholeheartedly. And the end result is a jumbled up concoction of accents that are indeed funny. And they do flaunt it. Oh yeah!

We have heard “You come, I go.” So have we been witness to the several jokes on English accent. However, what is amazing is that it is we Indians who are actually, amongst the largest call centre employees who speak primarily in English. And they are not ashamed. In fact, there is a glimpse of pride in Indians who actually are making efforts to learn the lingo at several English teaching institutes that have mushroomed over the country. OR, maybe let’s wait and watch to see where we take Hinglish to.

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Harsha D

The sense of pride is perhaps the only logical explanation for Kolaveri being a rage.

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