Friday, May 22, 2009

Ingilees or English?

Its been some time since I wrote a thing on English.

Recently the SC ruled out a verdict against the Government of Karnataka that parents had the right to choose the medium of instruction they want their kids to be educated in. Its been a issue for quite a while, while they want to promote local language, certain pro-activists wrongly assume that avoiding English as a medium of instruction can promote their language. Does it ever work that way?

How silly the thought is! Most of the law-abiding citizens who pay their tax regularly, get their money working for some MNCs where English is the language. The government gets its fund from taxes paid by these MNCs, foreign establishments; which uses English and only English. How come that they want the money but not the language that has helped many people find a job. Karnataka's software and service exports would be 44% of the country's total IT and back-end services. The software and back-office services were around $17 billion in 2007-2008.

Why cant the so-called academicians and patrons devise methods that could promote the language without rooting out the other. This is not about embracing a foreign language, but about fighting right. How many of these so called protectionists would be ready to send their kids to a non-English medium schools? Probe and one would know, their kids are safely snugged in a prestigious English-medium schools. Ask them to admit their kids in a school which has no English as its medium and they would back off.

There are so many young people from rural areas who struggle to find a decent job because of their lack of knowledge in English. If they really want to promote the language of their choice, what they have to do is first create equal job opportunities for the people without any bias.

That's one side of the story. But think this way - English has been already mutilated and murdered by us - so what big deal huh?

Ask a South Indian to spell Mango. He would go - Yam Yay Yen Gee Uoh
Or the neighbour who hails from UP is busy with Sadee 'selecsion' for her daughter.
Why cant we 'simbly' ignore this topic and search for some other 'oobtion'?
A Kannada-speaking uncle's son is a 'compooter' engineer in the Bay area with 'Waracallu' (That's Oracle Inc.)
A Tamil-speaking guy will 'bose' for a photo.
And a Bengali will find the 'breej' blowing from the sea very humid.

A receipt (which has to be pronounced as if its RECIT) is a receiPt (the 'p' pronounced magnanimously)
A plumber is a 'plumBer' (Isn't that supposed to be pronounced as in PLUMMER?)

Its an 'Honor' to be invited. (The fact that 'H' is to be silence is ignored)

We are very generous, isn't it? and our generosity amplifies this way too by pronouncing the letters that ought to be silenced.

Its not only with the pronunciation but with the orthography too.
We use the words in literal translation of our vernacular.

So 'chup-chupke' becomes 'simp-simply'. And there's 'Like That Only'.
People always say 'I am visiting my native' and never 'I am visiting my native town'.
'Native' means 'innate', 'elemental', 'domestic'.

Who cares when to use 'the' and when not to use it? How does it matter if I am watching TV or if 'I am watching the TV'? Or if I am on phone or on 'the phone'?

Oh yes, it doesn't matter even a silly with our liberal misuse of conjunctions and prepositions.

Why do we 'travel in the bus'? Instead of 'travel by bus'?
And its always 'waiting for someone' instead of 'waiting on someone'!

And yes, the apostrophe. My favorite - especially while using as a pronoun.
We tend to do something when not required. This is what exactly happens with our cute apostrophe.

Our's is a small flat down the road - or is it

'Ours is a small flat down the road'. ?

So, we have bruised the English enough, without our knowledge. The protectionists are only trying to bury it huh?

Image from

"May its Soul Rest in Piece....Err...Peace"


  1. Excellent. Super. Please add my following contribution. In some parts of North India, "lawyer" is pronounced as "lieyer". Always confuse W with a V sound. For example, "whisky" is pronounced "visky".

    One sad thing. In the 1960s, in Tamil Nadu, there was a huge anti-Hindi agitation and hundreds of people died. A whole generation was brainwashed to hate Hindi language. The leader of that movement is the current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. In 2004, he made his grand nephew an MP from Chennai and later a cabinet minister. When asked what qualification he has got, the CM replied "my grand newphew knows how to speak Hindi".

  2. Thanks for sharing few more 'Ingilees' Mano.

    Oh oh! Did Mr Karunanidhi say that?
    How selfish of people to be. The public has no access but the elite learn it huh? So even to this day, there are people from TN who don't know Hindi. That is very sad. I know a lot of people who find it tough without knowing Hindi, but thank heavens, he didn't deny them English. Else imagine their fate.

  3. Fumy and hamourous post (Oops, that was supposed to be funny and Humorous)

    Well as always with the politico, they have 2 rules. One for them and one for the people. And i presume i know the reason for the engleesh being bent down to its knees by us. When we were ruled by the Britishers,we couldnt fight them,instead we suffered under them. The least we could do is to kick the language we got from them. That's the Hindustani revenge style for you ;P

  4. Hahahaha...A way to take revenge indeed, Prashant. Maybe that's why the British left India for good, they couldn't bear anymore to hear their language mangled each day by us :-P

  5. Just wanted to ask a question. No bad intention. I know you don't use Indian Angraze. My question is: Are you using British English or American English...because I noticed the word "honor" which is very American. In British, it is "honour". Just kidding. ha ha ha

  6. Hi Mano,

    Its mostly American that I use. One reason is the interaction with US folks that we have at work.

    Secondly, "honour" gives a red wavy underline(spelling error) as the dictionary used in all our software is American. So with so much of American English around, naturally I use American now

  7. Hey very nice that you noticed all this stuff. I remember once we were talking about this, right? It is so sad that so many people in TN do not want to learn Hindi. In this globalised world, everyone depends on each other actually. And without the proper knowledge of English, I have seen many of my friends struggle in the corporate world. In your comment, you were talking about what if English was also not encouraged in TN. I cannot imagine the fate. These politicians, they want the funding, the companies to come to Chennai, but how can they expect all this without having a state that can speak our national language!? Tamil is one of the best languages, if you ask me.It is my opinion that knowledge of Tamil along with Hindi and English does not hurt.

  8. Hi Gautam,

    After a long time huh!

    Yes, I remember we talking about it.
    I don't think people in TN have the same idea of "not wanting" to learn Hindi anymore. Few people I know are taking private lessons. They are not ignorant anymore because they know the repercussions of not learning our national language.

    Anyways, yeah as I said, at least English was not denied to them. That has really helped them go places and secure good jobs..bindu

  9. hehehehe

    observation at its best yaar!

    yes aajkal english ka hi zamana hai yaar :)

  10. Thanks AS.....Haan English na jaane tho khallas!!!

  11. as long as the message is conveyed , it doesnt matter even if thera are mistakes in the language

  12. Chriz is right. Once upon a time I was working for an American firm in New Delhi. An American, Jim, asked the mail boy, Lakshman Singh, if there is any mail for him. Lakshman said: Sir, bad weather, no MAC today, tomorrow sir. Then, Bob came and asked Jim if there are any mails today. Jim says: Oh, Lakshman explained in detail. Due to weather conditions at the airport, the MAC flight(military aircraft carrier) could not land. They have diverted the flight to a nearby airport. The mails will be delivered tomorrow when the weather is OK for landing.

  13. Hi Chriz,

    Welcome to b Log. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    You are absolutely right. And its this reason that Indians remain masters in a language that's not their native tongue. Even if each one uses a colloquial/slang or whatever form, their message is conveyed and that's what is important. :-)

  14. Hi Mano,

    Thanks for sharing the incident. As Chriz said, as long as the meaning is conveyed its fine.

    Sometimes, these turn into a humor. I am bringing in humor again to lighten things up. Things like - "I have 2 daughters and both are girls" or "Why are you looking at the money outside the window when I am here". The meaning is conveyed but of course it turns humorous.

    Then, there are things w.r.t orthography. One does not really understand the true intent.
    "I saw an elephant, climbing up the hill" and "I, saw an elephant climbing up the hill".

    These 2 sentences convey entirely different meaning. But its fun!!

  15. Oops typo..Its supposed to be MONKEY and not money in my previous quote.

  16. Loves the example of the mail boy Mano posted... Felt nice after reading it...


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!