Friday, October 22, 2004

Ragging fire, child beer .... all in all, a wonderfull post

"Ragging fire causes havoc in Andheri East". Came across the headline on a website and it had me in splits. Hoarding and headings in India can create moments of unintented and unbelievable humour (of course, the guy whose house must have got burned might not agree with me). Ever read a shop advertising 'child beer' or dropped your clothes off at the 'londry' ? If so, then I am not alone and neither are you.

I am wondering if that's what Shiv Sena had in mind when they went to town (pun intended, and Mumbaikars will get it) painting the shop hoardings written in English, in black. With such 'funtastic' spelling, what impression would Aamchi Mumbai put forth?

However, there is a definite charm associated with the travesty of the English language by the ex-colonites(especially the commoners). The Americans have already butchered and simplified the English language to suit their needs, why don't we do the same? Look at the Queen's language. Words like desi, paani-puri etc. are part of the Oxford dictionary. Language is a tool for contemporary expression. By its very nature, it is transitionary. Back in India, the current generation has swept in a new lexicon, and made it really popular. I didn't think I'd hit upon the definition of Hinglish on Wikipedia. Apparently we are not alone. There's Spanglish and Greekish to keep us company. My Hindi is either interspersed with English or Urdu words, and even when it isn't, it is not pure Hindi. It is Bambaiyya Hindi, which thanks to Hindi films, is a nationwide phenomenon. Personally, I like purity in a language. I would love to speak chaste Hindi, or Gujarati or even English (the killer American filler words, 'like', 'so', 'whatever' make an appearance in my sentences once in three days :-( and that is dissapointing), but I have to be really conscious about it.

Anyway, if anyone has any other interesting 'titles' to share, please do so. Till then, 'Happy BonVoyage' (spelt verbatim off a poster outside the Hyderabad airport)

5 comments:

phucker said...

Sigh, as somebody who thinks in English, looking at its (mis)usage can be depressing... I don't have any interesting signs for you, but lots of bad grammar. It is common to use the following terms in India: Softwares, equipments, stubbles. (And I have actually heard somebody say "There is a pain in my stomach-ache!!!!) Eww. And the other most irritating thing is the pronunciation of the letter W. (of course in USA it's dubya, but that's another story...). In India if you pronounce the letter W as "double-yoo" then the person at the other of the phone will write UU. But if you want to make clear that you mean the letter W, then you must pronounce it "dubloo". This comes from firsthand experience, as I live in W-145... the delivery boy kept looking for UU-145 and had no luck...Again, because I have problems taking absolutist positions however, I will say that one of the main reasons for the Indian attempts at spelling is the fact that Indian languages are phonetic, and in that respect logical. There are no silent 'p's or 'w's in Hindi (and I assume other Indian languages). So basically, that's the same reasoning they apply to English. They try and write it like they say it/hear it. Whereas somebody who's been speaking 'correct' English sinch birth looks for set patterns. Any American knows how to pronounce and spell Connecticut. But try explaining WHY the c is silent to some people, or why the 'H' is silent in Thomas. It's an argument that will produce a "pain in your headache", I can tell you! Oh and another all-time favourite is 'U-TRUN Not Allowed' signs. There are LOADS of them all over the Delhi streets. I shall post a pic if I can....

Shiv said...

This just takes me to the days I was reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves - Lynne Truss.

She (the author) was so disturbed and apparently overdid her dismay over punctuation tidbits (much like Karan Johar flicks) throughout the 200-odd pages of her book.

Btw, it wud be no news that the book itself is rife with punctuation mistakes. :-p

Sarita said...

Talking of funny road signs ...you will surely enjoy this one ....

http://signsoflife.goose24.org

Parth said...

Nice one Sarita. I was driving down to San Francisco from Seattle once. There is a small town called 'Weed' en route. I saw this sign that cracked me up completely.

It showed College in one direction and Weed in another (trust me, when you see it and it dawns on you, you will end up laughing your guts out)

Mufasa_NZ said...

test...........