Thursday, November 29, 2007

Speak correct, O really?

A few incidents (and people) have made me a lot more tolerant to people who have a difficulty expressing themselves in English. People get irritated or scorn at, or poke fun at someone on account of his/her accent. To an extent, fun is fine, but scorn? Hello... We weren't born speaking English, you know?

In India, it is not surprising to see, rather hear, English take a different accent after every 100 kilometers or so of travel.

In Gujarat, the pronounciations are more flat and slack- snacks becomes snakes, sauce becomes sose, hall becomes hole. But the snacks and the sauce in the wedding hall remain as warm and as inviting as the Gujjus, don't they?

Down South, take Kerala for instance, the pronounciations become very yiddy. I mean, each word seems to have a distinct drawl of the 'y' and the 'd' sound in it. Like my friend's mom and dad, they have this endearing accent to their impeccable English. But I still love the dosas and the sambhar, don't I?

Welcome to the East, Welcome to Bengal. Here, people forget the existence of any sound related to 'Va'. 'Ebry thing is bery bery much by the rulebook' in the communist state. The Bangla brothers and sisters often round up their words with an over-pronounced 'O' and they replace words with 'v' often by the sound of 'b'. I love the mishti-doi all the same.

I haven't been to the north much, so can't pin-point an exact accent. But I am sure, even North, and in that too, the different states and the different regions have their own, unique English drawl.

So then, is one type of English accent more correct than the other? And what is the basis of comparision anyway? Is one accent-that perfect convent-bred, the acceptable one and the other, simple, straight and mixed up with a distinct native feel- desi and down-market types?

Has English come to be a status-symbol in India than being a mode of communication? Think about it. And also think, if judgements based on the face-value of someone's accent are fair enough?

Now, why have I written so much about the variables related to English accents in India?
Here you go: 'British-Indian wins discrimination case over accent'

Read up, Enjoy and Think...

Cya till my next post...

-Gauri Gharpure

I wrote one article for The Times of India, one of my favorites, on Gujjus and their sporting spirit, their ability to tide away the accent jokes in a true gujju spirit. It would have been good to reproduce it here, but can't for I seem to have lost the copy. :( I hope this was a read good enough...


16 comments:

zahid said...

Great!!! your frens call you right when they say u r a maker of national integration!!! and i am from andhra pradesh....and i guess people here have fairly normal accent...(Though i dont know which font of accent to call normal) !!!!
cheers till d nxt post !!!

P.S: u r blogrolled!!! chk me up!!!

Arwindh said...

well..that was right said..
even People in different parts of English countries speak different accents..so whats the big deal here anyway..

then..
on my new post..just writing one on my trip to kerala..cudnt find much time in office these days to write..

Deepak said...

Great post....I would regard this post as your best.....English like any other language is used for communication....You could have specific examples sis...
For eg.,
Kerala ppl pronounce office as "O"ffice,Auto as otto...
Bihar ppl pronounce glass as gilass...Anyway cool post....

*Dip* said...

i agree with you.. totally. yes people - the oh-so-propah~ ones do tend to look down upon and make fun of the ones with funny accents..don't know why. i am a north indian, we have a lil punjabi touch which is as endearing as a bengali or a south indian touch. i liked the way you added a sentence about the warmth of the people.. after every example.

you write for TOI? wow, that's nice!

Gauri Gharpure said...

@ Dip ..

hey there, ya i wrote articles for a TOI supplement in Ahmedabad when I ws in college.. it ws fun and it was good exp.. m not with TOI anymore though

thnks for the comments, and ur last post ws cool, i think i said tht on ur blog too.. :)

Bizarre Kid said...

I was here to read your posts but chhotu didn't let me.. hehe! I'm in love with him.. My mouse loves him! hehe

RAJA said...

Great topic!!..i am myself a bong and i am aware of how bongs cn twist the language....altho i dont...hehe.....nd yea i dont deny the fact that everytime i hear a bong speak that way i burst out laughng....u knw it s in the blaadstrem...heheh.

Confusion Confounded said...

hmm hey :) lovely post!!

i have a weird accent myself. i was taught to roll my tongue and skip the 'r' in school.. nw in delhi ppl thought i was making up an accent.. plus m a south indian so genetically i hv a heavy accent..

the only thng that matters is i cn convey my thoughts to d opp prsn.. and thts hw it shud remain with every1..

hugomeira said...

My english is trash.... ha ha ha ha...

Because studed the basic in public high school of Brazil....

Put translate in your blog my friend!

I do too...

hugs..

Remin said...

I aam varry aapy to read uur post. It ease vaarry nice aand wise. I haave forvadead the bloog to aal my friends aalso.
It riyeally is a mirricle how aal people with such a dievarsity can comm-u-ni-gate with each other soo easilly.
I aam sure a-very-one will be aapy to read this bloog. nnjooy !

Gauri Gharpure said...

ha ha ha.... remin... u r tht same smart fellow who teased the hell out of me and reni... thnkssss.... :)

Gaurav Bhardwaj said...

Talking about accents..well my every morning bus ride to campus is interesting.The chinese guy talking in slow meditated process of putting stress on every syllable. American girl talking pretty fast with lot of breaks which seem like radio static sound. The Afro-american guy is talking too but only thing you understand is that he is talking in English. And then comes me, my superfast trashy English with a Haryanvi-Punjabi flavor and everybody says after I am finished saying a sentence,"Can you repeat that?".

But yeah I guess what matters most is that we are communicating!!!

Gauri Gharpure said...

'tht matters the most is tht we are communicationg'

bingo...

Gaurav, u cudnt have penned it better...

The Depressed Doormat said...

Perhaps true, but the fact remains, We, as humans tend to make fun of things that differ from us, and often it's no longer fun for the "victim".

Anyway, I guess the point I would like to convey, is quite simply, that India isn't the only country with a variety of accents. You would find a horde of them even in England! It just goes to show how much respect we have for one another in India; takes segregation to a new level.

As for the link you placed at the end, that has more racial implications than just the trivial matter of an accent. Hence, I think what you have said in your post isn't quite in parallel with that article (though I haven't read it).

As for the comments, though I don't mean any disrespect, I have still to come across one person that has avoided the politically correct things to say, secretly, or not so secretly, most Indians have made fun of another accent. So pardon me if I feel most of this is just a sham!

@Gaurav: I hate to point it out, but if you are repeating yourself every so often, then you aren't communicating as efficiently as you perhaps could/should. It can't be called communication if the other person doesn't understand you. Accent or not!

Gauri Gharpure said...

hello depressed doormat...

thnks for the time u spent writing this lengthy comment. i appreciate that. however, i wish u also had read the article in the link, before implying tht it had more racial hints, than much to do with the accent of the employee who was sacked.

also, right in the begining of this post, i have mentioned, tht fun, to a certain extent is alright, but wht i dont quite like is taking accent and spoken language as a benchmark to judje the person at one go. All of us, unconsciously may make fun or scorn at a wierd accent, but it's imporant to check our assumptions at the right time and proceed with a fair talk.

sourav said...

wow this is one of yr best post

i really liked the name of the topic "speak correct.o really? lol