Doesn’t the title piss you off? Doesn’t those three words (er, letters) make you wanna rip your hair out and scream out in agony? Doesn’t those three seemingly harmless group of alphabets make you cry out against the injustice meted out to a glorious language – a language that has survived from the start of the previous century (and probably much earlier if we can believe the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle) and has been passed on from one generation to the next like a carefully preserved and prized family heirloom, only to be raped and hacked into little bits and unrecognizable letters like the title above?
Well, this was a text message I received this morning, which promptly put me in a foul mood. I was reading an article yesterday in Deccan Herald about the dominance of Indian English or “Indish” over the Queen’s English, and traces the reasons for Indish being as crappy as it is. Excerpts from the article:
[…] David Crystal’s crystal-gazing could not possibly apply to the various regional accents — probably as numerous as the main languages of India — which imbue Indian English. For instance, a Keralite, a Bengali or a Maharashtrian speaking on the phone can generally be ‘placed’ by his intonation of English – unless he has attended one of the ‘convent’ schools- where the spoken English is closer to the Queen’s English. […] Crystal more likely has in mind syntactical Indish, as in the omission of the definite article ‘the’ and the use of ‘we’ for ‘I’, e.g., ‘we are going to office’; and the omission of ‘or’ in a phrase like ‘two, three persons’.
The more outré usages such as ‘you only told me like that’, or ‘my head is eating circle’, or the ‘big, big’ double-barrelled adjectives used for emphasis are evidently not in the running for global usage. These are close translations of the vernacular.
Indian English manifests itself chiefly in the oral form rather than in writing, which reaches a larger audience. ‘Indish’ now includes arbitrary plurals such as ‘furnitures’. ‘You people’, is often used to mean ‘more than one person’ (a translation of aap log) but can carry racial or belittling overtones. Commonly used translations of Hindi phrases are ‘Close the light’ (for ‘switch off the light’) and ‘Will you take tea?’ (for ‘will you have tea?’)
A mixture of English and Hindi results in such expressions as ek minute, maska-fy (verb formation from maska or butter); and ‘Masaala-movie’ (hotchpotch movie). ‘Pass the time’ has resulted in a compound adjective, as in ‘time-pass movie’.
I think it’s about time people wake up to the fact that a language is alive only as long as its not hacked and killed. Ah well, at least I’m happy that there are a few sane people left in the world who cringe when someone texts them “Wr R U?”