pennews
www.pennews.net
Bank on....Inglish
Reminiscence

Bank on....Inglish

Durgadas P.V.

Good Inglish.......

"What's your good name?" is the first question my wife used to ask whenever she meets a child. She is very fond of children. She repeated the same when she came to USA too. The child looked up surprised beyond words.

She had not said anything bad....It was as per our way of using English or as we have been taught to use it. I too make similar mistakes while talking. Let me confide that English is not my mother tongue though I am very comfortable in communicating in that language. The reason is simple. During college days and later on while working, English was the language mostly used in written and oral communication, whenever the mother tongue and/or the national language could not be used. While doing so I made use of certain phrases to convey certain specific meanings.

While using the language, most of the thought process happens in the mother tongue. And later it is put through a router to present it in the English format. Many a time, this process does not eliminate or filter wrong usages and phrases after the translation process and mistakes are thus committed.

Once upon a time, in Trivandrum, there was a physical education instructor (let's call him K) who was very fond of talking in English. But he apparently had not learnt the language well. Nevertheless he used the words in English fluently without any hesitation.

Once he was in the stadium witnessing a football match. He commented that people have come "without hand and Arithmetic" looking at the gallery full of spectators. If Malayalam could adopt the usage "between the devil and deep sea" in toto, why cannot English reciprocate....... he might have thought.....

On another day in college, he reportedly told the principal "the outstanding people are waiting to meet you," as the peon had asked a few visitors to wait outside. Later it became a practice among the students to coin new ones and attribute such bloomers to him. His magnum opus was "Keep quiet. Don't make noise. Principal is passing away...."

I do not blame our K. He had been able to convey the meaning to the listener by means of a few "apt" words. In other words, his communication had been effective. Even those who laughed at K did make many mistakes while using the language. In other words we Indians do use the language in our own way very different from what a true English man would do. When we refer to a place or a building, we use the word "backside" with no hesitation. Advancing any date/time was always referred as "preponing" for ages. The English purists got fed up with our constant usage and recognized it recently. The words like bandh and gherao can be claimed as the great contribution to the language by our militant leftist think tank. If words like guru, masala, curry etc have also been adopted by the English language, so many others like lafda, puja, supari, etc. should also find place in the dictionary soon. Even ‘aiyo’ is an English word now!

My grievance in this regard is that our English Pundits always prefer to be more English than the original English......! The mistakes however unintentional it may be, are being scorned or laughed at by others who claim themselves to be the saviors of the "long live the queen/king " tradition.

A recent message was given out by one Guru based in Coimbatore (V) on the sterling performance of an Indian girl at the International Athletic meets by winning five gold medals. "Hima Das, a golden shower for India, congratulations and blessings..."  One phrase in the tweet did not sound appropriate for the present context. I don't know whether V meant anything bad as it is made out to be. Though the Sadguru has not come out with any clarification in this regard, I am sure he would not have meant anything vulgar or suggestive in that usage. In all probability he might have meant it as “kanaka dhara" which is considered auspicious in the Indian context. Please do not consider this as a eulogy for him. I am not a devotee too.

Here comes the importance of my demand for Inglish. With over 125 million speaking the language in India, we are second only to Americans in numbers using the language for communication. If they can have their own English, with many changes, why can't we have our version of the language.....? Please note that the population of UK is only 67 million much less than the population using the language in India...If the American can change spelling of colour, programme etc, we too can make it more user-friendly.

We have already reverted to the old names of places eg. Mumbai, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, etc. For the sake of Inglish, I have quite a few suggestions. While speaking Inglish the use of words like "you know" and "isn't it" should be permitted at every stage without any restrictions whatsoever.  Regarding spellings my first suggestion will be to (k)nock off k from knife and p from pneumonia. In the office, the superintendent can be called suprandt. Two letters can be reduced to cut the queue to size. The treatment of diarrhoea can start with its name arrested to diaria. To learn the existing spelling of entrepreneur is more difficult than becoming one. Many of our members of parliament struggle to make speeches in English. This also can be made easy by allowing liberal usage of vernacular words in between.

I wish and pray that at least a few of my friends will support me in this regard. I had first thought of naming the new language as Hinglish. But it may not get the support from my Dravidian friends as well as religious minorities. Inglish will be more acceptable from the national point of view.

Can someone endorse my views....? It can create a path-breaking movement in the evolution of a new language....!