Monday, November 23, 2009

Language biff-bash

Lighter side of language bashing. Nothing Thackerayesque here ;)

English vs Kannada (ah, the controversial topic) came up recently, when we were at a wedding over the weekend (me and 2 other friends-I'll call them Quiz master a.k.a Pyaaz Kaatke and the C dude - no points for guessing who they are) and the conversation drifted to the aforementioned topic.

Quiz master: Accha, C dude, fiancé ka spelling batha..
C dude: f i a n c e
Quiz master: Woh 'e' nahin, 'é' hain. 'e' ke upar ek tilak
C dude: Kya baat kar raha hain? (He fished out his iPhone with a flourish, opened the dictionary and searched for the word) Arrey you are right man (pause) But there are two words here: fiancé and fiancéé
Me: Haan. For different genders. One is pronounced fiancey and the other fiancei
C dude: Nahin. Pronounciation is same for both. See..
Me: (trying to recover) Ah.. It's a word derived from French. In French, if you add le before a word it's masculine; if you add la it's feminine. But English has no such distinction, hence they have extra é (a.k.a e with tilak)
C dude: What a stupid language. Indian languages are much better..
Quiz master: English is like that because it's not rule based, it's practise based. Let's take another word - spell Django
C dude: I give up
Quiz master: It's d j a n g o
C dude at this point made a statement that was almost a copy of Dharmendra's go = ಗು  dialog of Chupke Chupke. I remembered that he had once told me his name should actually be pronounced as rhyming with cream. I shuddered..
Quiz master: ?!?
C dude: That is why I call it a stupid language. We have no such problems in Kannada
Quiz master: Ok.. Let's go and wish the couples
Me: phew

Basher bashed:
Long long ago, I had a friend who's favourite topic was(guess, guess) English vs Kannada. He is rumoured to have asked an English teacher a question that stumped the lady completely, and  made sure she reserved the lowest marks in her subject for this guy. He also asked that question to a lot of other people mercilessly. My turn came one day.. He asked me: ನೆಹರು ಭಾರತದ ಎಷ್ಟನೆಯ ಪ್ರಧಾನ ಮಂತ್ರಿ? Translate this to English.. Heh he!!

Gears turned in my brain and out this came: If one were to prepare a list of Prime Ministers of India, sorted on the order in which they swore in, what position would Nehru occupy on that list?

Bash that!!


  1. Awesome man. I think this happened on the eve of her marriage. The same day C-Guru elaborated his project.

  2. Exactly :)
    What bhayankar logic he proposed that day, huh? I thought the project elaboration event occurred another day. But you may be right. After-all he has subjected all of us to a lot of such elaborations...

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