Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Lord save the Queen and her English

All you guys can cry hoarse and rally for your respective causes like 'terrorists need better weapons'. My latest peeve is against British English, not the Brits mind you…not even Earl Grey Tea.

A conversation I overheard.

Desi guy laying it thick to an American in a very vague accent that is tending towards destruction, ‘Matt, wanna take the lift downstairs?’

Ignorant American shows ignorance, ‘Lift?’

‘Oh, I keep forgetting. Lift is elevator in British English.’

I roll my Indian eyes to the direction of the British Isles. Oh yeah, the British English. A sure way out of these tricky situations. I'm sure Matt ought to be sufficiently awed that Desi is Oxford material. I agree, the Dwyers and the Mountbattens imparted their language some 60-1000 years ago and we follow its nuances to date. But I don’t remember any JK Rowling teaching me in school. Ok, maybe I overreacted. Keep cool and keep overhearing...

Apna desi continues, ‘Where I was ‘borun’, the squirrels had three dark stripes on ‘dear’ back.’

Matt is not only ignorant (regarding squirrel and deer) but is completely confused, ‘Wow! You were a baron? In India?’

‘Oh no! I was not baron, I was borrrn. In India. Birthplace.’

‘Aha! Bon! I see now.’

‘heheh! You see we speak British English.’

And I am the Queen's heir. Bollocks, I say! British English, my left foot! Poor Matt didn’t bother finding out that ‘skweeril’ is actually what he calls ‘skwirl’ and ‘dear’ was not an endearment, but more like ‘their’. Why can’t we Indians take responsibility for our linguistic talents and stop associating ourselves to some higher power (esp. England) just to make some kind of a cool statement? Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) and Britney Spears have more in common than we do.

I will learn the way you Americans or you Canadians or you Telugu people pronounce certain words and make it easier for you to talk to me…but I will never give credit to the Angrez for my broken Angrezi! As I say this, I only hope ‘Wren and Martin’ weren’t British.

Oh wait, there is a bigger issue I have with this pesky little island’s English.
I was having a peaceful lunch at Subway with a friend, not British. She and I were having a rather intense discussion of calories in mayonnaise vs. mustard when all of a sudden she started spluttering and choking, emitting bread pieces in projectiles with mayo of undecided calorie content stuck to the aforementioned pieces. She almost had to be wheeled to the emergency room if I hadn’t swallowed my coke in utter fear. I was to find out that the cause of this melodrama was this man standing at the counter completely unperturbed by the happenings, buying a sandwich. ‘I louve Soobwai” he muttered. Not a hunk of any sort, but a guy possessed with more panache than Tom Cruise for turning heads around. He was a stakeholder to the British accent. In countries other than his own, he has it made. If not for his false teeth that kept slipping off or his wrinkles reaching from neck to chest, my friend might have proposed to him before her husband could arrive to the scene.

‘So?’ I asked her.

‘What do you mean ‘so’?! Ohhhhh…it’s so cute... what a Godsend accent.’ She croons, her heart still pounding hard.

I rolled my eyes (actually they had never stopped rolling from that time) and bit into my sandwich and finished hers too. She could care less while straining her ears in hope that the old man would burp in his accent.

Blind people will follow any stupid fad and patronize any stupid accent just coz so many others will die for it! They made Hugh Grant a celebrity for that same reason. If he had a Texan drawl, he’d be the President of the United States. And seriously, what good is that? Whatever people, I am going to start loving Telugu accented Gult English henceforth. I will make it the latest trend. It gives me the goose bumps, makes my heart tingle…Oooh, lala! (French English, you know)

(Quick update: After being holed in the conference room for a half a day with a Telugu colleague, I completely change my mind about propagating Telugu English. I was eating my knuckles till I suddenly comprehended that ‘Jones’ is not a British surname but actually represents ‘zones’(by that time the meeting was over). Yikesu, Shudderru! I'm off to watch 'Mind Your Language.' That Mr. Brown gives me the weakest knees. On top of it, that getting-on-crutches accent! ..British? ...really?)


star said...

man, I loved Mind your Language!!!
Where are you watching it?? Off tapes?? Pirated copies from aunties in the Isles??? Where??? send them to me!!! ASAP!!!

Hey, btw, are you the same alpha that I know?


VC said...

LOL, ROTFL, LMAO or *Insert any other favourite TLA, FLA, FLA or SLA*

Zoheb said...

I have a suxy accent, so no problemo for me. But aren't you like - supposed to be working at this hour. Kya hogaa chicago ke roads ka.

Patrix said...

You should see Russell Peter's stand up comedy show! Awesome stuff. Desis have never been made fun of like this before.

AmitL said...

LOL.Twin,so,u're also a MYL fan??Same here..I watch it at least once a week to,err,'improve' my English.I'm so glad you don't enjoy going out with snakes for picnics all neatly packed in cartoons.:)

Rash said...

Watch a Salman Khan interview. He alternates between American-Brit-Bandra-somewhere in the shires-accented English. You'll start lurving even Gult angrezi.

colours said...

Oooo... French English .. I love it. So seeexxxyyy...

alpha said...

star: I am watching it in my mind! care to join me..we can play mind games. I grew up watching it amnd hence remember all dialogues. It was a riot and then the made the sucky 'Zaban Sambhalke' in Hindi with Pankaj 'Karamchand' Kapoor. Such a tragedy...had hoti hai!

I am the same alpha if she was more popular than me.

vc: :) FLA, SLA all sund like airport code? Taking off anywhere?

zo patel: It's you I'm rallying against. ..for reminding me of work.

Patrix: Russell is hiularious. I have watched his standup in Chicago. What? He stole my British English stuff?

AmitL: or drink cow juice.

rash: haha..apna salman bhai surely takes the cake. Even Zoheb here experiments with many accents- Gujju, Mallu and nasal.

colors: hmm..i hear abt that too. What makes an accent sexy? I can understand the man being sexy..but the way he speaks? Comon Colours! I can classify accents in two categories- irritating and non-irritating.

garfy said...


I can't really comment! Chances are if I interact with someone long enough I start speaking to the person in the manner he/she speaks! ESPECIALLY if I dislike the person... I will even mimic the accent then!

And the world is divided into Brit english, amer eng, and :) Indian english! >:)

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Ey vat is this yaar.. very worsht i say...making such big big funs of people and trying to be jokey and all

alpha said...

haha! no silly feelings..no jokey..wonly poking fun.
you and all are what- big people wonly..sitting on queen's lap and talking of big big shoes...monolos, it seems!

alpha said...

garfy: Me like that too..see i started talking like shoefiend here. So if I have a rotten accent, it's because of the people I hang out with. I just couldn't hold on to my british accent.

garfy said...

LOL! :P Me neither!

Why is it that people come across the funniest when they are incensed about something? :P

colours said...

Hey Alpha: That was sarcastic.. especially anything associated with French is sexy according to me .. especially the men.. Uhmm any French men out there???

By the way there is another blog attracting more comments than yours ;)

Check it out

JW said...


alpha said...

colors: just stick with your half-sleeve shirts.. The more I find about your fantasies, the less sleep I get. I guess you all have your reasons.

Amir Khan?!!! Woah! Looks like all and sundry are into blogging.

jw: Hiya!

Zoheb said...

Hey, even aishwarya rai blogs.


Ash said...

Nice to see you alive and kicking :D

Arunima said...

whata post praji!!

phatichar said...

Your blogu is so funny, I yam faeling fram my chair only!

hehehe...hilarious alpha..just...too much! And hey, MYL was a fav with me as well.. specially the paki and the sardar always thrashing it out...err..a thaausaand apologies.. :)

Anonymous said...

you always make me laugh....as my dear pc would say in hindi english.......vut A post yaar......or in his brit english....jolly good mate......

JW said...

Alpha : Yah Hai :D!

shub said...

oh i loved miund your language too!!
must say i have a thing for the brit accent thoo...and more than a thing for hugh *sigh* grant!
*running away to escape the wrath of alpha!*

alpha said...

zoheb: let my comment there..I'll be famous yaay!

ash: don't get too fooled abt the kicking part..very soon I will be retiring to laziness again.

arunima: in a good way? in that case..oye balle balle!

phatichar: Thanks, you pappudum!

M: Thank ji...how was your time off?

shub: shakes head in complete belief and notes point for future blackmail.

KJ said...

i loved MYL.
" A thausandddd apologgiiesss SAAR"


Goan Pao said...

Cool take on the accent man...
we freed ourselves from the english but still cant let go of the queens english..even the Brits(no reference to texas institute or the the dancing bimbo) have let go of it now that Master Bill checks their spellings for them...

Lol...I guess MYL should be included in the syllabus for desis with a hangover of their so called queens english...

alpha said...

kayjay! Aaso! Thanks!

goan pao: haha... I would have liked MYL in my syllabus regardless of the hangover!

Twilight Fairy said...

hey wassup? whats that with the 'alpha-2'? (u sound like one of those V-2 (character in desi copy of star trek) types-incidentally V-2 was played by Ahutosh gowariker then)... hows 'THEhealpha' instead :p :)

Twilight Fairy said...

oops.. THEalpha..not 'THE he alpha' :p :)

alpha said...

tf: I might take up on that. thealpha does sound better..should have asked you all for suggestions before i took this dumb alpha-2.

VC said...

or, you could have gone with α.blogspot.com

α said...

vc- i almost ran off to do that... when i realised that keyboards aren't greek. duh! Any other smart ideas?

Twilight Fairy said...

:)..if you ever wanna establish your uniqueness in this copy/paste world, just prefix a 'the' :).. BTW there's a twilightfairy on blogspot too.. though he/she/it took up this space (on blogspot) much later than I did.. :p..

Twilight Fairy said...

another one - how abt alfa? Then you can append one more of 'u' and become an important medicine - alfalfa :)

alpha said...

fairy, you think i havent tried..sab kuch le liye in kambakton ne!

Pleomorphous said...

Jones and Jonesets, I hear them everyday

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