November 19, 2007

Prince kisses chuddies

Via Yahoo News:

Extolling what he called the 'splendidly unstoppable' South Asian contributions in Britain, Prince Charles, the heir apparent to the British crown, told a dinner thrown for 200 Asian guests at Windsor Castle that the word 'chuddie' - Punjabi word for underwear - is here to stay in the English language.

'I must say I am constantly struck by the fact the Britons of every origin in fact share more in common than they think,' Charles said in his speech to the celebrity guests at the gala dinner. 'The sharing of language is a further case in point. The most well-known examples are probably 'bungalow', 'verandah' and, indeed, 'shampoo'. And more recently, 'chuddies' seemed to have crept into the English language - if that is the correct way to put it,' he told guests who included actor-couple Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal, cricketer Saj Mahmood, author Vikram Seth and actor Art Malik.

A day after Hindus anointed Prime Minister Gordon Brown as Govardhan Brown on Diwali at the House of Commons, Charles' mention of 'chuddies' at Windsor Castle - his mother Elizabeth II's 900-year-old official residence - risked lowering the tone of celebrations a bit. But it was an occasion for humour and the British royal made his risque reference fully aware that it was Bhaskar and Syal, the creators of the BBC comedy series Goodness Gracious Me, who first put the word 'chuddie' in the lexicon of the evolving English language. The word became famous after Bhaskar and Syal coined the phrase 'kiss my chuddies' in their serial. And in 2005, it was officially entered into the Collins English Dictionary.

November 05, 2007

All About G.V. Desani

A comprehensive site dedicated to the author of All About H. Hatterr. The links under 'Talking Points' will lead you to some interesting articles, including a brief note on a theatrical adaptation of Desani's comic masterpiece titled 'Damme, This is the Oriental Scene for You!'

Twisted Tongues

Ketan Tanna reports on the current trend of 'accent neutralization' ( Freedom from mother tongue, The Times of India, 30 September 2007):

Most Indians speak English with the peculiar sounds of their mother tongues. 'When' often sounds like 'ven' and 'vine' becomes 'wine'. We also tend to speak fast without stretching the vowel sounds. In Orissa and other parts of eastern India, b is freely used for w and v, while across the South, prize sounds like price, and rise sounds like rice. Gujaratis and Rajasthanis make 'wis' out of wish and their 'shirts' are 'sirts'. And a marriage hall is, poignantly or prophetically, "marriage hole". Maharashtrians threaten to become 'voilent' and not violent. And those from MP and UP have a perpetual problem with starting a word with 's' even if they have been to the 'eskool'. There is, however, a cure. And increasingly, Indians are seeking this cure.

In the last few years, it is not just BPO employees who have been learning to speak correctly but also scores of housewives businessmen, senior citizens, middle level executives and many more who cannot be described. They are taking the help of voice trainers to get rid of various flaws in how they speak English.
Meanwhile, there are those who feel that its time western executives learnt their way around Indian accents. Here's Razib Ahmed's 10 Reasons why you should learn an Indian Accent.

(via Many Englishes)

Gloriously Impure and Back in Print

The New York Review of Books will bring G V Desani's All About H Hatterr back into print this month. Please go out and get yourself a copy of this classic immediately. If you need a reason, read the reviews compiled here or this excerpt from Anthony Burgess' introduction: is the language that makes the book, a sort of creative chaos that grumbles at the restraining banks. It is what may be termed Whole Language, in which philosophical terms, the colloquialisms of Calcutta and London, Shakespeareian archaisms, bazaar whinings, quack spiels, references to the Hindu pantheon, the jargon of Indian litigation, and shrill babu irritability seethe together. It is not pure English; it is, like the English of Shakespeare, Joyce and Kipling, gloriously impure.