November 05, 2007

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)

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