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Friday, November 11, 2011

The Correct Pronunciation


Two Indians -- a North Indian and a Maharashtrian -- were fighting about how 'either' should be pronounced. North Indian said it should be pronounced as 'आइदर'. The Maharashtrian said it should be 'ईदर'. That's when a Tamilian passed by. So, both decided to ask him. The good-natured Tamilian thought for a while, and said, 'यइदर will do!'

Morale of the story: No point trying too hard to get rid of your local accent.

We, particularly Indians, work so hard to sound like British people (now Americans, of course) when it comes to speaking in English. Is it needed? If you look around, people from every country have their own accents. No one seems to fret so much as Indians do about their English. Nothing wrong in wanting to use a language well. But the unfortunate thing is, we end up thinking too much about being indistinguishable from the originators of English in terms of accents.

We should remember that the only way of enriching a language is by using it in ways other than how their originators did. The only inviolable rule of using a language is that it should communicate what you wish in the way you wish. Everything else is a dispensable trait. Various accents, particularly in India, makes language usage really interesting. Should we emphasise too much on making them all sound similar?

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Dr. Valli Rao for providing the above thought.

10 comments:

Lalit Patnaik said...

Hilarious anecdote indeed! On a serious note, people today tend to give far too much importance to the covering than to the substance. Sad but true.

BWG said...

Have you heard of "neutral accent"? That's another one of our inventions.

Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti said...

Very true BWG. No such thing exists in my view. There are only 2 natural accents: articulate and inarticulate.

tnc said...

:D

Anonymous said...

I do believe you should learn the pronunciation from the makers of the language, and hence the brits. I would bangla from a bengali and bhojpuri from a bihari. So, i do guess, i would ape the brit without giving up my cadence.
sks

navneet said...

Good thought...

Pritesh Ananth Krishnan said...

Hmmm.........an interesting thought. I treat it how I treat Ananth's cooking. KNOW the recipe from the original place (if there IS such a thing) and then try innovations. Boondi raita with grated carrot in it is NOT a North Indian variety and it won'e become one, no matter what. Chaat with grated carrot and peas in it will be hated by people from Delhi.

I hold the same view about language and pronunciations. Though within England itself, there are likely to be many accents, it may be a good idea to 'know' (if not use) the pronunciation. :)

Suvarna said...

Thanks sujit. I used.to feel bad when ppl made fun of my marathi accent. for ex if i refer pen they will make fun as it seems sounds like pain. Till today am confused abt its correct pronounciation. your blog boosted confidece.

Anoop said...

i believe it is fine till it becomes so different to get a new meaning altogether.

Badmotorfinger said...

Interesting... But i would prefer to differentiate a 'clean sheet' from a 'clean shit' , a 'curtain' from a 'carton' and a 'bit' from a 'beat'. Trust me, all these are from my own experience!