Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hey, don I speak English?

I had read about England and Englishmen in the works of Wodehouse, Forster and the likes. I knew all about their stiff-upper-lip, their love for the evening tea, their lack of panic (or emotions) in situations of crisis.

But yesterday, when I met a real Englishman and started conversing with him in his mother-tongue, it suddenly struck me how different our styles are. To start with, I greeted him as 'Hi FirstName' instead of the customary, 'Good Morning Mr. Lastname'. I am not sure how it struck him. All through the day, I found myself using short sentences, incomplete ones too (which is grammatically incorrect), dropping syllables like silencing the 't' in 'dont' and the 'f' in 'of course'. I felt I was using a drawl, which stood out against his crystal-cut accent.

And that is when I realized how all those years of interacting with Americans in the IT industry, all those movies, and the attempts to sound cool and trendy have profoundly distorted the so-called Queen's English that we leant in school. It is now flavoured with the American accent, tempered with its grammar, particulary the verbs (Brazil are a great team/Brazil is a great team), and seasoned with a dash of American slangs.

Do I regret it? Not one bit! Because language should always evolve to survive. It is only when new words are added to it and new intonations get associated with its words, that a language stays relevant. And that, I think, is the very reason why English has such a wide acceptance.

N that reminds me, the next book on my wishlist - 'We are like that only'!


  1. Absolutely thought-provoking and true :)....Could'nt agree more to - "Because language should always evolve to survive.." Its kinda fun to actually interact wid ppl all over the globe and get to knw their styles of talking - gud tat my job gives me such an opportunity :D

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