Tag Archives: language

Alphabet soup…………..

Just in case you don’t remember every single post I write – here is a link to how numbers are “said” in India. It was called double oh seven.

Basically, for the number 911 – you would say nine double one. Sounds simple enough, right? Maybe not so much.

Well, today I learned that the alphabet can be equally confusing.

My name has a couple of “double” letter sets and one “w”. Which apparently can be easily confused with double “u” – although I have never seen a double “u” actually used anywhere.  (Well maybe in the word vacuum – but I was not calling a vacuum shop – I was calling a lab for blood work. Not exactly the same same. And, yep, I will fill you in on how I have become a science experiment very soon.) Just to make it more fun, my name only has one type of letter of the vowel persuasion – there are 5 of them – and they are all the same vowel. So in the 11 letters in my name, there are lots of repeats. In fact, in those 11 spaces, there are actually only 5 different letters. Yep, lots of repeats.

Does that make it hard to spell your name on the telephone to someone whose native language is Hindi? Of course it does. (Honestly, it wasn’t that easy in the U.S. either because my street name has all the same problems as my name.) But throw in accents – mine and theirs – and it gets a wee bit harder.

My big challenge today was to explain that it is “w” not double “u”. It doesn’t seem like it should be that hard – does it?

Oh, my friend, I blog to differ……………..  😎

Could you spell that please?

I am no stranger to people not understanding me. I was born in South Carolina and lived in the somewhat deep south until 4th grade. We moved to Germany for 5th grade and sometimes people did not understand what I was saying – I had me a twang. For 7th grade we moved to Georgia – minus some of the twang – I had lost most of it – and some of my words seemed odd and, strangely, less accented.

Six years in Georgia fixed that quite nicely. Pass me a mint julep. Pretty please. And then off to college I went. Up North.  Well (just barely) south of the Mason Dixon line. But North is in the eye of the beholder.  It was in a very diverse area but an area with no real accent of its own. Enter my southern drawl. Could you spell that please – I heard that more than once and it seemed so insulting. Doesn’t everyone say PEEEEEEnuhhhhts, puh leeeeees?

Then there was the time I went to visit my cousin in Wyoming. Play me some mountain music, Hillbilly. The friends of my cousin laughed so hard at my accent that their sody pop came right out of them their noses. I cried for over an hour. They were not tears of joy.

So moving to India and hearing the different accents hasn’t been too hard for me. I can sympathize. I just slow down my ears and listen up real good. It is really amazing, even the Americans here are from all over the world. It is the United Nations of Accents.

Last week, I started taking Hindi lessons. Okay, I have had one (ek) lesson. But I have been trying out some of my new words.

It turns out I still have me a funny little accent. The three Indian men in my daily life, Raju, Ravi, and Kahn all have a hard time understanding just exactly what it is I am trying to say. When they slow down their ears – they can understand most of it. It is a lesson in slow for all of us.

I was leaving to go to the market the other day and Raju and Ravi taught me how to say goodbye – ta ta. Sounds like Tigger – hey, I can remember that. I can even spell it.

Then they tried to teach me how to say “take me to” Defence (this is not misspelled – remember the British influence here) Colony market. I don’t even remember the words they tried to teach me because I am blocking this from recent memory. They told me – I practiced – they laughed – I made them pinky swear they weren’t teaching me to call our driver a jerk – and I practiced again.

Then I got in the car

Me: Kahn and then “what (I thought) they taught me to say”
Kahn: Ma’am?
Me: Doesn’t that mean “I want to go to Defence Colony Market”?
Kahn: Ma’am?
Me: What did I just say?
Kahn: Defence Colony Ma’am?
Me: Okay. Defence Colony Market it is. Can we go there?
Kahn: Yes Ma’am.

Then our driver explains the market to me. He’ll park here and wait for me here. There are two sides. You go down the right and then come back up the right. He’ll wait here. Here is where he will be. Waiting for me. Ma’am.

Okay, it is not lost on me that he could not understand “I want to go to the market” but he could completely explain the market to me. Maybe I am just language retarded. Maybe falling out of a swing when I was little and hitting my head on cement really was something to be a wee bit more concerned about.

My teacher is coming back on Monday and you can be sure, my first lesson will be – I want to go to…….

Ta Ta.

Please do the needful……..

This is the sticky note that number one hubby gets on his desk sometimes. “Please do the needful.” It really means – do this or, usually, sign this. But the Indian people seem so polite that they almost make it sound poetic. Maybe it makes you want to be more helpful.

When I call India, I call through an operator. S/he is always so polite – “please be on the line, please hold the line”. Really, no wonder we sought out the Indian people for call centers!

So, I am looking forward to hearing all the different ways that English can be used. It makes me slow down and listen too – I need to do that. Accents can be heavy – and I am sure they will feel the same about mine. But I cannot wait to hear and maybe even adopt some of their expressions.

One other thing that was very fun to see was this…

img_5361

If this is how they treat t-shirts, imagine how they treat people. These are my husband’s t-shirts – I am sorry, undershirts. They aren’t even t-shirts. And they are treated with such care. Yes, you are seeing this correctly – they are indeed wrapped in clear plastic, with clips and cardboard support. Believe you me, they do not look like that when I wash them! India, here we come!

My own personal post it note also says “please do the needful.” I am off to pack. Ta Ta for Now. And yes, Please hold the line.