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View Diary: Origins of English: Hindi Words (122 comments)

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  •  The British comedy show Goodness Gracious Me (44+ / 0-)

    did a funny sketch on this. It was a running gag where the Indian dad claimed basically everything was of Indian origin.

    "I smoke. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your fuckin' mouth." --- Bill Hicks

    by voroki on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 02:53:36 PM PST

    •  very good.. lol.. (I lived in India many years ago (20+ / 0-)

      and now live in Ireland... and still all these years later, India, Indian history/society and Indian accents are all side interests of mine...

      When I lived in India back in the early 60s I first heard the Peter Sellers albums with his Indian accent and the song that he did with Sophia Loren that this show got its name from "Goodness Gracious Me"...
      and as far as for the TV sitcom.... the whole reaction to the English take on India and the accent & culture turned around and driven from the Indian heritage point of view with this show is marvelous.

      And English and India is a whole extra dimension...  our servants in Bombay (as it was then) all were from different parts of India and the only common language they spoke was English... and "Hinglish" today is a phenomenon too... a different evolving dialect.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 03:59:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Funny thing is Sanjeev Bhaskar, the dad in (9+ / 0-)

        this sketch, has to put on that accent because he has such a british accent, as did all of the British Indians in that show.

        "I smoke. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your fuckin' mouth." --- Bill Hicks

        by voroki on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 04:12:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I went to an English Indian private school (29+ / 0-)

          in Bombay... and there was a definite but unspoken rating of accents by students and teachers... and some of the Anglo English teachers (and even Actual British teachers) could be witheringly derisive with kids whose accents were too "Indian"...

          One boy was reading a social studies text aloud and said what sounded like "Fer Nature"... he was reading the word "Furniture"... the kid withered under the derisive response by the teacher...  the teachers there could be cruel verbally but they were equally that way with all of us at times. My geography teacher was not pleased when I tried to say that "Niagara falls" was not pronounced Naya - Gara falls"... I learned quickly not to question their authority and the accuracy of what they taught... (the text books were often woefully out of date back then)

          Another time we were reading the poem "The charge of the Lght Brigade"... and the teacher took GREAT exception to the way one boy said

          "Cannons to the right of them, cannons to the left of them WOLLIED and TUNDARED"... (Volleyed and Thundered)
          As usual the kid was quickly humiliated by the teacher for sounding too "Chee chee"...

          And in my younger brother's class... the Anglo English teacher (Mr Dexter) he of the pointy shoes and severe little mustache and VERY proper accent was ferocious dduring a reading of the Walter De La Mare poem "Matilda"...

          the line a boy read out as

          "And vud have done so had not she discoured dis infarmatee"
          really set him off... smack went the ruler... read again with the same result... and no exhortation or encouragement could get the poor boy to pronounce "infirmity" in a way that would mollify the teacher... My brother and I often had stories to swap from our day to day experiences there... it was never dull.... scary sometimes but more often baffling or funny.

          This was a very prestigious school by the way... quite a few famous people went there at one time or another... Including a very well known US commentator of Indian origin... but he was there well after me.

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

          by IreGyre on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 04:40:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  When was this? Sounds like something from (7+ / 0-)

            the colonial era.

            •  1961-1963... India only independent in 1947 (18+ / 0-)

              only 14 years before. The headmaster at the time was still English... Mr. Gunnery was his name... I think 1962 was the last year of his time there and his successor was Anglo-English. The place was run exactly like the English India day school it had been only there were only a handful of English English students... and a couple of actual British teachers... and a Swiss woman for French.  But a large number of the teachers were Anglo-Indian with English surnames but were all Indian born... and yet the links to England still were there and some graduates went to Oxford or Cambridge... I guess the coursework got more serious and up to date in the higher grades (standards they were called... I was in 6th and 7th standard when I was there) I mention that because the textbooks in the school we used in my classes were mostly Indian reprint editions of older British Colonial era texts... the oldest was the Maths book which was first published in 1914... (this was a later edition... many editions since the first one but you had to wonder just what exactly was updated in it... math may be universal but ways of teaching it and the format of the questions does)... the social studies book with stuff on the USA was astonishingly out of date in certain ways. The science text was also a bit out of date and sparse... Geography seemed OK... we did a lot of maps in our copybooks...
              We had chapel/assembly every morning and though few were Christian... mostly Hindus fewer Sikhs with a few Parsis and some Indian Jews too... we all sang a hymn said the lords prayer etc. (and the oddness of a Hindu fellow next to me reciting "Forgive us this day our daily bread" )... And the Englishness extended to the school song which used the tune of the Harrow boat song (which I never knew at the time) but I still can recall the words to it... and sing it in an Indian accent.

              Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

              by IreGyre on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 07:27:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Wow, very interesting! Thanks! (7+ / 0-)

                I asked especially because I recently read a Kenyan novel that described the exact same thing--some dozen years after independence, the schools still had Brits in them trying to maintain the former glory and doing the same kind of things that you describe.

                The novel, btw, was Petals of Blood by Ngugi wa Thiong'o.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              •  How wonderful! (7+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ojibwa, IreGyre, ER Doc, spooks51, DvCM, aliasalias, Anak

                What are your views on Kipling? I know he's supposed to be out of favor, but his stories of the people and the Raj attempting to cope with India made me fall in love with the country.

                Got to see it awhile ago. Everything he promised and more.

                This boy is Ignorance and this girl is Want. Beware them both, but most of all beware this boy for on his brow I see that written which is Doom.” ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

                by nolagrl on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 09:37:49 PM PST

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                •  My childhood Kipling was Jungle Tales & Kim (7+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  golem, Ahianne, ER Doc, DvCM, GreyHawk, Ojibwa, Anak

                  did not get to see his supposed Empire booster side until later... and I get that he was not a one dimensional jingoistic Queen and Country man and that he had a more nuanced take on things that also included reproaches for that side of the British world view...

                  I do enjoy all of his work and find his voice and stories/ poems to be evocative and thought provoking tool... Recessional and so many more of his works are both powerful and the source of a lot of argument over his meaning

                  Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

                  by IreGyre on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:46:25 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Interesting (9+ / 0-)

            I was talking to an elderly Native American woman who had gone (been forced to go) to what she called "English school" on a reservation. The treatment she described for mispronouncing words sounded exactly the same.

            •  Well at least in this school they taught (9+ / 0-)

              the kid's own language as well as English. The school also taught Hindi as an extra class to all students except foreign ones (we went to "Non-Hindi"... that was the name of the class... busy work in English)... and then all the kids had an elective - most Indian kids took one of Marathi (the local language in Maharashtra) or Gujarati or Sanskrit... and then there was French, which I took, and possibly German... not sure.

              In contrast, those Native American reservation schools like the schools that Australian aboriginal kids were taken to forbade ANY use of their own language let alone having any classes in them. A cruel tragedy aimed at their identities and at killing off their heritage in the most fundamental way but intended to "help" them.

              I am guessing the school I went to had to adapt after 1947 to having fewer and fewer English or Anglo-English students and had to offer Indian languages to their new mix of students... but kept the place as it had been before since having a "British" style education was a big selling point and the place had wealthy and influential people sending their kids there. A future president of Pakistan went there (way before me (for instance)

              Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

              by IreGyre on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 07:39:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Where was this school? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koNko, DvCM, GreyHawk

                I lived in Pune for about six years.

                Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

                by WarrenS on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 08:08:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Mumbai (Bombay then) (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ER Doc, DvCM, GreyHawk, WarrenS, Ojibwa

                  I was in Poona (old spelling) only once during a trip my family took... Our car broke down in the evening on the way there and we got a lift from on a truck for the rest of the way into Pune with my mother riding in the cab with the lorry driver and the rest of us perched on top of dusty bags of rock salt in the back with our luggage... Pune was as far as we got on that first attempt at extended trip that we had to return to Bombay for a restart making our way via plane, train, hired car, funicular rail etc. to Bangalore, Mysore city, Ootacumund and other areas in Southern Central India... and during the whole trip I was fighting a fungus infection on my foot that I caught during the short stay in Pune... so that is my one strong memory of Pune/Poona... a bunch of weeping sores on my foot from a Poona fungus while I saw some amazing things elsewhere.

                  Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

                  by IreGyre on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:37:11 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  People don't realize that this sort of thing (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ojibwa, chantedor, aliasalias

              happened off the Reservation too, in the case of immigrants. Both of my grandparents told stories of being beaten by teachers, in Gary, Indiana in the 1920's because they spoke with a heavy Polish accent.

              "Religion is the smile on a dog." Edie Brickell

              by zesty grapher on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:35:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  That's very English (10+ / 0-)

            My mother was from a small town in Hertfordshire, the daughter of transplanted cockneys.

            In 1949 she went to one of the big teaching hospitals in London to train as a nurse. The women were from all over the country with their various accents. By the end of the first year they all had the same "educated" accent.

            She laughs now after more than 50 years in Canada when some people say they think she sounds like the Queen.

            I'd also add the words chintz and chutney to the list.

            •  Urricanes (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Steve Canella, ER Doc, DvCM, GreyHawk, Ojibwa

              In 'artford, 'ertford and 'ampshire, 'urricanes 'ardly ever 'appen.

              •  Some things my mother cannot say (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ojibwa

                There is a place in London called Palll Malll. Most of us would pronounce it to rhyme with all and ball .
                My mother rhymes it with pal because that is how it is supposed to be said.  Consequently when she goes shopping she goes to "the mal" .
                My accent is kinda fluid. Sometimes I say mall in North American way and sometimes in the English way but I don't say mal.
                My mother can say ball and Molly but she can't get mall, in the  English  pronunciation out.
                Neither of my parents could say that North American "a" that is in ball and mall. They would get it caught in their throats. Funny thing.

          •  Your story is so evocative... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ojibwa, ER Doc, DvCM, GreyHawk

            ...I hear each of those voices perfectly.  Please reminisce more!

            Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

            by WarrenS on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 08:07:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The Party. With Sellers as Hrundi Bakshi. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ojibwa

        "You are having de-fick-ulti?"

        Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

        by semiot on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:37:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Words in the vid are from last 300 years but Shit (8+ / 0-)

      goes back thousands of years. Proto-Indo-European. A lot of other words from way back in the day but I remember shit.
      Wiki on shit:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      Proto-Indo-European *skheid- "cut, separate", the same root believed to have become the word shed.
      •  I like "fart" because in the Germanic (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ojibwa, rb608, Notreadytobenice, DvCM

        AND in the Romance Languages it means the same thing and goes all the way back to the same PIE word, *pérde, which meant "to fart," (if I'm reading my American Heritage Dictionary correctly).

        From Middle English ferten, farten, from Old English *feortan (in feorting (verbal noun)), from Proto-Germanic *fertanan (compare German farzen, furzen, Norwegian fjert), from Proto-Indo-European *pérde. Cognate to Welsh rhech, Albanian pjerdh, Russian пердеть, French péter, Ancient Greek πέρδομαι (perdomai)
        In Spanish, "pedo."
    •  voroki, thank you, now.."shut your fuckin' mouth". (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steve Canella

      Should I explain your comment was equivalent to enlightenment?  (no snark)

    •  And then there was India's greatest gift to... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ojibwa

      ...England: cricket!

      (Although, in fact, it was originally developed in Barbados!)

      NEW PALINDROMIC METAPHOR MEANING TO MAKE A PREDICTION THAT IS ASTOUNDINGLY OFF TARGET: "Pull a Gallup!" As in: "The weatherman said yesterday would be sunny and mild, but we got a foot of snow! Boy, did he pull a Gallup!"

      by Obama Amabo on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:12:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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