After about 6 years in Bengaluru, I am now well conversant with the English pronounciations & “Hinglish” spellings (i.e. Indian/Hindi spellings in English!). Never understood the *logic* and never got any satisfying reason about: Why are English spellings of Indian words (Hindi, Sanskrit, etc.) spelt differently in south-India, so much that the words lose their actual pronounciations altogether?
Listing some of my observations here:
South Indians graciously add a “h” (read as “hech“) in word spellings where its not required, and also unceremoniously remove it, from where its (actually) required.
- दोस्ती (Dosti) becomes धोस्थी (Dhosthi) or दोस्थी (Dosthi)
- शिव (Shiv – read the full व) becomes Siva (सिवा) & शक्ति (Shakti) becomes सक्थी (Sakthi)
- खाना (Khana) becomes काना (Kana), and भूख (Bhookh) becomes बुक (Book)
- माता (Mata) becomes माथा (Matha) – and, in Hindi (& some other Indian languages), ‘matha’ (माथा) means head/forehead! Jai Matha Stores! (Yeah, it does store!) 😛
- उमावती (Umavati) becomes उमावथी (Umavathy or Umavathi), and पार्वती (Parvati) ends up as पार्वथी (Parvathy or Parvathi)
- My colleague at work, Umavathy [Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Mysore state], usually says “Bahut book lagee hai, Kana kaaney jaana hai“. And in response, I typically crack a PJ – “Kaunsa book lagaa? eBook lagaa?… Kana-Matra!” 😀 😉
- Another “royal statement” by the Queen of Mysore is “Wo baag gaya!” for “Woh bhaag gayaa!“. And the PJ goes – “Which baag? Lalbaug, Cubbon Park or Vrindavan Garden?” 😛 😉
- When my wife was hospitalized for her delivery in Dec 2003, I made sure that the hospital staff registered my wife’s name correctly as “Swati” (स्वाति) – and not “Swathi” or “Swathy” (स्वाथी)
- When our princess was born, I again had to forcibly ensure her name’s spelling was recorded as “Stuti’ (स्तुति) and not “Sthuthi” (स्थुथी) or “Stuthy”/”Stuthi” (स्तुथी) in their register & the birth certificate issued by the hospital. Whew!
- The same kinetic force had to be re-applied a few years later to the old lady who wrote our daughter’s government birth certificate, and yet again to ensure the teacher who registered her name in the school register, during her school admission in Apr 2008, wrote it right!
Though I don’t approve the spellings treatment as described in Observation 1, I somehow don’t mind the additional “a” to Indian words, to allow the Indian alphabet to be fully pronounced (just as is pronounced in Marathi too, but unfortunately not in Hindi).
- राम (Ram) becomes Rama (The म is to be pronounced full, unlike the way its pronounced in Hindi, where म is partially pronounced)
- महेश, हरीश & गिरीश (Mahesh, Harish & Girish) become Mahesha, Harisha & Girisha. (Here the trick is to pronouce the श completely, and not as शा)
- Similarly with माधव (Madhav) – which ends up as माधवा (Madhava – pronounce the full व)
However, we all know – this additional “a” has caused a side-effect.
- Now people read “Rama” as रामा (Raamaa), and Mahesha, Harisha, Girisha & Madhava as महेशा (Maheshaa), हरिशा (Harishaa), गिरीशा (Girishaa) & माधवा (Madhavaa) – respectively.
- We passed the कालिदास (Kalidas) road last Sunday evening – and on the signboard along the road, it was spelt as “Kalidhasa” (कालिधासा) road. Saw it for the first time, took me a few seconds to get it. 😐
I’ve also been reading completely new forms of certain words. Well, truly speaking, this actually is the American form of English which has taken over the original British English.
- Instead of “He hung himself from the fan” – you would read the books & newspapers (including the national ToI) publishing it as “He hanged himself from the fan”.
- Instead of “The house burnt down”, its “The house burned down”.
- As well as “He hurted himself…” instead of “He hurt himself…”
Please note, I am well aware of how west-Indians, north-Indians & east-Indians speak Hinglish.
- I know how my Gujarati relatives “wrap” their favourite “snacks” (I’d better not give the Gujju pronunciation of “wrap” here; for “snacks” they pronounce it as “snakes” (स्नेक्स)) &
- I know how my Marathi friends learn “कोम्पुटर” (Komputer) instead of “Computers” (कंप्यूटर्स) – and
- I also know how some north-Indians send their children to “iskool” (इस्स्कूल) and not “school” (स्कूल).
However as you see, these all are pronunciation goof-ups only, and also pertain to individual treatment of the words.
Nevertheless, no offence meant to anyone, listing observations just for fun – nothing official about them! 😉
I have been learning and unlearning all these years… and will continue to do so! 😀
To conclude, my dearest south-Indian dhosths (friends)… See picture below – a token of our dhosthi (friendship) – (I shot this in Fort Kochi [Cochin, Kerala] in Oct 2008) 😉
“Yaaro yehi “dhosthi” hai; Kismat se jo mili hai” – Junoon
(See the video with English subtitles HERE and the actual music video HERE.)