Feb 19, 2012

The trials with angrezi


When I was little, there was a TV program that I forgot the name of, that taught people to speak English. British people enunciated words slowly as they went around their daily business, going to work, going to school and eating and talking together. Once a woman addressed a man as “Mr. Brown.”
“Isn’t brown a color?” I asked my mom. I was six, and proud of my knowledge of color names in English.
“Yes, but foreigners have names that are color names. Mr. Black, Mr. Grey.” Said my mother absent mindedly. She never realized that for a long time, I thought all foreigners have last names like that. My imagination populated the western world with Miss Oranges, Mrs. Purples and Mr. Pinks.
***

Once, we were watching a fashion show, which happened to be displaying “evening” gowns.
“Evening gowns?” I asked, shocked. “Do they change clothes every evening?”
“Oh yes”, said my wiser cousin, a teenager when I was just seven. “These foreigners are so advanced, they wear a different dress every morning, day, evening and night.” It was long before I realized nobody except maybe the queen of England changed into evening gowns every day.

* * *

Usually, when you learn something, you get better with it as time passes. Not so with English. The more you learn, the more difficulties you encounter. When I came to America, I realized that nobody understood what zed is. An international friend put it best when he said “there is already a j and a g, what is a need for another zee”. Nobody even has a vague inkling of what parliament is (Congress, congress. And no, it is not the name of a party.) In Nepal you bath in the bathroom, but in America you don’t rest in the restroom. And finally, nobody knows what full stop is. Period.
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6 comments:

Sam Handwich. said...

French is worse. If chevrolet sounds like chevrolay why isn't bayonet, bayonay?

sewa said...

that's funny, mr ham sandwich :)

Yug zee Tah said...

hahahaha
i so enjoyed this.
u never told me about the Miss Pinks.

Me said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Me said...

as a kid whenever i heard this song "omeeki aailaabyu", i never could understand the words. i assume this is in english. any idea? :)
cheers
--YouKnowWho

sewa said...

yes, it is "Oh Micky, I love you". lol

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