Crazy English

English is a Phunny(funny) language said the Big B in one of his iconic movies. It is funny indeed. How else will you explain the madness of the language. u in cut/but is pronounced as ə/ಅ/अ whereas u in put is pronounced ʊ/ಉ/उ. But u is pronounced u/ಯೂ/यू in other places like confuse and refuse. H is silent in honest and hour but not silent in height and hall.

French isn’t so irregular proudly declared my French teacher in the introductory class. But since English has now become the de-facto International language, knowing the language well has become an essential skill for success, no matter how irregular/funny it is. Club that with the fact that good English is associated with elitism in most parts of the World.

I have had the fortune of learning the language from a very early age, courtesy my “convent” school education. Especially when you have people around you who speak the language well, it comes naturally and I learnt the language from usage rather than learning grammar rules. So I never realised how difficult it must be for an adult to learn it as a foreign language.

Every grammatical concept has more exceptions than rules. Not only is the same alphabet pronounced differently, same set of sounds may be spelt differently(fair,fare). Same spelling may mean different things(fair as in skin complexion, fair as in just, gathering/mela as in village fair). Sometimes same word may mean opposite things( “Oversight” means “supervision”, “an oversight” means “not noticing something”). Although it is Anglo-saxon in origin, it has words derived from latin, greek, french and some even from Sanskrit. Add to it, the British conquered half the World and borrowed words from almost every language in the World. I am not even talking about making plurals, past tense, nouns being verbed and I can go on and on.

Only much later I realised that If I had to learn this language using language rules, I would have gone nuts.

You are what you eat

You are what you eat

But it is exactly this quality of the language that gives us the opportunity to play around with it. Who doesn’t love those puns,fun and silliness of the it. Here is some more interesting things about the language I had found on the net sometime.

  • There is no egg in eggplant or ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
  • Ship by truck, and send cargo by ship?
  • Have noses that run and feet that smell?
  • Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
  • When a house burns up, it burns down.
  • You fill in a form by filling it out, and an alarm clock goes off by going on.
  • When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
  • And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it?
  • Is cheese the plural of choose?
  • In what language do people recite at a play, and play at a recital?
  • Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

Enjoy the silliness of the language and hope you have more such strangeness/awesomeness to share. This post comes as I am waiting for the book ‘English Bites’ by Manish Gupta to arrive at my doorstep.

 

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N for Namaste

Namaste

Namaste

Namaste(ನಮಸ್ತೆ/ನಮಸ್ಕಾರ) pronounced /ˈnɑːməsteɪ/ is a customary greeting when individuals meet, and a valediction upon their parting in India.

Namaste is both a physical gesture and a spoken spiritual salutation. The gesture can also be performed wordlessly and carries the same meaning, which is usually the case while parting. It is commonly accompanied by a slight bow. It is a non-contact form of respectful greeting and can be used universally while meeting a person of different gender, age or social status.

The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each one of us. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. Derived from Sanskrit words namah and te, it literally means “I bow to you” i.e. the Spirit in me honors/bows to the Spirit in you .It has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one’s ego in the presence of another. One more interpretation is “I greet that place where you and I are one”.

Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural convention or an act of worship. During prayers, Hindus not only do namaste but also bow and close their eyes, as it were, to look into the inner spirit. Also, when the hand position is higher, it usually means reverence and/or worship. It is also used during meditation to go deeper inside the heart chakra.

Namaste has many different interpretations, no matter which interpretation you choose you should think of it as a divine blessing that honors sacredness and equality in everyone. Although often used to greet others, the meaning behind Namaste is beautiful and whichever meaning you connect with it brings us all to one place where we all are divine,pure and one.

Namaste
– Sapna 🙂

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