Monday, December 17, 2012

The Root of the Great Indian Accent Finally Uncovered!

I have always wondered why we Indians have such a thick accent when it comes to spoken English. Even if a person has been living in the US, Australia or UK for over 10/20, you always get hints of the typical Indian accent every once in a while. Then I realized that we're not alone, our European, African, Latino, and Asian brothers and sisters too have very unique accents.
(Without any disrespect intended, I think Latinos have the thickest accent when it comes to English followed by Chinese then Indian and I still insist that the Jamaican accent is the coolest accent ever, women still feel that ze French is ze sexiest, I have no clue why). 

I cant guarantee that its a 100% correct, but I'd like to think that I’ve finally uncovered why we Indians have this thick accent, why we pronounce certain words very differently and why its stuck with us throughout our lives.

We all know that a child's kindergarten years are the most crucial years when it comes to learning and developing language, teach them right and they will get it right from then on. Teach them wrong, and for lack of a better word, you will see that they're f*&#d for life! (Not literally of course). 

So from my in depth research, I have come to a conclusion that it’s because of the way we have been taught the very basics of the English language - ABC. 

The Eureka Moment:
I was reading something and could not pronounce this one word right. So I looked up the dictionary and it made me laugh, because the way it was spelled and the way it was supposed to be pronounced was very different. So with the reassuring "No one could have got that right" smirk, I proceeded to confidently read on. Later that day, I started putting together a few words we so horrifically pronounce and started visualizing on the root of the problem. That's when I had my Eureka moment (and no I wasn't naked, so you can stop visualizing on that part). 

The Scenario:
Now imaging kids sitting in a classroom being taught ABC the way I visualized it, and you will understand why the poor buggers are scarred for life:
1. They're never gonna get their pronunciations right
2. All the wrong pronunciations put together, will form a very bad accent
3. They're never going to get their spellings right

A for Aarange (Orange)
B for Bhalue (Value)
C for Sea food
D for dabblew dabblew F (WWF)
E for Ediot (Idiot)
F for feciency (efficiency)
G for Guce (Juice)
I for eye
J for Jeebra (Zeebra)
for kartoon (Cartoon)
L for L-luminium (aluminum)
M for M-menem (Eminem)
N for Ntertainment (Entertainment)
O for oppostrophy (apostrophe)
P for phorain (Foreign), Phlawer (flower)
R for R-ban (Urban)
for S-cart (Escort)
for Trink (Drink) mainly by the Nagas and Manipuris
for Urope (Europe)
for Velcome (Welcome)
for Wee (V), Channel V is often pronounced as Channel Wee (North Indians)
X for Excident (Accident)
for Yendian (Indian), this is typically south Indian accent
Z for Zoker (Joker), This is common in the North East (especially Mizos)

Even though I am extremely proud of my profound observation and discovery, I find myself in a new dilemma. If this is the cause of our Indian accent…what about the Chinese, the French etc.? How do they teach ABC to their kids for them to have an accent like they do? One can only wonder...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its more to do with the influence of hindi or our regional mother tongue. An example would be the way an indian will spell the word 'Chinese'. The pronunciation would be more like 'Chineej' because that is how it is written in Hindi. I guess thats how we are. Foreigners often find this 'uncool', but that's subjective.