On how the city puts its own spin on the English language
The last weekend was hectic for many school students and parents in the city. I was part of conducting an English spell-bee contest and it was amazing to see the proficiency levels of the kids who participated. It brought to light the level of the global flair we are trying to achieve in our happening city. What was striking was the fact that even children who have not had much international exposure spelt and pronounced English like such professionals!
Yet again, in the same city I come across many who speak English in their own language. But it works its way through enough to make a point! Tinseltown is particularly adept at coining new expressions and soon enough, they become the accepted lingo around. For example, we always knew the word disaster in context of earthquakes or tsunamis. But today, Telugu film buffs refer to a flop movie as disaster! And similarly a good film in any spectrum range is deemed ‘extraordinary ‘. One wonders how foreign filmmakers would respond to such comments. It took me a while to understand that we love superlative degrees and therefore lukewarm does not work for Hyderabad!
A media friend of mine recently introduced me to a new word – ‘audien’ which happens to be the singular for the word audience for English-speaking Telugus. I actually understood it after many producers and even top stars used it regularly enough. What surprised me is that even those who perhaps spoke good English just got used to it and owned up this new-age language .
Have you heard of the expression ‘mouth publicity’? No, am not referring to CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation! It actually means passing the word around and a Hyderabad version of word-of-mouth publicity. Many a times the success of something achieved with unconventional marketing is attributed to the ‘mouth publicity’ it has got. Initially I felt awkward using this as it seemed a bit rustic and wired. But I got myself into the lingo groove to blend in.
The funniest, but most effective movie review of a recent movie I got from a film friend was ‘first off average. Second off mother sentiment’. Here ‘off’ refers to half!! What is worse is when people confuse psychotic with the word psychic!!
Now these are just my observations which amuse me. So before you all think I am sounding snobbish let me clarify that despite these flaws in language I feel we folks communicate the best. A little tweaking of lingo never hurts! Looks like we are set for a new lingo in the New Year.
(The writer is a popular
TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly,
a hardcore Hyderabadi)