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When I get time, I listen to music, or read books. If any is left, I blog!

Thursday 24 October 2013

The Other Side Of A Language

The author's profile in an all-time best-seller novel reads, 'He married his wife in 1951...." Marrying X, Y or Z, or even someone else's wife is possible, but how does anyone marry his 'own' wife? An error in reasoning? Well, let us gloss over this as acne on the face of a beautiful language!

Years ago, defending the 'Act of Union' in the House of Commons, Joseph Addison spoke: 'Mr. Speaker, I conceive...' An uproar cut him short. Addison started again, 'Mr. Speaker, I conceive...' For some reason he repeated, 'Mr. Speaker, I conceive...' A member in the opposition interjected: 'Mr Speaker, the honourable member conceived thrice, but brought forth nothing!' Well, thoughts are more viscous than words...!

In a play by William Shakespeare, Desdemona tells Othello: 'I understand the fury in your words, but not the words.' 

Reminding us of this quote, are some of the English speaking anchors on India's TV channels. We 'see' them talking at smoking speeds, seldom 'hear' them! Their eagerness to impress, pains us! We struggle to catch up with them as if on a 'pothole-filled road'!

They believe it is style that matters, not clarity or accuracy. They greet us with 'Very good morning,' never 'Very goodnight'! Comparisons sound profound when they say 'More better' and 'Much more better'! They make us believe that 'At this point of time' is more precise than 'Now', 'Put an end to' has a finality that doesn't come with 'End', and 'Return back' guarantees a reassuring 'Return'!  They seldom 'take a break' for commercials, but surreptitiously 'slip into a break'!  'Anyways'...

'Anyways'? Yes, because to most of them, the good old 'Anyway' sounds boringly stiff and staid! Who said only nouns can be plural? Trash the grammar! And stop drawing parallels with 'Anyone', 'Anybody', 'Anything', 'Anyhow' or 'Anywhere'.

Isn't changing a language 'much more easier' than spending years learning it?

   'When the English language gets in my way,
I walk over it.' 
                                                   — Billy Sunday    


  1. As politicians' only endeavour is to increase their vote bank, similarly the TV anchors' TRP!
    Please read attached link:

  2. Couldn't stop making another observation: In this era of 500 TV channels and 50 mbps internet speed we all want ourselves heard loud and clear and thus, the extreme usage of 'superlative degree' in our speech and writing is inevitable. Why 'much more better', we are adding 'bestest' in vocabulary as 'best' is no more the best adjective as we desperately seek better than the best!

  3. Anonymous11:16 am

    Actually the situation is worsening. Shankar Mahadevan sought digital help while recording his song ''Breathless''! But our newsreaders on English TV channels would put even that to shame! Why not stream real time transcripts, as they continue to gulp and swallow words with vengeance? HeadlinesToday, Times Now... are you listening?