Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Those fakers...

I simply hate it when they fake a Western accent. I called some person and I hear an annoying feminine voice go like this:

"The Hutch numbuhr you have cawled is currently unavaiylabillll, pleease try again laytuhr. Thaiink youuu."

and she practically sang it out!

I don't believe that I have an accent, but whenever I go to Madras (nothing against Madras, but this was noticed mostly in that city) and ask someone at the bus stop which bus goes to Adyar or something like that (in Tamil) they would reply in English and the younger (25*365 days or lesser) ones would do it with a fake accent. Why? Why oh! why? I can notice the sharp change in accent when someone talks to another person in English ("No, daaa. He did it chumma only...") and then turns around for a conversation with me ("Oh! yeaaah. What they did was sooo coool. I really dig it.") ... Hurrmmmpphh. Annoying.

Recently at a bookshop in Bombay, I couldn't help overhear a bunch of schoolgirls (lesser than 14*365 days on earth) discuss some book and intersperse that with discussions about some girls in school. The accent was atrociously faked and the language had a liberal sprinkling of all the four letter words which one would refrain from using in front of one's parents! Cute kids, though :-)

My sister's doctor's kid and her cousins/friends went on a trek to some place near Delhi. So they stopped over at my sis's place. She had sent a small parcel with the kid. When I went to collect it, I thought it sensible to enquire about the trek and whether they enjoyed the stay at my sister's place (you know, the pointless but essential things of life!). Her accent knocked me over! She called my sister "funky" (my sis is a little shy of 30*365 days and this kid was all of 14*365 days or so) and called my nephew (< 210 days. Now you know why I was measuring age in days? Poor kid feels bad when he is the only one to be counted in days) something which I am glad he can't yet understand! FUNKY? My sister doesn't have a bull's nose ring nor does she wear her hair in pink and blue spikes! FUNKY? :-O

If being modern and hep (what on earth does that mean? Where did it come from?) and cool are the in things, then why is it that people achieve them only by faking and aping?

Wait till I catch that Hutch woman! X-(

11 comments:

  1. Haha, funny but relevant issue that u have chosen to write on. let me tell u that a fake accent is something that perturbs me as well..i remember I hadthis english teacher back in school who always advised us to speak english in our own native accent as it to her was better than a fake US accent! I am not fanatically patriotic or something but i agree with her..if one reads the writings of r.k narayan- the charm and essence of native english really starts growing on us. and ofcourse the hutch female's english- i have heard that often, actually i heard the airtel female...very similar, very artificial! I sometimes wonder how do americans manage to roll so many words in their tongues? anyways, how was ur mumbai yatra? sorry could not catch up with u. hope u a nice time. Anu told me u did. saw ur pics...anu looks puny in one of them besides u. Nice pics

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  2. Dear A,
    I am not too fond of the "native" accent (boy, have I bugged people with my corrections!!). I prefer English spoken as it was supposed to be spoken. Like Hindi spoken as it was supposed to be, or Urdu or Tamiyy/~zh (I hate it when people say palum instead of payy/zhum for fruit. My driver back in Madras can't say police station for nuts: polee-taysun!! But that's ok. He really never learnt English).

    To speak Hindi like a firang or English like a Bihari is not my sense of good speech...

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  3. Because it's cool to be seen (heard?) speaking like that. And why not?

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  4. LOL check out Aishwarya Rai on Oprah Primetime. If she can do it,why can't the kids do it?hehe

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  5. I remember very clearly that my English teacher was clear about "neutral accent", no rolling R's, no bullshit. But you spend some time here the accent just pervades because you end up interacting with a lot of Americans. So ease up on the returning desis. About high school teens faking the accent, give them a not sooooo gentle reminder where it pains ;)

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  6. I suppose "hep" is a distortion of "hip"

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  7. Dear a,
    Why not? Now that is difficult to answer. I suppose I am particular about being instinctive and natural (free flowing) rather than resorting to plagiarism of such sorts... Inbred versus cultivated. One of the many things I am fastidious about!!! ;-)

    Dear W,
    Point well taken. That lady sounds obnoxious when she speaks English and it is merely one of the things she fakes! Well, I find it hard to buy that... She does a lot of things which we don't do, so why only the easy ones?? :-))

    Dear SS,
    Long time no see/hear/read. How are you? I totally agree with the metamorphosis that happens when one spends time there in US. I find it hard to keep saying "shedyule" and when they say "didn't get that one.." I change it to a "skedjule" or even the "pay-tent" versus "pah-tint". Undeniable problem, but there are many Indians who only change these conflicting words/phrases and maintain the rest of their English intact. Some adopt the accent in a matter of weeks (or pretty much immediately). My point was that they speak normally when not in the presence of foreigners and then put on... Like that Hutch lady!! Aaaarrggghhhhh! Kids cannot be advised against anything which mitigates their "coolness" factor!! :-o

    Dear M,
    That is one of the possibilities. Origin is still unknown. :-)

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  8. hip2 ( P ) Pronunciation Key (hp) also hep (hp)
    adj. Slang hip·per, also hep·per hip·pest, hep·pest
    Keenly aware of or knowledgeable about the latest trends or developments.
    Very fashionable or stylish.

    [Perhaps from Wolof hipi, hepi, to open one's eyes, be aware.]

    source-dictionary.reference.com

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  9. Point Well taken. Be a Roman in Rome. Sometimes, I do have problems communicating with Americans, as I tend to speak fast. So, I deliberately slow down. I am still finding it difficult to put on those accents, though. :(

    But, such things happening in India. hmmm.. unfortunate and shouldnt be condoned. why aren't we proud of our roots? as much as I believe in reaching out to the outside world and other cultures of the world, it is high time we all realised and learnt to appreciate and value what is truly ours, yes, our very own.

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  10. Dear Wookie,
    :-) You really love researching... yes that possible derivation is something I am aware of but it is still only considered a possibility (that hep is related to hip). I am yet to come across an authoritative source which establishes that hep is actually a variation of hip or hip gained some weight to become hep while crossing the seas... :-)

    Dear Ranga,
    Be yourself anywhere is more like what runs in my head. If being malleable and without signature is natural, then go ahead. Point is that when you normally speak in plain unaccented English then why resort to fake accents in order to impress someone (mind you, all the Europeans and Americans I have interacted with are fine with an Indian accent. No one has ever said that they find it repulsive or boring or incoherent). My point was just that: If you have a British accent (well, they compiled the language anyway) from day one then so be it. Why have multiple accents and pseudo accents? I think that Tamil should be spoken they way it was designed to be, English they way it was and Hindi the way it was. Period.
    It is twenty-four, for Pete's sake, not twenny-fow!!
    And it is Him-aalaya and not H(i)malaayaa.
    It is aa-sun and not aa-sun-aa (Yoga).
    It is Paree (since they want it that way) and not Paris. (you should spell it as Paris, though)
    It is vaayy/zhkai and not vaal-kai.

    "Proud of our roots"???
    English was never a part of our roots. I am not anti-English speech. I am only conservative and pedantic about the way it is employed. :-)
    Its like using a pipe-wrench. Use it right, don't use it to clip toe-nails!!

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  11. Parvati11:20 PM

    Anything American seems to capture the imagination of youngsters all over the world! Nothing much can be done about it, howsoever pathetic and immature this attraction and its consequent imitation may actually be...

    Too powerful a magnet America is, that pulls effortlessly all and sundry into its vortex of cultural, intellectual, scientific, technological and political attitudes...
    The U.S of America has too universal and global an influence that will never ever mitigate or cease to be!!!

    "Paree"??? I never could say that whatever the French may want from me. In English it will be Paris always. Let me call my Madras Chennai then, and the bestest of all - Bombay a Mumbai...Never comes easy whatever "they" might want..

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