The Grammar Police




Hope everyone is having a good weekend. I thought for today’s post I would talk about something that has been on my mind a lot lately. Grammar. Huh?What are you talking about, you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. Let me preface this by saying that I am in no way proficient in grammar and I do make efforts to correct myself continously and learn from my mistakes.

So, I think this may resonate with you if you are from India and have moved to the US or the UK to study or work. You have a language barrier. Even if you have been conversing in English all your life, right from kindergarden and speak impeccably. Indians are taught the Queen’s English in school but somewhere along the way, we introduce a touch of Indianness and so it becomes Indian English. Let me say that when spoken properly Indian English is clear and concise. When you get to the Uk, things are fairly smooth language-wise except that you probably need to pay a bit more attention to how the words are being pronounced as we are not accustomed to the clipped British accent. You have to get used to slightly different dialects as you travel through the English countryside. Cockney is perhaps one of the hardest to follow. I cannot fault the British accent because (Mark Darcy no Colin Firth can do no wrong)  it is where all other English accents originated from and it is all very propah proper although they could afford to loosen up a bit!

Now, the American accent is a little harder for people who have come from India. Oh, sure a visit is easy enough but if you are to live and work here you better learn American English where the spelling and vocabulary is completely different. The grammar and pronunciation are poles apart from what we have learnt in school in India.  One of my friends was recently made fun of for using the word expired in relation to someone passing away. In India and perhaps the UK this context is acceptable but in the US, it doesn’t make sense as expired can only mean validity of a physical object. A lot of people don’t realize that one word can have different meanings in different parts of the world and that theirs is not the only correct definition. Isn’t that the beauty of the English language? Also, I think it is pretty cool that we need to remember Indian English, British English and American English all at once and change the grammar and pronunciation around to suit our audience :).

I’m sure English professors around the world shudder at what has become of the language today. That is because text messaging lingo is now used as an acceptable form of spoken English. Another reason is the concept of plugging in like and whatever anywhere in the sentence and it is considered the norm. The more likes you put in a sentence,the dumber cooler you sound. I think both these words are probably the most used world over. The only up side to this is that you can probably start a drinking game whenever you hear the offending words.

I’ve noticed that a lot of Indians who have been living in the US for a number of years confuse genders, mix up tenses and hit a hard J for jalapeño. I request you- pick up a grammar book for goodness sake! English is not our first language and we are in another country so why not make an effort to learn the language correctly. You are making the rest of us look bad for not trying!

My thought now as I finish this post is that I wish Professor Higgins  would give all of us a quick refresher in grammar or maybe I’ll just rent My Fair Lady this weekend.

What are your thoughts on grammar and today’s vocabulary?