Monday, January 4, 2010

Translating Indlish into Strine

Not for the first time, I am puzzled that I somehow came out of the Australian education system with a passing grasp of English.

An Australian, whose day job is - dear me - a teacher, on holiday in India, felt it would be productive to sanctimoniously mock the locals:

As we drove though a mid-sized village I noticed a petrol tanker at a service station bearing a hand-painted sign on the back: “Highly inflammable”. I love Indlish.

Strewth, you plonker. It isn’t "Indlish". The locals are correct. Change your profession. Now.

So, Indians for whom English is probably their third, if not, fourth or fifth language (granted, this is probably 40,000,000 Indians), show up an Australian, for whom English is probably his mother tongue. What lovely irony.

Bring on the Education Revolution.

3 comments:

Lindsay said...

English is a bitch though. Inflammable means the same as flammable. But indistinct is the opposite of distinct. So many broken rules. I am just glad (and slightly ashamed) it is the only language I have had to learn (and am still learning).

Many young teachers, in my experience, are not fabulous spellers. As a mother of youngsters, have you noticed that?

Opinionated Mummy said...

"Have I noticed that?" I had a reputation (funnily enough, not always appreciated by the teachers) of being a spelling and grammar cop. The kids' profile books would routinely be returned to the teachers with all errors highlighted, and with an expectation that the teachers fix the errors before returning the books to me.

Perhaps it was overkill, but in my defence, I was driven to it.

It's probably a whole new blog in itself, but I get deeply frustrated with the comment from teachers that goes something like "it doesn't matter if the spelling and grammar aren't perfect, as long as the message is clear."

IT DOES MATTER!!!! ***Screams***

But, I concede that English is not a logical language!

Oswald Bastable said...

"The kids' profile books would routinely be returned to the teachers with all errors highlighted"

Good!

It's not just me that does that!