Monday, November 7, 2011

Is my English strange?

Last week, I was watching the English segment on BBS TV. The TV anchor magnificently began the programme in pure British accent. She, then, fluttered her accent to American and more head scratching…sob, sob, she was caught into Drukpa accent. For the record, she was not even remotely aware of it. I don’t mean here to criticize her flamboyant anchoring style, but from this watching I just observed that how lost are we into different accents that we do not really distinguish. Or we’re rather not bothered; perhaps, we consider it least important or simply unimportant.

It’s little weird, but even we write we’re unsure of the American and British English. Labour or labor, realise or realize, criticise or criticize, centre or center...all mixed up, yuck! This probably, though woefully evidences that ours is lousy English-khutta bhache ko, broken English. If you flutter in your English accent and are unsure of the British and American English spellings, I wouldn’t blame you. I will tell you why. Listen.

As was the good intentioned national education policy, the education ministry strictly monitors the school curriculums in British English. We’re to follow the British English, stringently and religiously, both in spoken and written. You agreed with me? True enough, but the funny thing is that teachers in Bhutan were mostly Keralan (Indian). With them, they brought their own accent in English. They taught us lowe for love, yam for m, yan for n. Interestingly, they’ve further puzzled us with their typical Keralan da and ta suffixes. Good examples here, correctta for correct, notda for not, youda for you, okda for ok. It is what it is. Cliché, but true.

We’re also taught by Bhutanese teachers. At times Dzongkha lopoens did. Teacher shortage, they reasoned. But their accent has been badly marred by their non-stop doma chewing habit. Doma in their mouths, they say somm for some, wherrr for where, fayav for five, colock for clock. And each time they speak, they pause. An example here, “I, uh, will, uh, ahem, ahem [he spits in the dustbin and comes back] beat you, uh, if you eat doma,” he would bark good words at his students. Very ironical, right? And a slightly bizarre observation here: the way he frightens his students, he too murders the English language, for god’s sake.

Dzongkha words, like divine saviors, jump in between his English lecture and speech to replace the missing English words. That’s how the notorious Dzonglish came to existence. The brutal truth is that now we came to this sad conclusion that we cannot do without it.

You may not agree with me on all this. But you can do yourself a favour. Go to your home, swivel in your sofa, pick up the TV remote and flip the channels. I bet you that you will find almost all the TV programmes are American. Or put on your PC, open the Microsoft office word and you will see that also in American English.      


  1. enjoyed reading bro...and there's nothing more than to agree....perhaps, in the process of all copying or taught in this way without any authentic or pure way of learning or speaking english, we are lost...

  2. May be we should then shift from British English to American English. Many a times, while typing on the computer, the correct spelling which I typed is underlined with red marks and this really confuse me.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, sir.

  3. Ha-ha (Sorry about that) but I really had fun reading it and then at the same time reading it aloud for my room mate. We had a good laugh together and found it true.

    As of here, I am sort of with Aussie spellings. But I will say I stick with British English spellings for my future convenience.

    Nice one Rikku Sir!

  4. A nice and true post, sir. Loved reading it. haha, the way Indian teachers pronounce is what made me remember my days in school and now daily ritual of my life. :)

  5. sir school English learning system itself is confusing, it can change anytime , sometime British , well other time American well dan recent Canadian, all to us poor learner, guess the system should stick to one language so that we learn better and understand better...nice post sir, well i go on with your stand here, that Anchor sometime really confused the person listen to her....:)

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  7. Couldn't agree more!!! The pronunciation that we heard for most of the words during our school seems irrelevant. Just a few example-words here: We learned to pronounce "elait" for elite,"spesiz" for species,"debt" for debt. But all these: elite, species and debt have right pronunciation...check this!!!