Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Learning Thy Neighbours Language

And so arrive in the Tamil Nadu, ok, excuse me here, its Thamilll nadu to pronounce, and as per norms some britisher or god knows who chose to pass the dictum "From now on , Z followed by a H will be spelt as-" he addressed a huge crowd and tried to pronounce the way it is supposed to be , by dragging his tip of the tongue to the roof of his mouth and shouted "Lla".

Forget the English, they are a queer crowd for sure. Thats my first learning on my way to learn Tamil.

During one of my days of travelling to the countryside for my sales training with the salesman in coimbatore, i had no sense of my whereabouts as the milestone read only in Tamil, which was unlike any other place in India so far. So, i thought i will start with the basics-Buy a Slate and learn to read and write.

And surprise, there are only 30 alphabets, unlike 56 in telugu. I realised why my handwriting in telugu sucked so badly(not that i write beautifully in other languages)there are actually enough twists in telugu words as well that would break your slate pencil.And for all the northindians who hate the Tam crowd, the script seemed similar to hindi(though they wouldnt sound the same, e.g : the mirror image or Hindi Ae is Tamil Ra)

So,the second surprise comes in the form of free will the language offers to pronounce it the way you want it to be. For example, same letter is used to spell Pa,Ba and similarly for Tha/Dha and Cha/Sa. You should empathize with me when in my first days of learning, the only exercises i have are the name boards on retail shops, Ads on buses and the milestones, so i spell Chennai Silks as Chennai Chilks and then give myself an extra option as Sennai Silks, and like a curious kid checking for the answers, i find out its Chennai silks at my own discretion.

With this frustration for a day, I launched onto my salesman to write and spell 'bombay' and when he wrote something which would also spell like pompay, i asked the obvious question. He did the obvious, Laughed me off as an FOB and carried on with his work.

Thats when you realise, how queer are the english and is English. Wouldnt a kid be justified if he spells Coconut as Sosonut. With many such questions and pitfalls, i am enjoying my new learning, especially travelling by the countryside and a sneak peek into the last triad of the sale - Consumer-retailer-salesman.

And after 2 weeks of concentrated learning of the language, i had a relieved and entertaining session of watching a Tamil Movie. More on that next time.


Mrunalini said...

lol.. so can you write your name in tamil?

KauMoChan said...

I found tamil easy to learn..I can read bit of tamil after my 2 months stay in Pondicherry.

Where are you put up?

Kartheek Kanumuru said...

@Mrunalini - Yes ofcourse, the only problem though,if i read it after a couple of days,i might pronounce it as Ghartheegh :)

@KauMoChan - I am in coimbatore in company guesthouse and will be travelling in central and south tamilnadu for the next six months. and yes, Tamil is definitely easy to learn,especially the script.Now i started to wonder that if telugu wasnt my mother tongue, it would take ages for me to learn that :)

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