Not sure when did we make the mega shift from ‘good English’ to ‘Indian English’! Yes it is debatable whether a few people who speak the Queen’s English decide on ‘What, is good English’.

However when a school teacher pronounces IRON typically with a great emphasis on R, you cannot but help wonder…was my chemistry teacher wrong? When she said Iron..normally you did not even hear the alphabet R!

Or when a teacher says a ‘catamaran’ is a type of fish do you reconcile to the fact that there is a general deterioration anyway? Or by asking for good English are you being elitist? There is a huge crowd out there which CANNOT (fair enough) which wonders every time -is it ‘Centre’ or is it ‘Center’. Or even whether a bunch of people can sit in a corner of the world and comment on the English in Singapore, Dubai or New Delhi?

Or when you receive an email saying ‘the news broke to me by her proud father’ or when your junior writes ‘spelled’ and when you say ‘spelt’…she says ‘sir when I tried writing spelt..there was a red line sir…so I thought…’

Or when people say it is ok in colloquial language..not in writing. Aw, bull. I rip my daughter apart if she is saying ‘I, Swati and Shweta…’ ..after all English is rarely a polite language..The correct usage being Swati, Shweta and I (no I am not even getting into an argument of I vs. me!)

Or when people say ‘Anyways we will meet on Monday’ or ‘I wish I would have known that’ or …

Have sentence construction and grammar gone into oblivion? Or ‘to understand finance, geography, or economics, English is no longer necessary? Or is it just that there are so many variations of the English language – from the American massacre, the Indian dialects, the Chinese version that the original ‘English’ is no longer recognised. Schools have lost the ability (and the need?) to teach good English. Wren and Martin is a book my daughter has not yet seen in school. My first copy was bought in 5th standard, even today I have a pdf copy of that book.

 

And at the end of the day – “It is the communication that is important”. Yuck. The worst thing is one of these kids would be editing your piece and calling herself an ‘Editor’.

If you thought only people of the caliber (calibre?) of Kushwant Singh, Kuldip Nayyar, (OMG cannot list more!) deserve to be called an Editor, well we are living in a …. paradise.

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  1. Yes SAM. The sheer arrogance of a Fatima student perhaps, but our teachers taught us good English. No doubt.

    We were encouraged to write short, clear sentences. Bombastic language – using words like assiduously wooed, helter skelter, flabbergasted, morphed…were to be in the dictionary and used very judiciously.

    I have had the teacher say used ‘driver’ not chauffer, use buy instead of purchase.

    Yes to them also language was a method of communication – but we did not say ‘awesome’ for everything (eek all the awesome kids in my life are screaming, sorry kids) nor were we allowed to write for showing off.

    Just the rant of an Anglophile perhaps? Terrible timing though. What with Dhoni and gang preparing for a 4-0 whitewash? L O L.

  2. what do you do when people ask ‘why so much excitements in people for xbrl’

    i challenge anybody to decipher this reading it only once!!

  3. Its called the generation gap. The lack of precision in process. We all have our teacher idols and those who went to Emcons will remember Mr.Pinto. Clarity of thought and brevity of expression – he used to say. Never forgot that. The last I found him was with a money changer in Opera House. He said “You will get a better rate from the bank” I said ” But not the pleasure and honour of speaking a few words with one of the best teachers of the English language”. Perhaps where he ended up was apposite to where we are now, commerce over art?

  4. I liked this ‘best teacher of the English language’ – I remember one Prof. in Podar college (ok let me boast, I think I got the highest in English in 12th standard at least in Podar..not sure about the Board)..he asked who was your English teacher…

    and I said ‘We only had Indian teachers in school..and ha..Mrs. Mistry taught us English…

    L O L

  5. Hi Subra!

    Indeed, one of my own pet peeves. Forget English. Other languages like Tamil are liberally mauled by one and all.

    Guess that it is one of the unintended consequences of stuff like FB, Twitter, Spell-check, etc.

    And, of course, that fewer people come into the teaching profession at the school level (esp for languages) due to a passion for teaching.

    Having said all the above, what does all this have to do on this blog? Perhaps you ought to start a separate blog for “other topics of interest”.

    Nath

  6. Agreed, there was definitely a better standards/decorum around the teaching profession back then.
    Generation gap, plus living in a time of too much sensory/mind stimulation has made noodles out of our communication skills… Speaking of the misuse of ‘awesome’, here’s my favourite:
    A failure to communicate
    Also speaking of overuse of cliches and mis-spellings, here’s:
    Lifestyle blog drinking game

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