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The way we speak

Speak this line out as you read it. Now stop. Do you know why you were saying the words the way you did? Why you paused when you paused and stressed when you did? Accents are such big part of who we are and yet we rarely think about them. I saw an interview on TV this morning with an expert on accents. He is in the process of recording and documenting different accents heard across the UK. These documents will then help actors getting their speech right especially when playing a regional character. The expert mentioned that in his studies, he found that people in the UK trust the Edinburgh accent. Which is why we hear it more in advertisements selling mortgages. How interesting! Apparently, the 'Liverpudlian' and the 'Geordie' (sic) accents, the latter as spoken by Ant and Dec and as heard on Big Brother voice over, were much loved.


Wouldn't it be interesting to carry out such an exercise in India? In Tamilnadu alone we could get a bouquet of accents. Apart from the geographical classification, there might be accents classified along communal lines. Like say, Madras-Brahmin and then Tirunelveli- Brahmin. I wonder if someone has already done such an exercise. I know that in films like 'Virumaandi' and 'Dumm Dumm Dumm', the movie-makers have tried to introduce a way of speaking specific to the area where the story is set. But often the accent ends up a caricature and rarely does justice. It would be great to save the real accents for posterity. In an age when everything is increasingly homogenised, it is well worth preserving a small part of our lives - the way we speak.

Comments

sen said…
An exercise to study the accents in india will be a huge operation.India has more then 1000 languages and dialects.
sk
http://jackofall.blogspot.com

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The Aiyaiyo Syndrome

These days I do what is called as a shooting supervision. When ads are filmed (with lip sync) in Tamizh, my job is to teach models their lines and rehearse with them. Most of them are from Mumbai and are non-Tamilians. So when they have to do a line in Tamil, for example "Adanaaladan Dettol ubayogikaren" (And that's why I use Dettol) , they invariably say "Aadanaladaanu naanu Detttaalu ubayogikkareanu" (Something hideous). Their exaggerated delivery of our supposed accent is all thanks to Hindi actor Mehmood. My blood pressure rises and I yell "DO NOT DO A MEHMOOD HERE. WE DO NOT SPEAK LIKE THAT".

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Bio-data

Married for 31 years, 2 months and 17 days
Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
1 job held for 29 years
6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”


http://jikku.blogspot.com/2005/02/quick-tale-3.html#c111042815438237631

The Saturday Poem

Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.

-a

Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

Lost in Post

To a little boy

It cannot be easy being you. A follow-up act to your more devilishly charming, flamboyant older brother. Before you were born, I was convinced that no child could ever take the special place your brother had come to occupy in my life. I used to argue with your father you would always be a second-born. A runner-up. A bridesmaid (or a best-man, as you turned out to be). That you could never be the prized, cherished, celebrated apple of my eye that my firstborn child was. But how easily you tore down my flimsy little conviction. The minute I saw you, I knew I was gone. What was worse, I succumbed willingly.

My fears that you would be overshadowed by your brother have proven unfounded. Over the past year, you have come into your own as a person. Your brother demands and challenges our love and attention. You, on the other hand, are much more accepting of our distractions with him. It is almost as if you understand that he is used to being the star of the show for much of his…

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Okay, here's the idea. I ask you a question and you write a short story explaining it. Let me give you an example.

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Annon's story

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After marrying Padmavathi, he is inviting all of you to a water drawing ceremony at the new well they dug in their house.

Jai Ragothaman Iyengar! Jai Padmavathi! Come one, Come all!

-

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What happened that made young Meenakshi change her mind about the parrot green saree she had originally chosen and go for a …