We’re Lucky We Know English..!

I heard two of the speeches in the Lok Sabha, by the two brilliant and articulate lady MPs from Bengal and even as I listened at their wonderful mastery of the English language, I could see many confused faces of other MPs even as I knew it was being translated for them.

They dislike the language because they never tried to master it.

I don’t blame them, because it’s a crazy, crazy language: Just imagine, there is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France.  Sweetmeats are not meats, while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If vegetarians eat vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?
In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?            Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?
Have noses that run and feet that smell?  Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposite, while quite a few and quite a lot are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell the other day.
Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or piccable? And where are all those people who are spring chickens or who would actually hurt a fly?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on.
Ah my non- English- speaking MPs, English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which of course, isn’t a race at all).  That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this column, I end it!

But my dear MPs, even as I sit with the British now in their pubs and parks and converse with them, my advice to you is, that if you want our country to become known abroad, allow our children to master the language, even if you stare confused at Mahua Moitra and Sagarika Ghose..!


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8 thoughts on “We’re Lucky We Know English..!”

  1. English is very good language. Its slightly difficult for Indian people to learn but once leart it’s pleasent and sweet spoken soft language. I have seen Indian people like Robert Clement Bob Sir has mastered this language and this language flows from their mouth Just like water flowing from water fall ????????

  2. Epic topic. Brilliant.

    Lovely piece of “English” lace interwoven with humorous analogy and a strong message to pull up our “English language socks” if we want to effectively communicate and rule the world.

  3. It was sheer pleasure hearing such impeccable fluency and articulate stuff…Nari shakti indeed! Expect more fierce stuff extempore in days to come. Knowing and loving languages including English is such a pleasure.

  4. Absolutely thrilling to read such an entertaining and enriching article that helps us learn the Queen’sEnglish and inspires us to do so.I’m fascinated, thankful as well as exhilarated to be reading such a fine piece of art. ????

  5. Loved how you brought out the play of words and use of phrases in your article on English. English is indeed a strange language.

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