What’s wrong with your name?


To agree with Amitabh Bachchan English is very Phunny (or funny) language. A language which has greatest number of literature works happening (or happened) has serious scarcity of generalized language rules, e.g. how to spell a sound or how to pronounce a word. There can half a dozen different ways to pronounce one sound. Similarly it has half a dozen different spellings for a word which is pronounced uniquely.

Trouble comes when one needs to write on Indian word in English (karma, nirvana, guru, pundit etc) and otherwise also. I have encountered three names written in three different spellings but pronounced the same. Sandhya , Sandya , Santhya, Santhiya.. Which one is correct? Technically going, none of them. No combination of English alphabet can accommodate these kinds of thousand words (except otherwise UNICODE). Its English, you can spell your name the way you want, where is the problem? Problem is the attitude of “you way of spelling is not correct”.

In one way these differences are very useful, to guess where that is person is from. If a girl writes her name as Sandhya, she is south Indian. If Sandya , she is north Indian. Any “th” ( like “Santhya” or “Santhiya” ) is either from Tamilnadu or Kerala and north-east people don’t name their name daughter as “sandya”. Cool isn’t it ?

Anyways come to the point. To go technically, South Indians pick letters as exactly it sounds in alphabetical chart, north Indians pick it from English words where they are used. For example letter “t” sounds retroflex in alphabetical chart , in English words it can be dental , or retroflex.

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My mother tongue isn’t perfect !!


There was always confusion in me how to spell most of the Indian names in English. You’ll get to see lot of versions of spelling, but pronounced the same. The same issue I recalled when I read this article in my friend’s blog kaushik : My mother tongue isn’t perfect.

We have heard of people telling Sanskrit is perfect. Some of us might also have received forwarded mails telling that Kannada or Telugu is 99.99% perfect. Or what is that tells a language is perfect and or imperfect? There are many criteria. One of which everyone can easily see and comprehend is “what we write should be what we spell. English, as we all know doesn’t come into this group. But what about our own mother tongues?

Here is a question again, what do you call a perfect language. And how this percentage is calculated. There has to be a measure to do it isn’t it..?? Let’s take according to me these are the rules for a perfect language.

  1. You shall be able to pronounce all the things you have written. And you shall be able to write whatever you pronounce. Also, there has to be only one way to write a sound and there has to be only one way to pronounce a symbol written. : In this case we can’t nominate English at all. And most of the Indian languages are perfect Sanskrit, Telugu and Kannada (even German) for example. All these nominees are completely capable to read and write all the words of its own languages (there will be a problem if you bring a foreign language, there will be some other sounds).
  2. If you give a person the singular and plural has to be defined, not more not less. Kannada and Telugu are good. Sanskrit is troublesome here. (It has Dvi-Vachana…, why not thrivachana, chaturvachana etc.??)
  3. Given a verb you should have a defined way of conjugate it. No language has a problem except English.
  4. Gender. Why do you ask a learner to have gender for entities..?? (For example: I am a masculine, and my mind is neutral in Sanskrit. Very similar with Hindi, and German) Kannada, Telugu… even English pass the test here.
    Etc… Etc… According to my definition no language is perfect, where I define the perfect language as easiest for a person to learn for read and write. But about English. it is very true ..It is far from perfection
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