Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Word-dict is out ?

Hmm, so the world's gung-ho about the English language acquiring its millionth word. And India's "Jai Ho" about it, thanks to the media glitz and what not. Apart from all this paparazzi hype, I still dont get this fact, "Jai Ho" are TWO words, whose realization brings us to the pertinent question, which one of them is then in the race for the millionth one ? It certainly can't be 'Ho', coz it already exists, albeit with a different meaning compared to its Hindi counterpart. Therefore, by the above logic, it should be "Jai" which should probably be a strong contender for the race to come out trumps amongst others for the "Millionth" word.

But, keeping all the above views in mind, any non-rocket scientist can also tell us that "Jai" alone can't make it to the top ten contenders, leave alone top them, for obvious reasons. And it's ironic, that "Jai" can't come on top (ironic due to its Indian meaning). It's another irony that one of the "words" to be in contention for the millionth word in "English" is of Indian origin, which the Brits never quite understood completely, notwithstanding that anglicized accent. Oof! Not that they ever understood their Greek/Latin properly, but it must be accepted that they understood it much better than Hindi.

Another Indo-English/American stuff which the Indian media gloats over is stronghold of Indian-origin kids in the Scripps Spelling Bee competition. The Indian origin kids have produced 6 champions in the last 9 years. Wow ! Stunning fact right ? Well, not so stunning to me, considering that, my ideology has always remained that an avg. Indian is much smarter than an American, when it comes to memory recall while there are other issues where the Americans do beat us. A lot has got to do with the Education system, I suppose,but I'm not getting into that debate now. I'm not belittling the feats of these young achievers and I back them to the hilt to go miles in the future, and probably govern the USA in the near future( i.e. if the USA does exist after surviving potential threats from the Korean nukes!).

The whole essence of this post is to show that the Indian media has a tendency to highlight Indian achievements in a big way, but I think the real reckoning comes when an outsider does the same for us. It's all right to get a feel-good factor about being an Indian, but in some ways, it shows us the kind of insecurity we have as Indians to celebrate "Indians going global" news with glee only when such news is highlighted, while bemoaning the sorry state of the country for the rest of time. It's not that I value "The Sun" or "The NY Times" opinions greater than that of the TOI or The Hindu, but it's just boils down to this fact : Let the world speak about you rather than just you yourself. That is when we will pass the acid test for the global recognition of our abilities.

All said and done, I'm still proud to be an Indian and will be forever. Jai Hind! or should I say "Jai Ho!" ?


Boneywasawarriorwayayix said...

Star Trek was Masala Flick da....

Anyway Hifunda people journalist and all.....
Write 'because' and not coz :P

Other than that, nice article, but it sounds slisha hypocritic because I can always argue back, why should we look back to the west to laud us and why can't we appreciate ourselves for what we have achieved. :P Anyway, I can rant on that some other day :)

I'm a gravy hanger !! said...

@ Magadhi : I've never mentioned the West particularly except making references to "The Sun" or "The NY Times" coz I didnt get any Eastern Newspaper on the tip of my tongue :)

Any article is arguable. If it's just stating a fact, then I would rather download an article from science-direct and read it! Looking forward to hearing your arguments/rants :)

I'm never against appreciating ourselves. I'm just against hyping it up. Coz after the hype, once you fall from grace, you suffer a lot of damage. The same ISC topper who scores a poor JEE rank will come in for a lot of flak for his comments on his JEE rank. But the source : the newspaper correspondent who must have prodded a statement out of the poor chap. either that , or he needs my consultancy for PR :)

I hope it's the latter (hypocritically as you may say)!

Rakesh said...

A few (to be precise, 5 of them) comments and questions:

1. This millionth count includes English words and phrases, so it was fine having "Jai Ho" in the race.

2. What is surprising is that "Web 2.0" took the honours as the millionth English word/phrase! Now, with '2.0' in it, is it a word/phrase? Or does the list include English words, phrases and numerals?

3. Contradicting my queries in point 2, when "24-7", "3G", "4to", "4WD" and "8vo" can be English words (according to my Concise Oxford English Dictionary), why can't "Web 2.0" be one?

4. What the hell is this Global Language Monitor, the root of all this hype about the millionth word? Had you heard of it before? I had not. Their sudden emergence in media seems more like a publicity stunt than anything else!

5. I agree that Indian media, of late, has been more particular about less particular things and this is something that poses a dangerous threat to creating biased public opinion on things that we, the public, better not care about! Take, for example, this millionth word hype or the Dhoni-Sehwag rift.