Sunday, January 07, 2007

magical words

English always has been a favourite of mine. The language, grammer, exceptions(there are many, as they say, each rule is always broken in English), literature, vocabulary..... Lately, i've been discovering the same in Kannada. Kannada in terms of it's literature, language and vocabulary. I have a special liking towards the pronunciation of words in both the languages. Go on, laugh if you must. As everybody has his/her fetish(/s), consider this a fetish of mine.

Rolling, forming an 'o', moving the tongue in and out of the mouth, the movements of the cheek muscles, the lips etc. helps make pronunciation possible. Standing in front of a mirror, watching the motion of a tongue let loose, the various fashions' in which the muscles moved was a past-time when i was small. Even today, i pronounce a word innumerable times, if i find it appealing.. Words like happy, fantasy bring a smile on my face. Thus, i strive to use different, related words.

School, i guess, made me build this peculiar habit. Teachers like Rozario, Vincent, whose english seemed impeccable. Sighting a new word, a new find, use it untill i get tired of it. The shadow of one letter on another, as in kshama, the hint of 'k' on 'sha', soukya, a little of 'k' on 'ya'- simply enchanting!

Biology also gets it's share. Though most of biological terms originate from european languages like italian, greek..... to hear such words, awesome! I often forget that this fact is not limited to biology alone, but extends through out the language of english. Biological terms- apoptosis, macrophages, diarrhoea, Simian.... pseudopodia, Paramoecium, Actinomycetes.... the list appears endless.

Going back in time reminds me of the days when father used to sit next to me, and teach me the ways of pronunciation, the tactics et al. Word by word, syllable by syllable. I still, mouth out words syallable-wise if i find a word difficult.

We learned a special word in school which is precious to me, the word being supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Debating on it's origin, whether it existed in real life, it's meaning...... took much time. A song from 'Mary Poppins', was taught to us, by Mr. Mitchell. The lyrics remains fresh in my mind, i think we were taught only one stanza. Here it goes,

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious
If you say it loud enough you'll always sound percocious
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay

I found this site, which gives the entire lyrics, and also plays the song. The url:



Shiv said...

I agree with you..
Languages and phonetics are very interesting.

Being with Bengalis for a while now,I see that they have a special way of pronouncing things..RasagOlla, jwOl,khabOOr..

hey, btw wat does that 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' means :-)

The 'Ekaangi' said...

Hey...i liked this write-up a lot
We talk everyday but fail to notice how our tongue takes different shapes for the pronunciation of each word...well written

Prashanth M said...

adding to the list is French. Lots of exceptions. You right one thing and pronounce as other!!

mouna said...

when one thinks about, languages are varied. bengalis yes,i have some of them as my friends, 'roshogulla'....

that word does not mean anything as such, but it's used for fun by kids, anisutte.... super word alve?

try standing in front of the mirror, mouthing various words, it's silly, but one appreciates more easily this way!

french yes, german with it's difficult looking spellings, 'z' thrown in frequently..

Srik said...

In Tamil, you write one way, pronounce it different way.
In Japanese, we use same picture to denote different things in different contexts.

Its such a wonderful world of learning languages. Languages, as they developed, is based on the geography of the part of the where it's developed, sounds of birds, that by other objects all has a say in it.
Eventhough a Bengali and an Andhraite are seperated by a few 100KMs, they both pronounce same word in two different ways. This has to be based on what he perceives around him.
Infact, ppl speaking two different dialects of a language do pronounce differently the same words. Its amazing to note and learn all these things.
The amount of knowledge each language has is unique and different, but at some point all of them coverge and thats where each individual has the capacity to understand and learn the other languages.

Wonderful post SK(I like calling u by this short form, if u have no problems, refre my prev. comment for the details)

mouna said...

yes, srik, when i think on these lines, it is indeed astonishing. language is one of the means of communication and the variations it has undergone over time is simply fascinating.

peple speaking two different dialects of the same language also have two diff words for the same thing.

i guess the need for communication functions as a convergence point. further development and the curiosity to learn other languages might have stemmed from the same.

SK... hmm, as u wish :)