Monday, 29 March 2010

Tenglish, anyone?

Teaching Mathematics and Science in English is one thing. Uthaya Sankar SB and S.G. Prabhawathy take a look at Indians proudly speaking wrong English in temples!

..

GOD forgive us for being cheeky in a temple. But we just couldn’t avoid laughing when we hear Indians speaking wrong English in temples.

.

“Catch this,” we heard a lady telling her daughter one day.

.

Though trying our best to stay concentrated with our prayers, we just couldn’t resist taking a look at what was happening. Reason one: the lady’s voice was loud and clear. Reason two: what does the lady want her daughter to catch?

.

We could imagine the lady throwing something – perhaps a bunch of keys, a coconut, a handbag or a flower – and expects her daughter to catch it.

.

But surprise, surprise. The daughter was standing just next to the lady. And the lady was seen passing a pooja plate to her daughter. So much for our wild imagination!

.

A simple “hold this” would have been more appropriate.

.

This is just one example to illustrate the ‘wrong English’ that we hear Malaysian Indians speaking in public. If Singaporeans have “Singlish” and Malaysians have “Manglish”, now Malaysian Indians can be proud of their very own version of “Tenglish” – Temple English.

.

Why do we – Uthaya Sankar SB and S.G. Prabhawathy – name it “Tenglish”? Well, for the simple reason that we often hear it in temples. Maybe the moment some Hindus step into a temple, they forget their mother tongue and start to make a fool out of themselves by speaking a language which they think is English.

.

The next time you are in a temple, don’t be surprised to hear parents asking their child to “wake up”. Do not jump to conclusion that the child fell asleep while the pooja was on, thus the parents had to “wake up” their child.

.

Of all you know, the child would actually be sitting or lying on the floor and the parents actually wanted the child to “get up”.

.

So, “catch this” is “hold this” and “wake up” is “get up” in Tenglish.

.

If these adults can’t speak proper English, why do they bother to speak out loud in public? Is it because their child does not understand Tamil or any other Indian language?

.

Well, if so, that brings us to another question: what sort of English do these parents teach their children? If they are already speaking ‘wrong English’ [or “Tenglish” as it should be majestically known] what ‘correct English’ would they be able to teach their children?

.

“I simply-simply only beat the bell,” another child was heard telling his mother after he managed to “beat” the temple bell one evening.

.

“Don’t run-run. Then you fall only you know one,” the young mother replied.

.

Give us one reason not to laugh at that.

.

These temple going parents at times look educated. But the moment they start to show-off their English speaking skill, it makes us wonder if they ever went to any school.

.

They speak full of confidence. They speak loud. They want others in the temple to know that they and their children communicate in English. But their English is totally out!

.

“Where got?”

.

In Tenglish, “where got” could mean “no”, “where is it”, “where did you get it from” and more than ten other things.

.

“Your one”, “my one” (or mice one!) and “our one” could also be heard in temples.

.

“Shoe all cannot wear. Then sami scolding” is the Tenglish way of asking one’s child to take off his/her shoes.

.

“Faster-faster eat. Papa want go car already.”

.

“I want sami-sami,” the child insists.

.

“Faster climb the car!”

.

“You very naughty,” says the child.

.

Temple all must behave. Cannot simply-simply cry. Then people all say shame-shame,” the mother warns.

.

Whom is the “shame-shame” for actually?

.

By the way, if you happen to understand the Tenglish dialogues above, bravo! At least a Tenglish speaking person wouldn’t have problem communicating with you in a temple.

.

And may God forgive their Tenglish prayers!

...

(First published in Kavya, August 2002)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sila gunakan Bahasa Malaysia atau Bahasa Inggeris yang betul apabila mengemukakan komen. Hanya komen yang menggunakan bahasa yang betul dari segi ejaan, tanda baca dan struktur ayat akan dilayan. Pencemaran bahasa diharamkan!