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Monday, June 01, 2009

schedule, ske-dule, ...Ejaz Haider

The average Punjabi, for instance, can barely pronounce kharra alif especially in the beginning of a word, or aen. Ta’leem is always tleem. Yaadaasht is always ydaasht; gosht is go-shutt; confirm is kun-farum; chance is cha-nus, the list is never-ending. Sometimes there is double whammy. While “behind” is always “backside”, perish the thought that “side” can be “side”. It will always be “sad” as in backsad with “a” pronounced in the Yank way rather than the British way.The mercury is soaring in Lahore nowadays and you can hear people going out to eat “ass creem” which is of course the endearing Punjabi way of saying “ice cream”. What is really great is when someone is going to eat “ass creem tuhadi backsad aali dukaan too’n”. That really creates a linkage between the two which the speaker is obviously unaware of!Urdu speakers are often scandalised, what with their chaste pronunciations. When Rana Sanaullah says mulak with emphasis on “lak” we know that the lak or backbone of the Urdu language has been delivered a hard blow but the Rana just cannot be expected to say mulk, true-blue Punjabi that he is.Ditto for Chori Saab; or Sheikh Rashid. To expect them to speak like Mir Taqi Mir or Mirza Ghalib would be to expect a Hippo to take to the desert with the naturalness of a camel. Not happening, bose!What takes the cake, of course, are “rape” for “wrap” and “snake” for “snack”. They are much better than suckool for school. But let the Urdu speakers not go away gloating over their chasteness, especially not after is-kool and is-tand and eeco-no-mee, exe-cue-tive and dev-lup-ment.

Tuadi backsad tay —Ejaz Haider


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