Sunday, May 19, 2013

Attn: Incompetent, inaccurate mimics of the Malayalam accent

[on behalf of my long-suffering, eye-rolling, teeth-gnashing Malayalee sistaezhs and bruthaezhs]

No, it’s not as easy as you seem to think it is. You can’t just replace all Ps with Bs, all Ts with Ds, and all Ks with Gs, and think it’s done. For the minority among you (incompetents still, but somewhat less pathetic) who have given this a thought or two more, double displacement, which is a robust feature of most accents, will not meet the case fully either. By this I mean that you can’t replace Ts with Ds while cleverly replacing Ds with Ts, and think it’s done. There is much more to it, so get the wax and the prejudice out of your ears, and appear silent instead of stupid till you get it right.

There are at least 2 pronunciations of the letter L, and more than most people can ever train their vocal apparatus to accomplish of the nasal sounds. I mention L because there are 2 in the name of the language itself, and that’s where the mispronunciation (by non-Malayalees) begins. Avoiding all technical words, here’s a description: The first “l” is soft, and produced with your tongue flicking the back of your upper teeth. The second is more forceful, and produced by flicking your tongue against the roof of your mouth. This second will hereinafter be referred to as L. So non-Malayalees who say maLLu are already violating this rule. The word, if you must use it, is mallu. While on Malayalam, a word about the land: It is kay-ruh-La, not K-ray-la.

A few illustrations of the traps that ill-informed Malayalee mimics fall into, as well as some solutions, follow. Some of these shoes will fit. Wear them and cringe!

(i)           While in Talk-yoh (not Dock-yoh), the capital of the cundree (not guntry) Japan, you can dream about the oh-toes in India.

(ii)          You may well deposit money in a baang, but don’t expect to see a gangaroo in Australia.

(iii)        Trousers may be a paand, and briefs paandees, they are never a baand and baandees.

(iv)        Political intrigue may involve cone-spiracies, there are no gone-spiracies.

(v)          Kagadiyas may have ruled Warangal, Gagadiyas never did.

(vi)        Kyoons wear gault jwellery, aant take part in kyusses, vuhr bussers have to be pressed within a sekent after the kostin is asked. [Non-Malayalees, please don’t attempt.]

I have to mention that over-flogged dead donkey – the pronunciation of MOON. I call it a dead donkey because, contrary to the popular expectation, it is no horse. Find me a Malayalee who says Yum, Yo, (yet) Yanuther Yo, Yun, and I will show you a badly imitated Tamil. It’s the old old blunder that people make of classifying everyone south of the Vindhyas as Madraasi, and proceeding to make an appalling hash of all the accents.

Kindly don’t make fools of yourselves “imitating” the accent. It’s good to have the facts in any case, but imperative to have the facts when you are ridiculing something. So be more observend, and more skillful, else, you mo-rones, F-oaf.


No comments: