Tuesday, August 19, 2008

holy linguish!

Please tell me someone didn't get paid to write inarticulate (no pun intended) drivel like this (unless they were talking about Shahid Kapur's passion for photography).

The exploration of painful Inglish (that's Indian English for you puTTan) continues with a look at the shadow of a doubt. That's doubt used as a verb in a sense as to mean exactly the opposite of convention. Consider the statement I doubt that this is what is causing the problem. This does not mean, dear hapless reader, that the speaker does not believe that this is the cause of the problem. Au contraire da befuddlement. The speaker, should he/she own up to having an Indian passport, means to say that he/she suspects that this indeed is the cause of the problem. One pities the ears and eyes that are at the receiving end of such oppositely coded pronouncements. Should you choose to subject your brain to some more topsy loops, try the entry for doubt in Eric Partridge's Usage and Abusage.

Before the closing rites, let us pray for the soul of the dative case in German that seems to have inspired (without official credit, of course) concoctions like "I replied him yesterday itself" and "Can you explain me this?" Note that both examples sorely lack an appropriately placed "to." Note also the appearance of the familiar "itself" topping off the first example -- this word along with "only" serves to emphasise, assert and underscore what has transpired before it. Mind it itself. We are like this only.

In closing, allow me to recommend George Orwell's excellent article Politics And The English Language. One hopes that this encourages those that fight against the abuse of the apostrophe, against the singular decline of the plural, against the ubiquity of specious verbosity and crap-speak and noisome neologisms. You ain't never alone.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.