Wednesday, March 01, 2006

We've moved

Shifted over to wordpress finally, visit me at:

Monday, January 09, 2006

Blond Jokes

I don't usually post one liner entries but, this is a really good blond joke, via Cosmic Variance.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

On the Superiority of Pandas over all Felines ... and um ... ninjas of course

Still and quiet feline form,
In the sun, asleep and warm.
His tail is limp his
Whiskers drooped.
Man, what could make
This cat so pooped?
Bill Waterson

Gentle Panda, e'er so great,
Could you please elucidate,
That tiger which now looks all dead,
Why you hit him on the head?

Friday, September 09, 2005

La Trama

Thanks to the friendly folks at zbb and google, I recently put together this translation of Borges's story La Trama.

The original story is available here.

The translation:
The Plot

To his complete horror, Caesar, harassed at the foot of the statue by the daggers of his impatient friends, discovers among the blades and faces, that of Brutus, his protégé, perhaps his son, and no longer defends himself, exclaiming, ``You too, my son!'' Shakespeare and Quevedo record the pathetic shout.

Destiny is pleased by repetitions, variations, symmetries; nineteen centuries later, in the south of the province of Buenos Aires, a gaucho is attacked by other gauchos; whilst falling, he recognizes a godson of his, and says with vague recollection and mild surprise (these words must be heard, not read): ``Pero, che!*'' They kill him, and he does not realise that he dies so that a scene may be repeated.


* ¡Pero, che! -> 'What the..? Hey!'

Still not sure what to make of it.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Creolisation or Code switching?

"Tuné book padichi kar liya?"
X-SAMPA [tu:ne buk p@d`ici: k@r lIja]
A typical sentence, I'd use with my sister or some of my cousins, much to the chagrin of my parents, who had long given up on trying to persuade not to mix languages (basing this on their perhaps, true claim that the usage of such a mixture would render us incapable of mastering any one of them). To us this weird pidgin mixture of Hindi, Tamil & English was the closest, thing we had to a mother tongue, being Tamilians growing up in the Hindi belt. All communication with friends at home and school, was obviously in Hindi, yet somehow we always fell back on this creole for all communication among ourselves.

Now, what amazes me is how quickly, unintentionally, this language developed a sort of unwritten grammar of it's own far more comprehensive than what I had expected. Some examples are:

  • Pronouns are almost always from Hindi
  • Case markers also from Hindi except for the Dative where we often used the Tamil -əkku
  • Verbs almost always from Tamil though often inflected as in Hindi (or Hindi auxiliary verbs used alongwith them)

There are several more interesting features such as the strange usage of the English suffix -ify applied to Tamil verbs which were followed by a Hindi verb as in Tuné tani kudichi-fy kar liya?(tu:ne t@n`:i kud`icif@i: k@r lIja) to mean have you drunk water?

I'm not sure whether such a pidgin can be thought to have undergone a certain ammount of creolisation, considering that we started using this language at quite an early age. I think it would be highly unwise to try to linguistically analyse it any further purely from my memory, without hard data. Next time I go home, I'll try to record some conversational data with my sister, to subject it to further analysis.


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

On Language, Identity and Linguistic Chauvinism.

I got to thinking today about what we mean by a national language? Does such a concept mean anything at all in a multicultural, multilingual nationa like ours? The whole issue started of with someone complaining that the posting of notices in regional languages rather that English is offensive because it excludes all people not knowing that particular language. Now, this again sparked of the age old debate of the Rashtrabhasha, which makes me wonder, what is the significance of Hindi in the National context? Sure, with around 40% of the nation speaking it as their first language and another 10% understanding the language it is by far the most spoken language in the country, and given that these figures are from the '91 census, I suppose that Bollywood & Doordarshan may have made Hindi speakers a small but definite majority, but is that reason enough to force the other half to learn the language?

Then there is the weirder question of what exactly is the status of English? Spoken by 11% of the nation according to the '91 census, definitely a larger figure today, and still growing. Left behind as the unwanted legacy of a foreign oppressor, unwanted and suspect, it has managed to cling on in the nation and now as we slowly realise that with the Internet, that this knowledge of English has turned out to be a boon with a lot of outsourcing and BPO, stuff English is only going to strengthen it's hold on the nation. I think it is time we realised that English is as much an Indian language as any other and moved on to institutionalise this Indian English.

Methinks mine somnulence is making me very very incoherent now,
More on this later.


Monday, August 29, 2005

Is there, for honest poverty, that hangs his head, and a' that?

My favourite song, by Robert Burns : Do I need a Reason to put up things on this blog??

Is there, for honest poverty,
That hangs his head, and a' that?
The coward-slave, we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, and a' that,
Our toils obscure, and a' that;
The rank is but the guinea-stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that!

What tho' on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, and a' that;
Gi'e fools their silks, and knaves their wine
A man's a man for a' that!
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, and a' that;
The honest man, though e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that!

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, and stares, and a' that;
Though hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that;
For a' that, and a' that,
His riband, star, and a' that,
The man of independent mind
He looks and laughs at a' that!

A prince can mak' a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, and a' that,
But an honest man's aboon his might,
Guid faith he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, and a' that,
Their dignities, and a' that,
The pith o' sense, and pride o' worth,
Are higher ranks than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may---
As come it will for a' that---
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth,
May bear the gree, and a' that;
For a' that, and a' that,
It's comin' yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that!

On Random Thoughts in the Morning

The sunshine is gone,
Can Anyone drive away the:
The Cold Shivers of Death?

On the creation of new rarely updated blogs

I realised that the more work I have to do, the more I tend to waste my time. As a corollary of the above statement, the fact that I have to complete a lab Report today means that I up and started a quizzing blog : African or European. Well anyway, check it out if you either have time, or are into quizzing, and let me know.