If you grew up around the 70's you might recall this really entertaining cultural sitcom by the name Mind Your Language which was a British sitcom that premiered in 1977. Each character in that sitcom was so entertaining and full of cultural disconnect, yet they met in a classroom having one objective of wanting to learn English from a British teacher Mr. Brown. I don't know if the full episodes of that sitcom are available on YouTube but I have in my feed seen a few clippings from the sitcom. Do search for it and give them a watch, promise you will ROFL! Better yet, if you could still get the DVD of this sitcom, go get it!
However, this post is mainly about my experiences with the English language and how it is mis-spoken OR spoken in India. Mind you India is the largest population that speaks this language around the world by which I mean more people more speakers of the language, since we have the credit of being a highly populated country neck to bone competition with China. Also I am not claiming to be an expert in the language, nor am I trying to be discriminatory of non-native speakers of the language. I am just sharing some experiences that made me giggle and perhaps will bring your attention on how a language can be made to be so funny by non-native speakers of it!
Myself Anthony, Oh is it?
Are you in doubt OR unsure of what I just said?
"I had a tough week with 3 deliveries on hand. One of the associates responsible for a critical module has fallen sick" that is a statement one made and the response was "Oh, is it" I don't really know where such a response comes from but it seems to be programmed into many people I have conversations with. I am left wondering if the person who I spoke to doubts what I just said. I have heard the "Oh is it?" in different tones of speech, one with concern, one with doubt, one with excitement, one with the I don't care attitude, one with a very suspicious tone etc.
Whenever I get this response I reply "Yes it is" and dismiss the thought of further trying to understand why the "Oh, is it" reaction by the other person ment. To the above illustrated statement I would expect the following responses "That's a bad deal" OR "That's really challenging" OR "How did you manage the situation?"
Here are some more statements I made that got the a "Oh, is it?" response:
I am not having lunch
I prefer coffee anyday
I'm calling in sick
I need to go to the restroom
I am not saying if it is the right or wrong response but it sure does make me feel weird whenever I am responded with a "Oh, is it?", not sure if I am the only one.
Myself Jignesh, I am 5ft & 8inch tall, Fair and Handsome
This actually happens when you are asked the question "Tell me about yourself"
Of the many experiences I had interacting with people across India, I got familiar with this pattern of replies. I can totally understand why this happens. The opposite of yourself is myself. Friends when you are asked to introduce yourself either to a client, at an interview, to a colleague or for that matter anyone answering with "myself" is wrong!
The right way "I am" or "My name is" and how Coolio would do it "I is", I wouldn't use the Coolio illustration in a professional environment. Remember this is an introduction so it's also a first impression that you are making with this new acquaintence. So be confident in introducing yourself and establish the right relationship that will surely benefit you if done right.
Start with your name and if it's a professional acquaintence follow it up with "I have worked with this industry for" OR "I design games and mobile applications". Don't use the professional illustration for a personal acquaintence, nobody wants to hear you brag about your professional skills at a party. In a personal setting, start with your name and indulge in a conversation by telling your acquaintence about where you are from and what you like OR your hobbies.
Myself Bashah and I cannot be able to do it
If you can be able to do it or you cannot be able to do it, either ways you are wrong!
There are somethings that you can do or cannot do. Like when you are asked if you can come to a party on Sunday, your response should be "Sorry, can't come or can't make it" and not "Sorry, I cannot be able to come"Likewise, if you are asked if you can do something and you are in a position to do it your response should be "Sure, I can" OR "Alright, I will do it or I can do it" and not "I can be able to do it"
Because in conversation we aren't trying to judge your ability but your willingness to do a task or seeking your consent.
Hope you enjoyed this post, share in the comments any other linguistic funnies you might have experienced at work or in your personal engagements that can bring all of us a laugh!
Watch Ismo - a stand up comedian from Finland on YouTube that has so much material on how English is a funny language. Sample Video
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