Why is English so popular?
I mean besides the obvious reason that the English speaking community has taken over the world. How did English end up being the language that ended up getting chosen? It’s a very strange language.
Do you ever wonder if English should really be the universal language that almost everyone in the world can use? Does English have a particularly pleasing sound? No, not really. The words definitely don’t sound the way they are spelled, it’s not a phonetic language. It’s kind of annoying that you have to memorize the spelling of each word since there is no pattern or rhyme or reason for the spelling of any particular word.
I live on words, it’s sort of my food. Sometimes I think this English food is bland. That’s when I listen to songs or ghazals from India. The Microsoft dictionary doesn’t even recognize the word ‘ghazal.’ For those of you who don’t know, a ghazal is kind of a deep meaningful poem often in Hindi or Urdu or a mix, often times they are set to music and sung.
I joke with people that English is my second language because I moved to India at the age of like three to age five. I learned how to speak Punjabi first. I don’t even know Punjabi much anymore since my parents speak Hindi in our house. They speak a mix of Hindi, Punjabi, and English. It’s a spicy concoction that sounds pretty cool after all.
I know Hindi badly, I can understand most conversations. However, I’m thinking of learning Hindi formally, primarily because I love old Hindi songs and I love the language itself. Also, there is the fact that my blog is doing really well among Indian readers in India. I want to learn how to speak and write to them in their native tongue as well.
I think Hindi is much more beautiful than English, to be really honest. In English, we say: ‘The weather is nice.’ That same sentence in Hindi would be: ‘Mosom achaa hai.’ I don’t know if I did the Roman translation correctly, I probably didn’t. Anyways…Let’s google it: mausam achchha hai. Google is my friend when I don’t know how to spell anything. I literally cannot spell that well. But I can rhyme, some of the time. Below is a poem I wrote in English:
These are the words, the only words I know these are the times, the only times I know. But I don’t know. Which one of us is free, which one of us is caged? I live in my small rectangular room and I wonder, where else could I fly? Why are we all dancing, what page are we on?I can’t follow this story, without glasses and some coffee\I need the punctuation to make sense I am forever your friend if you don’t ask me to stay in your room. Where is eternity, in our eyes or the eyes of our naked friends? Where are my friends? standing in front of their fridge trying to find something to eat. We all, we all need to be full on something besides cracker jacks and daal mote. Betty Crocker called: she wants her spoon back. I eat with a fork you say, as if you are British, as if you deserve a cloth napkin and a clean face. Mother Teresa wants to eat your soul for breakfast.You, what do you want to feast on? Aunt Jamima would like you to sit down when you eat. The nuns and pundits want you to pray before you fast. Praying or Saying the right words won’t help you digest your food. Whether it’s pancakes you are eating or parantas, Save a bite for me, sister, save a bite.
Now let’s see this same poem I wrote in Hindi. I must admit I didn’t go to a real translator, I went to the first hit on google, and I didn’t really check to see if it was legit. It sounds accurate to me as a translation from the half ass Hindi that I know. You be the judge. Write in the comments whether you think the translation was good or not or how you would change or translate it yourself. Let’s have some fun! इन ये
इन ये शब्द हैं, केवल मैं जानता हूं ये बार, केवल बार मुझे पता है लेकिन मुझे नहीं पता हममें से कौन मुफ़्त है, जो हम में से एक है? मैं अपने छोटे आयताकार कमरे में रहता हूँ और मुझे आश्चर्य है कि मैं और कहाँ उड़ सकता था? हम सब नाच रहे हैं, हम कौन से पृष्ठ पर हैं? मैं इस कहानी का पालन नहीं कर सकता, चश्मा और कुछ कॉफी के बिना \ मुझे समझने के लिए विराम चिह्न की आवश्यकता है यदि आप मुझसे अपने कमरे में रहने के लिए नहीं पूछते हैं, तो मैं हमेशा के लिए आपका दोस्त हूँ हमारी आंखों या हमारे नग्न मित्रों की आंखों में, अनंत काल कहां है? मेरे दोस्त कहां है? उनके फ्रिज के सामने खड़े हैं खाने के लिए कुछ ढूँढ़ने की कोशिश करो हम सबके लिए, हम सभी को क्रैकर जैक और डाल मोटे के अलावा कुछ भी भरा होना चाहिए। बेट्टी क्रोकर ने कहा: वह उसके चम्मच वापस चाहता है मैं आप का कहना है कि एक काँटा के साथ खाओ, जैसे कि आप ब्रिटिश हैं, जैसे कि आप एक कपड़ा नैपकिन के लायक हैं माँ तेरेसा नाश्ते के लिए अपनी आत्मा खाती है। तुम, तुम क्या भोज करना चाहते हो? चाची जमीमा चाहती है कि आप खाने पर बैठ जाएं नन और पंडितों को आप से पहले प्रार्थना करना चाहते हैं, प्रार्थना करना या सही शब्दों को कहने से आप अपने भोजन को पचाने में मदद नहीं करेंगे चाहे आप खा रहे पेनकेक्स या पैरान्ट्स हैं मेरे लिए दीदी बचाओ, दीदी, काटने से बचाओ
Now first of all the script itself is stunningly beautiful, it looks like a work of art. Does English look like a work of art. Maybe it does to foreigners who don’t speak the language. What’s your opinion? I can’t read the actual script by the way. Now let’s look at the same poem in Hindi Roman script. You can all read this:
ye shabd hain, keval main jaanata hoon ye baar, keval baar mujhe pata hai lekin mujhe nahin pata hamamen se kaun muft hai, jo ham mein se ek hai? main apane chhote aayataakaar kamare mein rahata hoon aur mujhe aashchary hai ki main aur kahaan ud sakata tha? ham sab naach rahe hain,ham kaun se prshth par hain? main is kahaanee ka paalan nahin kar sakata, chashma aur kuchh kophee ke bina \ mujhe samajhane ke lie viraam chihn kee aavashyakata hai yadi aap mujhase apane kamare mein rahane ke lie nahin poochhate hain, to main hamesha ke lie aapaka dost hoon hamaaree aankhon ya hamaare nagn mitron kee aankhon mein, anant kaal kahaan hai? mere dost kahaan hai? unake phrij ke saamane khade hain khaane ke lie kuchh dhoondhane kee koshish karo ham sabake lie, ham sabhee ko kraikar jaik aur daal mote ke alaava kuchh bhee bhara hona chaahie. bettee krokar ne kaha: vah usake chammach vaapas chaahata hai main aap ka kahana hai ki ek kaanta ke saath khao, jaise ki aap british hain, jaise ki aap ek kapada naipakin ke laayak hain maan teresa naashte ke lie apanee aatma khaatee hai. tum, tum kya bhoj karana chaahate ho? chaachee jameema chaahatee hai ki aap khaane par baith jaen nan aur panditon ko aap se pahale praarthana karana chaahate hain, praarthana karana ya sahee shabdon ko kahane se aap apane bhojan ko pachaane mein madad nahin karenge chaahe aap kha rahe penakeks ya pairaants hain mere lie deedee bachao, deedee, kaatane se bachao
C’mon even if you didn’t understand a word, don’t you think the words in Hindi sound melodious? More melodious than English? I have spent my life studying English, I have studied Literature, Poetry, and Prose. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hater. I love English. Just like I love America, but I don’t necessarily think it’s the best country in the world. Does that make me an unpatriotic traitor? No, it’s just my opinion that many languages sound like every word could be sung to a tune. English is not like that. It is a bastard mutt language that has included lots of other languages. But isn’t that the beauty of the language? I’m a hypocrite, the only language I really know is English.
The part that bothers me the most is that the entire human race is forced to learn English when many English-speaking people, especially in the United States, do not know any other language but English.
How dare I criticize English by using English words. Hey, I just dared.
Hey, I just dared.
Now I dare you to do your own translation of this poem and put in the comments! Can’t wait to hear from you!