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Thursday, July 1, 2010


There have been funny instances that you, I and others around us might be experiencing or might have experienced. Language is an expression, a medium through which we convey our emotions or needs and wants. But after our classroom learning and real life experiences sometimes we fail to understand “what the other person is trying to say”. This is because of either our weaknesses or else difference in accents.
Today I am sharing some such instances which can be hilarious and meant only for a simple hearty laugh and not targeted to insult or make fun of any creed, caste or person.
A few days ago, I was asked by my uncle for some of his business deal to talk to a Chinese woman. And I called her up, and there was I, ended up just saying yes, no, what? And it was really a pitiful situation of mine, where I was hardly able to understand her accent. Just because, she had different mother tongue so her accents were influenced by it. Normally I don’t find any difficulty in understanding the different accents, as people have clarity in speech, but honestly the most difficult English seems to be them Chinese English, a challenge for me, where in I just secured 40%, i.e. I was somehow able to deliver the main message in the whole conversation.
After a month, again my uncle was having some trouble with his phone connection, so he asked me to call her and to deliver another message. Here I was asking my sister to do the job. As I felt it might be my fault, that I didn’t get her accents properly. So she took the job after much discussion and with the fear that she might end up in the same boat.
Anyhow she called her up. I saw her too, just like me, she was totally concentrating on understanding the accents and jotting down whatever she understood of the main points. She was either squeezing her eyes or closing them. “Yaa”, “okie…” ,“What?” ,“I am sorry??”, “Ahaan…” were the prominent words. Minutes felt like hours to her. And there she was writing her email Id: ya “x”, “o”, “I”, “k”..
The lady on the other side of the phone said: No, not “K”, its “K” for “Kob..”
My sis – “Kob?” You mean “K?” (Thinking to herself: Kob is a word??)
Lady: No no, not “K” for “Kob”, its “K”. “K for Kob”.
In puzzled tone my sis asked is it “K” for “Kite”?
“Oh no” the lady said, its not “K”, its “K” for “kob” “KOB..”
She was puzzled and pondered over whether she should write “C” straightaway or ask once again.
Just a last guess my sister made: you mean “Job”,” J”??
Lady in a relaxed tone: yaa, right, its “K”, “K” for “Kob”...
Anyway somehow conversation came to an end.
The outcome was, next time our brother will call her, I am not going to call her again.. I will ruin everything.
The second incidence- one of my brother’s friend, was attending trial class for his science tuition.
So there, his teacher said write “bhi”=12,
“ Bhi”= Distance/time.
“Bhi”= momentum/mass,
“bhi”= u + at.
After a while he peeped into his notebook. What is “bhi”?? Write “bhi”! He was puzzled, and changed the spelling from “BHI” to BHEE”. He said “bhi”, “bhi…” Write “bhi” not “bhee!” He said sir I am not getting you, his teacher took the pen from his hand and wrote down V and said this “bhi” for “bhilocity” (velocity), and he then moved to another trial class for his quest for a decent enough tutor.
Another one happened a few years ago, as I have been to Chennai many times. I liked the place and people were really helpful during the journey. Once me and my mom were received by some friends of my mother’s friend. We stayed there for a couple of hours. I called my cousin brother, Puneet bhaiya, to book our air tickets for Delhi for the night, as we were through with the work we went for. He asked me the address. I asked some girl sitting there. She said “Teynampet” I passed on the word to my brother who was on phone. He said “I didn’t get it, spell it” so I asked the girl to spell it.
Girl: “T”
Me to Puneet bhaiya: “T”
Girl: “E”
Me: “E”
Girl: “Y”
Me: “Y”
Girl: “YEM”
Me “YEM “
Puneet bhaiya: whats that???
Me: she must be telling one whole syllable.
Puneet bhaiya: Chup chap dobara pooch! (ask her again!)
Me: Can you please pardon the last letter?
Girl: YEM
Me: I don’t know, she is saying YEM only. Write it like that na.
Puneet bhaiya: Are you nuts? Ask her to write the spelling.
And I asked her to jot down the whole address.
While I unsuccessfully tried to control my laugh, in order to not annoy the girl who was helpful, my brother on the other side was laughing at my stupidity and ignorance and also on YEM which was M.
Ending note: One of my jija ji who is from south India tells us a joke, asking us how will a person from south India spell MOON?
On this note I bring this blog post to an end.
P.S. – As quoted in one of the autobiographies there was written “When someone has an accent, it means he knows one more language than you do.”


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hey, this one is nice!!
    I once had to take down the email ID of a Chinese man, and it came to me a hell of a job. Basically it took me 10 good minutes, when the call got disconnected and I mailed him. The mail bounced back :)

    Another instance was wen I had to make a call in hyderabad. As I thought that south Indians understand english better. I tried to make the other person understand.

    But all what I got from the other end was NO ENGLISH!
    I replied, Ok no english, then pls give the phone to sm1 who understands english...
    The guy on the other end said, NO POSSIBLE, HINDI is possible!!!
    Me: Ohh ok hindi, haa and I continued the conversation. That was hilarious!!
    Good post. Keep it up ~~~

  3. woah, this post came quick!!
    really funny, n well composed, and I really like the PS part :)

  4. ha ha tihs brings me memories... one of the english guy asked my friend to text to Keane McCarthy, but my punjabi friend when he heard..he thought it was Keane McKarthik and was trying to find him on the fone for a looong time :)!

  5. Shine - lol i am laughing big time.. we are sailing on the same boat, isn't it? You know exactly the real pain while talking to the Chinese people in English..
    the south India incidence has happened with me too. i felt nice after learning that they know hindi :)

    Rochana- A post like this doesn't need time to come.. this post was an emergency, that couldn't wait inside my mind.
    The PS part is from the autobiography of Sidney Sheldon.

    Harry- lol, thanx for sharing your experience here. ;)

  6. wat happens to all of us is definitely worth noticing :)) gud 'kob' !!

  7. This reminds me of 'you don't mess with the zohan' which also has some fantastic accents of israelis and palestines

  8. Good one LOL. And you can

  9. Hilarious ones. I do have lot of incidents I could recall. One of my north Indian friend replaced the starting letter in my name from B to V while filling an application form.

    I do find it difficult to understand one of my team member's accent. He is from Orissa.

    The most difficult one are when trying to understand English spoken by Chinese and Koreans :-)

  10. Insignia- U bet. lol. its True. few days back that chinese lady came at our home for lunch. trust me, i worked Hard to continue conversation.. Although her accent had much more clarity while taking face to face than on phone ;)


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