28 July 2005

Lingo Bingo: When the Spelling Is Telling

I must thank the anonymous visitor (I suspect it is a dear friend) who pointed out a spelling mistake in my previous entry. It was actually a common factual mistake, if you look at it hard enough. I spelt "in tow" as "in toe" by some oversight which was not exactly typographical. Very simply, it was a case of not applying my mind on something. Only goes to show that experience is never a guarantee, though it helps. One is always learning, and more so in this profession.
Only the other day, I learnt that "fresher" is a term used only in India and Britain. And that, too, has acquired a new twist. The term is historically used for new college entrants (what in the U.S. they call freshman..and I am not sure if feminists have invented the politically and genderly correct freshwoman yet!).
Now, Indian software companies have started using the term for fresh graduates, or recent graduates...or first-time, full-time employment seekers. You can go to the Infosys or Wipro Internet sites and hope to find that word in the HR annals.
And then, I am told blogger is the hottest new word in English.
Now "google" that on the "web" to find out more.
Languages keep evolving. Today's cool is tomorrow's grammar ( I fear!). And today's grammar is tomorrow's fuddy-duddy (I fear even more!!).
In my younger days, you were a cool pro if you knew not to say prepone when you needed to say "advance"--as in the advancing of dates. We would snigger when a headline read: University exams preponed. This intuitive adaptation of postpone is an Indianism which has now found a way into a supplement of the Oxford English Dictionary. This is a bit like associate membership in a club. If you are smart and stay long enough, you become a regular entry. I am dreadfully awaiting the day when the Oxford University would announce that its convocation has been preponed.
Now that prepone is a nearly propah, and program, rather than programme, is oft-used in Indian newspapers, both American and Indian usages of English are common.
Just as well. If Americans can twist the language one way and gain respectability, so can we!
But let us avoid invading Iraq, shall we?

No comments: