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A Guide to Simplified English

The Singaporeans and Mainland China folks adopted an easier form of written Chinese some 50 years ago and called it Simplified Chinese. Malaysians have taken a cue from them and are doing a better job by adopting this approach in a spoken Language instead of written – Simplified English (SE)!

Though much easier than many other foreign tongues like French, Dutch etc., regional language school kids in India still find the grammar and tense in English tough. We Indians have come up with many transliterations and introduced numerous new words and phrases to the language like –wala, Avtar, rain is coming, prepone etc. but you just can’t beat the SE.

Though the language Nazis would condemn it, I am not really against it, specially when everyday becomes laugh-roll day. How else do languages evolve? We don’t speak the 15th century version of Thou, Thee, Thy and Thine anymore! More importantly, I won’t be around when the language dies 😉

Yet, I find this way better than the SMS slang– ma (Mairu?) , whr (where or whore?), m8 (meet or mate?), drnx, hvng, txt (why do you hate the beautiful vowels?). We aren’t using the keypad Nokias to say that it’s quicker. (Even that had the dictionary mode!) The Text app auto fills words! R wl it evlv nto a wrtn SE? :O Kll me nw.

Here’s how you speak SE –

The 3 most important words in SE are: Can, Cannot, Got.

Memorize these like a prayer. They can help you in any life or death situation and in anything in between.

Usage :

Can – Use it in place of all Auxiliary Verbs such as Can, Will, Must, Shall, Ought, May, Yes, Could, Would, Should and in some places of Want.

When in doubt, use it. To break ice, use it. Pick up line, use it. For precaution, use it. Use this goddamn word anywhere. 

 Cannot – Rule: You aren’t supposed to shrink it to Can’t. It has to be pronounced as Can-Not.

Use it to denote No, Not, Can’t, Won’t, Mustn’t, Shouldn’t, Couldn’t, Ought not, May not…

 Got – Use it in place of Available, Got, sometimes in place of Have.. Usually preceded by a ‘there’.

If the verbs appear more than once in a sentence, you could replace the first one and just drop off the remaining ones. And if building a sentence looks tough, break it into single word sentences. There, just 3 words that solve so many grammar problems!

Got Usage

Picture Courtesy: The Grammarly page on Facebook

 Now, let’s get to the examples: (I kid you not; these are all real world exchanges, mostly spoken, some written)

Come here, can?

I take 50 for a pair, can?

Cannot Miss, Cannot for 40. 45 can.

You can come to the station at 5. (Means could you because the tone is soft and eyebrow is raised, 5 dragged!)

Can / Can can / Also Can / Can already.  (Means Yes) (This is a valid sentence in SE.)

You cannot open the window, it is raining. (Means shouldn’t)

I cannot join the party but I try. (Means might not)

You cannot kill me please. (Don’t)

Do you know where I could find a jar of mayo? Go to Aeon. There Got.

Do you have a smaller size? Got got got.

Where is the tofu & cheese section? Behind milk, there got tofu.  Lot. But no got cheese, girl.

Got 10 sen change?  No got, OK no problem.

 To sound a little sophisticated, use terms such as Never Mind, Free and Easy and include some Alreadys here and there.

For Tenses, if you know the present tense (or any one form) that will do. And always remember to keep the sentence crisp and short by dropping unnecessary verbs.  

 How old you? (Initially, I always responded with a “I am fine, thank you” for this question because l and d are silent here and so it sounds like how are you! 😛 )

SE Examples

You try Ice Kacang, very nice. I try, but I no like peanuts and read beans in ice-cream. (Yeah, you read it right, Malaysia’s most favourite Ice Cream or rather shaved ice comes with sweet corn, peanuts and fruit flavoured syrups. Cendol, another national favourite, is shaved ice with cooked read beans, plain jelly and a jaggery equivalent called Gula Melaka. Here’s me eating it –

Eating ABC - ice Kacang )

Well, there are a lot of purists who speak impeccable English too but, come on, who’s interested in talking to them!

OK, enough, I go now. If you got any questions or clarifications on SE, don’t contact me – however you speak it, it is right. There got no rules OK. The only goal: Conveying the message. If the other person understands makes out what you want to say, then you succeed. Flavour up the conversation with some gestures, sign language and please grab yourself..er.. I mean speak SE! Can?

P.S: If you think I am a Subramaniam Swamy’s Arnab Goswami, please come to Malaysia to see for yourself.  (While you are at it, I am sure you’ll get some Desi Ghee, Vadams, Sambhar Powder and Krishna Sweets Badam Halwa & Spinach pakoras for me. Add in some Karachi Biscuits if you can; pistachio flavour preferably. Don’t forget the jar of Mango Pickle from my mother. And, some Pani Puri take-away, can?)


Insight on Tulu!

An insight on Tulu, my mother tongue (& Father-tongue too), and the Tulu Community from various sources like blogs and wiki –

Tulu Nadu is a region on the South-Western Coast of Karnataka, India. It consists of the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. Tulu Nadu is bordered by the Arabian sea to the west, Uttara Kannada to the north, Shivamogga to the north-east, Chikkamangaluru to the east, Kodagu and Hassana to the South-East and Kerala to the south. Tulu is the principal language in the region, but other languages like Konkani, Kannada and Beary are also widely spoken. Tulu Nadu spans an area of 8,441 km2, roughly 4.4% of the total geographical area of Karnataka. The population of this region was 3,005,897 in 2001. Mangalore and Udupi are the chief cities of Tulu Nadu. Though it is a small region in Karnataka, it has quite a lot of history attached to it.

Historically, Tulu Nadu included the two separate lands of Haiva and Tuluva. The Ballal kings of Sullia ruled this area around 1100 years back. Madhvacharya in the 13th century built eight monasteries (Mutt) in Udupi. During the rule of Vijayanagara Empire, Tulu Nadu was administered in two parts- Mangaluru Rajya and Barakuru Rajya. Tulu Nadu is the original homeland of the dynasty that founded the Vijayanagara Empire until the 17th century. The longest reigning dynasty of Tulu Nadu was the Alupas. The Kadamba dynasty of Banavasi was the earliest, under which the Alupas flourished. Later the Rashtrakutas of Manyaketha, Chalukyas of Badami, Chalukyas of Kalyani, Hoyasalas of Durasamudhra and Rayas of Vijayanagar were the overlords. Over the many following centuries, more ethnic groups migrated to this area. Konkanis and Goud Saraswath Brahmins arrived by sea, as Mangalore was a major port that served not only the Portuguese but also the Arabs for Maritime traders. Jains were already a prominent group and have left behind indelible remainders of their glory with temples (baustis) in Moodabidri and monolithic statues of Bahubali, the Gometeshwara, in Karkala, Venoor and Dharmasthala. In the 16th century there was a large influx of Catholics to Tulu Nadu from Goa. They instituted excellent educational institutes and contributed to the development of education in the region. The Muslim community of Tulu Nadu was basically Arab traders who married local women and settled there. Some of them speak the Beary language, which is a mix of Tulu and Malayalam and others speak Urdu. Tulu Nadu, just like its history, is rich and varied in its culture and traditions.

Tulu Nadu is a very unique place in India. In terms of size, it is a very small region. But in terms of its contribution to Indian art and culture, it’s giant. Tulu Nadu has contributed immensely to various fields such as performing arts, dance cuisine and so on. Even the Great Vijayanagar rulers had a Tulu background (Tuluva dynasty). Tulu Nadu can be called as a land of culture, traditions and rituals. Today in the 21st century most of the people in the district follow traditions, customs and rituals, even though they have received a British-implemented modern education. The district has many Hindu temples of Gods and Goddesses, which are ancient and have deep spiritualism attached to them. When it comes to art forms, there is probably no other region India which offers such a variety within such a small geographical section. When it comes to culture, though performing arts play a dominant role, they are seen more as a ritual than as an art by the people.

Yakshagana is the popular folk art of this district, probably the most important contribution of Tulu Nadu. Yakshagana is a night long dance drama practiced in Tulu Nadu with great fanfare.

Bhuta Kola is a mixture of art and belief. It is a form of worship to the Bhuta or demigods of the land. This is done to satisfy the spirits. It is very intensive, colourful and equally ritualistic.

Kambala is a form of buffalo race on muddy track in the paddy field, is basically a rural sport. It is extremely intensive and requires great energy on the part of the participants.

Aati Kalenja is a very unique art form where kalenja goes around villages during the monsoons singing native stories. The belief is that honouring Kalenja with rice and eatables would ensure that evil spirits are warded off during the rains.

Nagamandala, like Bhuta kola, brings art and belief together. It is a very ritualistic dance worship of snakes. This is practiced according to the popular belief of Naga Dhevatha who goes underground and guards the species on top.

Hulivesha is a form of folk dance in this region fascinating the young and the old alike; it is performed during Dashara and Krishna Janmashtami. During Dashara in teams of five to ten go around the town in tiger costumes, accompanied by music. Just like snakes, tigers are revered in Tulu Nadu and Hulivesha is a natural outcome of such reverence.

Koti and Chennaya is a dance form stands as proof of how folklore can influence the culture of a community. Koti and Chennaya are two heroic brothers who worshipped as protectors of land.  Thus it is evident that Tulu Nadu’s culture and traditions cover various aspects like religion folklore, animal worship, sport and history.

The origin of Tulu community can be traced down in the history. The Vijayanagar Empire was divided into four dynasties of which Tuluva dynasty was one. King Krishnadevaraya belongs to this dynasty. People who speak Tulu can be traced back to this dynasty. Though Tulu language had a script, its usage was less and eventually it became an oral tradition. So, literary works weren’t produced in this language. As a result there is no record available about the people, their lifestyle, traditions and customs in Tulu language. Only very little information is available about the Tulu community in Kanada literature. Though the community is small in number it is pre-dominant in South Karnataka and is famous for its cuisine and their traditions and customs. The interesting fact is that the customs of Tulu people are all eco-friendly rites. And in Tulu Nadu Snakes are worshipped with great reverence and deaths due to snake bites in the region are an extreme rarity. The best part of the region is that the Tulu people’s lifestyle and rituals have not lost its pristine purity and identity in its enthusiasm to keep abreast of the times.



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