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Hindi Language & Punjabi People : Sarbjit Singh

“Hindi Language & Punjabi People”

Those who know both hindi and punjabi languages tend to think that if you know punjabi, speaking hindi should come naturally. Well, it may not really be the case.

My mother-in-law is a Punjabi, born, brought up and lived her entire life out of India.

Yesterday, as we were watching TV, we saw an advertisement in which she recognised an Indian Bollywood actor.

Immediately she said,”Isn’t he the guy in Bhujj Milkha Bhujj?” She had just totally translated “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” title from Hindi to Punjabi.

Then I remembered my mother ¬†whose hindi was extra-ordinarily colourful. Once she told one of our servants “Dekho kitna gaand pya hai. Jharoo ghoot ghoot ke maro!” (“See how dirty the place is. Sweep it properly”). In that sentence she had quite literally murdered the hindi language.

Previously hindi movie names and hindi serial names used to be one or two words long and saying those names was not an issue. Ever since the names have become like sentences, the situation is altogether different.

My wife, a jat sikh by race, never studied hindi and the only punjabi she knew when we got married was the one spoken in her home by elders. She still has the same problems vis-a-vis hindi language.

“bade achhey lagtey hain…” becomes “Bade Change legdey hain..”

“Des main nikla hoga chaand..” “Des ch niklya hona chund..”

I am not joking, I have heard these serials being referred to like that…

The young generation NRIs of now are much better in speaking Hindi with so much of exposure to hindi music and hindi movies that they have.

I, having been brought up and studied in a boarding school in Punjab, always thought my hindi was quite acceptable, in fact good. This ‘illusion’ lasted for many many years.

Once I did a presentation in a conference in Amritsar. After my presentation one of the delegates said, “Your presentation was very good but I loved the way you said the word ‘Punjabi’ in your Punjabi accent!”

I guess you can teach as much hindi as you want to a Punjabi but you can never get rid off the Punjabi accent out of a Punjabi…..



3 Responses to Hindi Language & Punjabi People : Sarbjit Singh

  1. kaustubh

    sarbjit….similarly i always thought that marathi and hindi are very similar…..but…on the contrary with the exception of few words and the script ( devnagri)..they are poles apart. i grew up in an environment with mix languages around me..hindi, english, marfathi ( mother tongue) and the quintessential gujarati….but i know thw hndi i speak is a mix and match of urdu, hindi and may be a few punjabi words..( well i didnt know the origin of word in child hood.) subtle diffrences like waqt and samay ( urdu and pure hindi), imtihaan and pariksha, …tashreef rakhiye…and padhariye baithiye……..and many more…this has to do with hindi film songs being liberally peppered and garnished with urdu..( razia sultan was actually an urdu film..though simplified…but some how even at the age of 7 or 8 yrs i never had difficulty understanding the film barring a few words.)
    if u know gujarati….u wont infact have difficulty in understanding marathi. i guess marathi is more closer to gujarati than hindi..( i think so.)
    with communication and commuting becoming so easy and rapid as it is today…soon we will have a pot pourri of multiple languages culminating into one communication element. ( the bambaiyya hindi is an example of sorts.)
    please put in more of ur thoughts…i would like to know more from u. anybody can always rely on u to bring forth “hatke” and interesting topics.

  2. Sarbjit

    Thanks Kautubh for the elaborate analysis

  3. sgopal

    What I mean by mother tongue is, the language you interact with friends and parents during the formative years and that lasts for ever.If one is asked to mentally multiply two digit numbers. the language one uses will be the most frequently and fluently used by that person One always thinks in his mother tongue!

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