August 13, 2011: Mmm, samosas.

Julie M:  Happy Saturday!  Jenny is AFK [away from keyboard] for a good part of the weekend so I thought I’d post to call attention to a resource that I plan to use to increase my enjoyment of the ENGLISH part of Indian films.

Here was our brief conversation earlier this week:

Julie M:  Did you see this article on Indian English and the Samosapedia?
http://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson/2011/08/indian-english

This could clear up a lot of differences between what we see in subtitles and what we hear in the original film dialogue, and would add texture to our enjoyment. Or maybe I’m just a big ol’ language nerd, that I think it’s cool. I signed up for the “Daily Chutney” email from Samosapedia and clicked around in the dictionary for fun. Great way to waste time (as if I didn’t already have enough methods).

Jenny K:  I love that Samosapedia site, it’s darned addictive… Quite an education. Thanks for sending it!

So I flashed on a filmi-English phrase that hear all the time, “Don’t take tension,” the meaning of which I could sort-of infer from context, and looking it up on Samosapedia brings this:   “A phrase typically used to calm anxiety.”   I was right on that.  However, looking up “Roadside Romeo,” which I thought meant someone who loafed on street corners whistling at girls, brought this more specific meaning:  “Slightly tragic Indian male figure hanging outside women’s colleges dressed to impress.”   And “First Class,” which I could assume meant wealthy and impressive, has a bit of a shade of meaning as the absolute tops, best of anything and is typically applied to food, which I hadn’t noticed before. Finally, I’ve been confused why they say “only” constantly, and consulting the Samosapedia reveals that it’s a word used to emphasize whatever the rest of the sentence is saying. The phrase “I am like this only” means “I can’t help it.”  Who knew?

Anyway, I’m going to look at the untranslated English in the films a bit more closely now, and run to Samosapedia to get the “real” translation.

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2 Comments

  1. Glad to have been of some service!

    • You’re doing contemporary culture a real boon. You have my full support!


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