A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Language talk

Posted by Pepper on November 3, 2010

A lot of people seem quite astonished when they find out Mint and I belong to such different castes, communities, regions and perhaps even cultures. He is a Tam speaking South Indian. And me? I can’t seem to classify myself. But I am put into that broad category of North Indians (According to this division, anybody who is not a South Indian happens to be a North Indian. Simple) Most of the concern people have seems to revolve around one common question – What language do you guys talk in?

I don’t blame them for their candid curiosity. Typically, South Indians are not very fluent in Hindi (I do not wish to generalise, this is just based on my personal observations). And for a North Indian to learn any South Indian language is a nightmare. Will somebody please teach me Tamil before I give up completely? I understand little bits and pieces here and there. But being able to talk is a far way off.
So what language do Mint and I talk in? We speak in a mix of English and Hindi. Off late, it is more Hindi than English. Mint’s ability to speak Hindi is surprisingly good. All you need to do is ignore his South Indian accent while he talks. I am so used to it, I don’t think I even notice it anymore. In fact, he seems to have gotten quite used to the Bombay slang by now, and you can often hear him say stuff like ‘ Arrey yaar, nahi baba, abey, kya re, etc’
Now he does make some mistakes, quite hilarious if you ask me. And I am going to be mean enough to write about his usual errors here.
Mint: Woh toh andar chal gaya.
Me: Chal gaya? You mean chala gaya.
Mint: * Enquiring about some combo offer they had at a Pakistani restaurant * Toh yeh curry ke saath naan milegi kya?
Me: *giggling in the background and whispering* Its naan milega ka kya, not milegi.
Now this gender issue is quite troublesome. He insists on knowing why naan is male and not female. Uhh, I don’t know. I don’t have answers to most of his gender based questions.
Mint: * Looking for some restaurant while driving * Arey, usko toh idhar hi hona hai na?
Me: *Figuring out what he means – it should be here only* Idhar hi hona hai nahi. Idhar hi hona chahiye..
Sometimes its funny because he uses textbook Hindi. He’ll look at something and say, ‘Woh bohut sundar hai’. That makes me laugh endlessly. Sundar really? Whoever uses such words while talking? Other times, he shocks me by his knowledge of old Hindi songs. If I am listening to some stuff, he’ll hum along, leaving me zapped.
And then at times, he insists on knowing more than me. Yes, in Hindi.
Mint: Do you know what ‘warm’ is in Hindi?
Me: *After some thought* .. I don’t think there is a word for warm in Hindi. If there is, I don’t know.
Mint: There is. I know it. It’s ‘garam’
Me: Hah! Garam is hot, not warm.
Mint: No, its warm
Me: Okay, so what do you think hot is?
Mint: Garam garam
Me: *Speechless*

19 Responses to “Language talk”

  1. Titaxy said

    LOL me likes the garam garam explanation 😀

  2. Scribbler said


  3. Scribbler said

    LOL at the set of convos…BTW Mint still speaks a lot of Hindi so write sometime about your Tam skills too 😉 Oh c'mon be mean to yourself too :DP.S. Warm in Hindi means 'कुनकुना'

  4. Pepper said

    Titaxy: Lol yeah, it is quite amusing.Scribbler: No first. Comment moderation is on here. Nor do you have too much competition around here, so the victory wont seem very sweet. And T beat you to it by a few mins anyway 😛 My Tam speaking skills? Bwahaha. I don't think they exist. But yeah.. it'll make a fun post. Will write about it some time.PS* Did you google that? Or you really knew what warm was?

  5. Scribbler said

    No goggling…I knew it !! God promise 😀

  6. Scribbler said

    yeah this comment moderation makes it confusing..that's why the question mark 😉

  7. Pepper said

    Whoa! Toh phir aapke Hindi ka level bohut high hai..

  8. Phew – the husband does such mean things to me too. Though we both are south indians – he is the delhi types who speaks fluent hindi…and i am well not too bad…but not comfortable speaking…so he makes fun of me!!But seriously whats with the genders…Naan looks very feminine if u ask me

  9. ajay said

    Interesting post it was! And you're very right about the north Indian and south Indian bit. Lol@textbook Hindi 😀 I have a Bengali friend and I howsoever I try to teach her when to use 'ta' and 'ti', she always mixes them up and it sounds so funny 😀 Even I didn't know the Hindi for warm. Thanks Scribbler for that. Your Hindi is perfect 🙂

  10. Smitha said

    LOL! That was funny! But you know, this gender thing in hindi is somethign I could never figure out – so I just switch to English when in doubt 🙂 Much easier 🙂

  11. ROFL! My dad used to do that Tam-Hindi thing :)Fun to tease no? 😀

  12. I am with Scribbler..I knew warm in hindi..In fact I know two words for it :DThe other is 'Kosaa' which is used in one of the hindi dialects 😛 :PThe hindi fe/male drives all non-hindi speaking people nuts..but i think Minty is doing better than most 🙂

  13. PNA said

    This gender thing in hindi was so confusing at school and there was no explanation as to what belongs where 🙂 I would love to hear your Tamil skills! I for one say I'm glad my children will learn a min of 3 languages and can take up a university post in Comparative Lit 😛

  14. Pepper said

    Nuttie: Haha! Naan looks feminine to you? Why? 😛 Jokes apart. I do agree, gender is one of the most confusing subjects in Hindi. Ajay: Thankfully I am not subjected to the wrong usage of 'ta' and 'ti'. That must be very funny indeed :DSmitha: Switching to English is a smart choice. When I don't know the Hindi equivalent of the word I want to say, I switch to English too 😛 Rays: Really? your dad did that too? It is so much fun :D..Comfy: Ohh yaaa, I know 'Kosaa' too! I just didn't think of it that time. Wonder what dialect it is..Pins: Like I said my Tamil speaking skills are non existent 😛 ..I have a very limited vocabulary. Help me find a tutor first? :PAnd yeah that's true. Children in a mixed marriage always have that advantage and can speak multiple languages. Comparative Lit is a good field 😛

  15. Wow! it's fun to be married to someone who speaks another language but I do realize the hilarious side to it too 😀 :DEnjoy the difference 🙂

  16. Pepper said

    Yep yep.. Fun and hilarious both 😀

  17. roop said

    haha i could relate to this so well. i am married to a telugu iitian who speaks bihari hindi in a somewhat telugu accent ;p. and i am a punjabi grown up in canada. ;). our conversations run very smoothly too … almost as smooth as yours. heheh

  18. roop said

    btw warm = kosa … in punjabi and some people use it in hindi too. also, for hot, in addition to 'garam', the word 'tap' can be used too. example: water is hot. paani tap raha hai. chalega? :))

  19. Pepper said

    Roop: As long as the conversations are smooth, it doesn't matter :DAnd you're right about tap too. Now that you mention it, I think i've heard it being used, mostly with reference to the weather. For example, 'tapti garmi'

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