Lost in translation

I’d like to share a little anecdote from the first time I met up with Babu off of the ship, we were walking through the city park , it was a pretty crisp winters day – i was rather regretting getting an iced coffee! We sat on a park bench, we were talking about Indian stuff, his home his family and stuff like that.  At this stage i’d only known him just over a week so was still struggling with understanding his accent a lot of the time, it was fine for him, he was speaking to british people every day so there was no  issue for him!  So when he said something about a brinjal i had no idea what he was on about, so the usual sort of convorsation ensued . .  “brinjal” “what?” “brriiinnjal” “eh?”  “BRINJAL” “you know…big black thing” “say what??” by which time we were in virtual hysterics, and me with no further idea what a brinjal is, so i resorted to google – “ooooh, an aubergine!” “yes, yes, an aubergine” glad we got that one cleared up.

These days we still have a lot of “eh, what, uh?” sort of conversations, not just me to him but him to me as well except I usually persist until I actually know what he is saying, he on the other hand will ask twice then that’s it, if he still hasn’t understood by then he will grunt. I will question his grunt, to which he will reply with another grunt – I guess this has something to do with the Indian need to please, he simply grunts which is a generic answer to any scenario, that way he cant go wrong – except I know he hasn’t a clue what I’ve been talking about!

I love it though, the things that we say that get misunderstood have lead to some of the biggest laughs I’ve had in a while, so yeah, I like it when things get lost in translation.


4 responses to “Lost in translation

  • mohit2k6123

    I think Brinjal is also an English word.How could you not know it being a British.

    And do you know what it is called in India? Try to concentrate on what I say 😉

    “BAIGAN” and pronounce it like “BAY-GUN”

    • ria

      Ah, you see Mohit, it may be an English language word, it is however not a British word! A lot like eggplant, just not in my vocabulary!

      I looked it up . .

      “In Indian, South African, Malaysian and Singaporean English, the fruit is known as a “vengan”, “baingan” or brinjal, with the latter being derived directly from the Portuguese beringela!

      We learn something new every day hey!

  • P m

    Its called baigana in Oriya.

  • “In-glish” and Indianisms « me and India

    […] talk about my first encounter with In-glish in my post about brinjals, but I thought it would be fun to share a few more of them here, these always make me […]

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