The idea after independence was to make Hindi the official language and
phase out English in 20 years. However less than half the country speaks
a language related to Hindi so they're officially bilingual.
I don't know if it's completely accurate but I'm reading a book about
the Scandinavian countries where the author state if you go to a
convention or meeting with Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Finns, and
Icelanders the Finns and Icelanders group together and converse in
English while the other three muddle along in their mostly mutually
I just finished semi-binge-watching a Danish TV series called
"Lilyhammer" about a NYC mob underboss that enters witness protection to
save his life and chooses Lilyhammer, Norway as his new home.
Sort of a semi-dark comedy. Guy who plays the underboss was in The
Sopranos too (Steven VanZandt)... not really an actor, more of a music
composer/producer/performer - but, IMHO, quite entertaining in both of
his movie roles.
One thing that caught my attention was the mixture of English and
Norwegian - which your observation seems to explain.
I'm waiting for Netflix to cough up the Lilyhammer second and third
seasons. I love how Little Stevie cuts through Norwegian political
correctness. Wolf? No problem, let me get my .38.
Norwegian sounds to me like a mixture of English and German, at least
Bokmal. I don't think I've ever hear Nynorsk.
The US series 'The Bridge' was based on the Danish/Swedish 'Bron/Broen'
with the bridge being the Øresund Bridge. There are a few references to
the problems of not quite understanding each other. The cast itself is
mixed and one of the Swedes said she had been on a bus in Copenhagen and
heard a teenage girl say 'skumfidus!' It immediately became her favorite
Danish word -- marshmallow.
Then there's the problem that Danes can't understand Danish:
I'm currently watching 'The Killing' that's a remake of 'Forbrydelsen'
set in Seattle rather than Copenhagen.
Sometimes I wonder what happened to American creativity when so many
movies and TV series are either remakes of US or European films.
Did you see the Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ?
I saw the Swedish version first, then read the book in English, and then
watched the American version in English.
The American version was ok.... but only "Ok"... no comparison to the
Noomie Rapace *made* the Swedish version - and she speaks perfect,
unaccented English.... so I had to wonder why they did not get her for
the American version..... but even with her in the lead role, the
American version would not have stood up to the Swedish.... It just
lacked the intricacies and nuances that the Swedish version had.
I've seen Dragon Tattoo, Fire, and Hornet's Nest, all in the Swedish
versions. I've never seen the American version. I wonder if 'The Girl in
the Spider's Web' will make it to a movie. I've read mixed reviews but I
think there is some discontent when Lagercrantz stepped in after Larsson
I've only seen some of the Wallander episodes in Swedish too, not the
British remakes, and read a couple of Mankell's book. It's somehow
apropos that the 'Faceless Killers' in 1991 theme revolve around
immigration and its discontents.
Most Indians that you run into do well with English and I've gotten used
to the accent over the years. It beats working class Yorkshire, which
I'm not sure is even modern English.
The joke is if an American is having trouble making himself understood
he speaks louder. I think the default for some ESL people is to speak
faster. If you're not sure about some of the twisted English
constructions, just skip over them really fast.
That sort of works in German; d' lets you slide over exactly what gender
a water cooler is.
When I was at a family reunion in Wells, Somerset, UK, I found myself in
the village standing next to two local character types talking in what I
guess was a local dialect.
To cut to the chase, I could not even begin to understand what they were
saying.... And I was *trying*.... and these were my people, so-to-speak.
At the major-league mutual fund where I used to work it seemed like the
workforce was divided about evenly between English-speakers,
Hindi/Urdu-speakers, and Mandarin-speakers.
I always preferred to have people in the second two groups near my desk.
If two people are going on-and-on in English, it messes up my
concentration.... some little part of my mind can't stop parsing every
word they say.
OTOH, if they are going on-and-on in Hindi, Urdu, or Mandarin; it's just
background noise to me and does not interfere with my concentration.
Score 1 point for diversity....
As long as they stay with one language. I've seen Bollywood movies like
'Monsoon Wedding' where the dialog can switch from English to Hindi to
English or vice versa in one sentence. I don't think that's uncommon for
upper middle class Indians.
During a miss-ent youth in Hawaii, I knew some kids from Algeria who had
lived in an apartment building where seven languages were spoken.
This kids would stand around mixing I-don't-even-know-what languages in
jokes so that a word in one language sounded like a word in another
language.... it all went over my head, but they would laugh their butts
off at some of the things they came up with.
James Joyce managed to get an incomprehensible novel or two out of that.
Maybe the kids were onto something.
Phuc Dat Bich turned out to be a hoax but I imagine Kim Phuc has had her
share of problems with people dealing with her name.
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