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  • Writer's pictureKuzhali Manickavel

"What did you say? Hay! What did you say? Nothing? Oh, it’s alright!"

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

This blog post is late because, to quote the school leave letter of my youth, I was suffering from fever. This blog post title is from the the song If You Come Today which I watched recently because I like to watch it from time to time because I like to watch it. The comments section for this song offers varied forms of entertainment because people generally say the same thing, namely this stupid Indian song is so stupid because he sounds like all those stupid Indians who talk English and sound stupid. There will also be those illustrious people who feel the need to speak for India Shining as a whole by saying ‘please don’t think this is how we talk, most educated Indians speak better English than most Americans (this, for some reason, is something to be proud of) and India is a rising superpower in the world today thanks to IT industry’ I feel it is the English that makes this song such a popular conversation piece. If it had been in Kannada, I seriously doubt we would be using it as a platform to humbly beg people in first world countries not to think badly of us and our cultures.

Then I read something by someone called Brendan O’Neill. Who it is? Frankly, I am very much not aware. I do know that he wrote this article on the revolutionary potential of the Queen’s English. He means that like seriously yougaiz. I’m sure this piece was probably written for British people in the Britain so as a coloured woman on the internet, I have yet again become outragefail even tho I aint even mad tho. So why blog about this? Mainly because I couldn’t think of anything else to blog about. But also, because for some strange reason in my one number country, we feel the sun is shining out of the backside of the Queen’s English, and I feel like we speak “Indian” English but we just HAVE to write in the Queen’s English and that needs to be our standard and if it isn’t you are against Indian culture. Even though writing in English is also against Indian culture, but it’s like ok if it’s in the Queen’s English but it’s not ok also. It’s complicated yougaiz. Anyway, I feel like these complicated feelings are what makes people participate in that favourite Indian humiliation game called ‘you can’t even write/speak proper English’. This is what makes people hate on Rajkumar on the internet, love him “ironically” and apologize to the world at large because he had the audacity to sing a song in English which isn’t really English and we’re like so sorry about that. 

Did you know there was a Queen’s English Society? This also I was very much not aware. This society apparently “railed against the misuse and deterioration of the English language” to which I would just like to say 

Also apparently, “Despite the sending out of a request for nominations for chairman, vice-chairman, administrator, webmaster and membership secretary, no one came forward to fill any role,” which reminds me of this thing I read that goes ‘Due to circumstances beyond our control, the annual meeting of the Vestal Virgins will no longer be held’. Anyway, basically what Brendan O’Neill sir is actually saying? Brendan O’Neill sir is saying that the Queen’s English is not only neat, it also has the power to bring us all together and make us happy and revolutionary like the people in bank commercials.

There are many interesting things that are said in this article but I herewith quoteth some of the few beauty blossoms from this bouquet of awesomeness because I feel I have heard many of these things said in our selfsame onenumber country, so please don’t think this is all about being mean to a white dude by taking what he has said completely out of context. It’s also about other random people who I can’t remember who have said things I can’t exactly recall. So that makes this all ok but just to be safe, I am so sorry also. 

“More fundamentally, the ha-hahing at the folding of QES speaks to a society which is increasingly allergic to the idea of a standard language, and to standards themselves,”

In other words, “What’s wrong with the world mama, people living like they ain’t got no mama”. I just quoted BEP on my blog. I have wanted to use that line for a while now and this gave me golden opportunity to do so. So there it is. I guess this is what happens when people have no standards.

“But in order to engage with society, with its public life and politics, you need to fully understand its language.”

What this actually means is “But in order to engage with society, with its public life and politics, you need to talk the Queen’s English because I don’t like your language so I shall heretofore pretend like I can’t understand anything you’re saying.” So you’re like LOL! And illustrious acquaintance is like oh my God what is happening I don’t know what that means! Speak English! This is India and you should speak English like all the great people who are great. And you’re like oh that’s Laugh Out Loud, Ell Oh Ell. L for laugh, O for Out, L for loud, LOL. Also pronouced lolololo. And they are like what are you saying?!!? I can’t understand you anymore, you’re not the same person I once knew! What happened to you? Is something wrong in your personal life? Something is wrong in your personal life and it’s making you speak in tongues. So you say haha instead and they know exactly what you’re talking about. There is this notion that the LOL folks are supposed to know how to talk “properly” but they refuse to just to make things difficult for everyone. Why? Because there’s something wrong with the world mama, people living like they ain’t got no mama.

“It is insulting to assume that young people, especially poor young people, are incapable of mastering standard language, of conquering English and all its glorious complications, and so instead must be allowed to write ‘potatoe’ instead of ‘potato’.”

Because I’m just a silly girl, I thought English was a language which is popularly used for the communication purposes. But apparently, it’s something that needs to be conquered, like a woman. I know this because in this one book I read, the dude said I WILL CONQUER YOU to this femaleperson and then they had sex. I feel that the Tamil equivalent of this is I WILL TIE MARRIAGE NECKLACE AROUND YOUR NECK. This seems to imply that conquering English is about having sex with it and tying marriage necklace around its neck which is not unlike the people fornicating with books, no?

Anyway, all that was just bizarre and made no sense. Basically what I wanted to say was what’s wrong with the world mama, people acting like they ain’t got no mama. The engsters are speaking English but it is not English because it’s poorpeople English so we should make them be more better by making them learn the Queen’s English. This is a super idea in 2012 because this form of English was basically all the rage in the late eighteen hundreds and ensures people write ‘potato’ because what in God’s name could a ‘potatoe’ be??!!! Must be some poorpeople thing. Or maybe it’s something they do in India with cows or something, idk.

“When it comes to language, the rule is that the more you know the rules, the more you can play around with them and twist them for effect, if you like. But you need to know the rules.”

“When people doll up declining linguistic standards as ‘cultural diversity’, they’re really making a virtue out of dumbness, turning illiteracy into just a variant form of literacy.”

Those are like sametosame opposites, no? Anyway, so you’re like LOL! And your illustrious acquaintance goes oh my God what is happening I don’t know what that means! Speak English! This is India and you should speak English like all the great people who are great. And you’re like, yougaiz! I DO know good English! See? I have this tattoo on my elbow that is a certification of genuine authenticity of my knowledge of the rules of the Queen’s English! And they’re like, oh so you’re just playing around with language and experimenting and breaking new barriers in the realm of word usage and narrative forms, you brave pioneering linguistic unicorn you! This certification is very important because there is a difference between Queen’s English Approved Declining Linguistic Standards and Conventional Declining Linguistic Standards. The certification will essentially let us know when to applaud for literary genius and when to make fun of people for being stupid or for being from another country/section of society. 

“The refusal to uphold a standard language is really a refusal to be universal.”

This is absolutely NOT like saying ‘ohai! I’m the centre of the motherfucking universe! Let’s everybody talk like how I want you to talk so yougaiz can be universal too. If you say no, I’m telling everyone you’re racist against English and the universe.’ It’s not like that at all yougaiz. Anyway, I guess my main problem with this idea of standardized English is really my own ignorance. I don’t know who decides what is universal. I want to know who gets to decide what is right and wrong with English. If anyone can do this, I want to know if I can also standardize English because I like to tell people that I am right and they are wrong (from what I can tell, this is the most important criterion for the standardization of English). And if I can’t do this, I want to know why not. 

I want to end this on a totally awkward note by talking about my former blog post about ebooks. I feel like there is this notion that if you love ebooks, you must by default hate other book forms because liking ebooks means you hate reading? Or something? I also feel like when you start snarking about a standardized form of English, there is this notion that you must by default hate grammar, proper spelling or the Queen’s English in general. Actually I think English grammar et all is pretty fabulous. But I also think other forms of English exist because a standardized form doesn’t work everywhere because we are all equal but we are not the same. And I feel that enforcing a standardized form of English ends up dismissing other forms, their worth and the reasons why they exist. I also don’t think lol is some kind of sign that English is about to fall down and die- I actually think it’s a sign that the language is growing and evolving. Then again, I’m someone who quoted BEP on my blog. So in conclusion, this is one of my new favourite sites called Internet Poetry which I think is so fine, but many are thinking is killing English, poetry and mankinds generally.

Oh and also see this? It is a louly write-up about a louly feature in the louly Elle magazine that was louly enough to say louly things about my writing and other people’s writing also. I am appreciating like anything and apologizing for not saying all that in the Queen’s English and for my excessive use of the word louly. 

live your lief


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