Dictionary, Shmictionary

First of all, what about this title ‘Dictionary, Shmictionary’ with its consonance type effect?

I was of the view that such casual repetition of words is a bad habit amongst people living in the sub-continent. “Have you eaten dinner-vinner?  Let’s have chai-shai?

So Word Press wants to know, what’s wrong with our English Vinglish?

This reminds me of ‘English Vinglish’ , a movie from India, in which a simple, bored, middle-aged woman – a neglected wife and a mother of two – decides to learn English so as to feel valued by her family and to assimilate herself within the educated culture that surrounds her. Her own children laugh at the way she speaks English so she takes this stance. She enrolls herself in an accelerated English language class.

See her humorous first day in class…

This movie was a reminder of ‘Mind your Language‘ series I saw somewhere. But the way she, along with other students, learns new words in English at her age, is the way each one of us learnt it at a much earlier age, that is in our school.

Generally we assume that we should learn our basic languages, English or any other, as early as possible. We should also learn them for as many years as possible. That’s because a language can’t be learnt in a few days or months. It needs years to do so. But it need not be so.

Even if the level of expertise that one attains in a quick crash course in any language, is nowhere near that of a veteran linguist or a native speaker, but there’s no harm in learning simple basics at any age. I am familiar with at least a few words of most Indian languages, and would like to learn more of French, in fact as many languages as possible.

So, coming back to ‘Dictionary, Shmictionary’, while I’m sure there are many English language words that I once did not know the meaning of, right now I don’t remember many. There is one word though that had produced somewhat embarrassing situation for me. That word is ‘nostalgia’.

I got mixed up between ‘nostalgia’ and ‘nausea’. When I told my teacher that I am feeling ‘nostalgia’, she could not comprehend me. Actually I was nauseous and unwell. But how was she supposed to understand what I was saying?  This happened long ago when I was just learning some difficult words in late primary school in India.

So, there you go…this English Vinglish is indeed a very tricky language. I still don’t know many new words that keep coming up. You are free to correct me, at least in my written English.

~~~

My long winding reply to The Daily Prompt:  Dictionary, Shmictionary

“Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).”

4 thoughts on “Dictionary, Shmictionary

  1. I used to use the word “hilarious” without knowing what it meant. I thought it meant ‘shocking’ so whenever I would describe something as hilarious with a straight face I got some interesting looks!

    Liked by 1 person

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