Why butcher the English language? Just speak in Urdu

Published: February 15, 2013
SHARES
Email

I constantly found myself mentally correcting his grammar and ultimately I realised that pursuing marriage with him would be nothing but a disaster.

Walking towards the Select mart at the petrol pump today, I saw a sign on the wall that read “Select Gate” with an arrow pointing towards the right. It took me a while to figure out that they really meant that the door (the “gate”) was to the right.

The writers of this sign may be excused for being uneducated people who are unfamiliar with the English language. Being an avid reader and a writer, however, like Henry Higgins, I am particularly sensitive to the abuse of the English language, especially when it comes from someone who really should know better.

I was talking to a certain woman in my neighbourhood the other day. She started off the conversation by telling me she had been “marketing”. My mind began to conjure up images of advertisements, publicity, promotional gimmicks and the like, until she proceeded to tell me about her traumatic experience during a recent trip to the butcher’s.

“I’m sorry? The butcher? How did he manage to fit in your marketing campaign?” I blurted out.

Marketing campaign? Of course he fits in. Won’t you find the butcher in the market?”

Oh, she meant going to the shops. How silly of me!

This joke was lost on a girl who had completed her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with me. She recently lamented via a Facebook status update on how people were unable to distinguish between the terms “marketing” and “sales”.

I immediately responded with,

“Oh, I thought marketing meant going to the market. I didn’t know it had anything to do with sales.”

My joke immediately fell flat. Narrating the whole from-the-book definition of marketing that would have made Philip Kotler proud, she concluded with “…whereas sales means SAILING a product.”

I had to tie my hands down to prevent me from crafting a reply that mentioned a boat. She wouldn’t have understood.

On another occasion, a classmate sent me a text asking me if I knew about a “protean” diet. For a person who had been raised up in a family that never spared a cricket match, who as a teenager had developed (for some inexplicable reason) a massive crush on the late Hansie Cronje, this was irresistible.

I immediately texted back,

“A diet of hot South Africans? I wouldn’t mind a bit of AB de Villiers if he’s available.”

Turns out that is not what she was talking about.

I was recently proposed to by a young man who was otherwise the perfect eligible bachelor and quite the gentleman. He had been educated at a prestigious business school, with a job in Malaysia, and I was not expecting to hear him use phrases such as “anyways” and “sux”. It took a lot of effort on my part to convince myself that I was not being courted by a teenager still in high school. I constantly found myself mentally correcting his grammar and ultimately I realised that pursuing marriage with him would be nothing but a disaster.

It’s not much better at the office either. Anyone showing up late for a meeting or appointment invariably comes with a very apologetic “sorry for late”, or “sorry for kept you waiting”.

I cannot stop myself from cringing every time.

Yet, there have been funny situations, too. Congratulating a manager (who was affectionately known as “Sally”) on the birth of his first baby, a colleague and I wrote on the card we designed for him:

“Congratulations on your spawn, Sally. We are proud of you! Way to go!”

The look of utter and total incomprehension on his face as the entire department roared in laughter was priceless.

The true heartbreak came in an article I read in a reputed newspaper some time ago. Growing up, I had taught myself English by reading the various publications of this newspaper and improved my creative writing skills by writing for its children’s edition. The author mentioned her late sister – using the word “belated”. I cried – and not in mourning for the dear, departed sister.

One can excuse those who do not know the language or whose command over it is poor, or maybe even someone who is learning to speak it. But if someone has had a background where they have been exposed to English, or their job requires knowledge of the language (as in the case of the newspaper editor mentioned above), they should at least take the trouble to get it right. If not, at least get rid of the hang-ups that prevent communication in Urdu – or any other regional language – when your English is inadequate.

People should learn to be comfortable speaking their own languages rather than equating knowledge of English with a status symbol.

Do you think people in Pakistan equate speaking English with being upper class citizens?

     View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Read more by Sufia here, or follow her on Twitter @sufiazamir

Sufia Zamir

Sufia Zamir

A marketing communication planner, blogger, creative content writer, and a part time Urdu translator, Sufia blogs at www.sufiazamir.com and tweets as @sufiazamir twitter.com/sufiazamir

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Rabael Malik

    Arrogance is evident in this article and I can understand Anglophiles are abundant in Pakistan and we cannot blame you at all. In Europe believe they encourage you to speak their language because they know that over the passage of time you will learn that language but in Pakistan on the contrary some self confessed Shakespears are filled with so much ego ( thanks to their Aristocratic background that led them to learn English in the first place ) that they think they are soul flag bearers and soul proprietor of English language despite the fact we know that in which mess our education system is. ,Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Why knowing english is being considered educated why we are so narrow minded and what the hell is wrong if one dont know ingleesh and its not a holly molly language either.Recommend

  • Parvez

    That was enjoyable and your conclusion was more than apt………………….but don’t you think you’re being a bit of a martinet, there’s more it than just correct English.
    Today its not the butcher of the language but the singing fish-monger, who matters ( corny but couldn’t help myself )Recommend

  • Rashid

    ‘Why butcher the English language just speak Urdu.’

    A sane advice. Holds true for the whole sub-continent. Just replace the word ‘Urdu’ with
    Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi or Bengali. Recommend

  • Nandita.

    The movie ‘ English Vinglish’ was made for a reason. Please watch it.

    Even if a person has been exposed to English or his job requires him to know the language – there are chances he/she will still make errors. In my opinion, that’s fine because English is a foreign language. These people probably do not speak it as often as you do. Practice makes perfect – You may be fluent at english because you speak it often while these people you spoke about don’t.
    Making errors/mistakes is a part of the learning process. One needs to speak the language in order to master it. He might stumble initially but eventually he’ll grasp the intricacies of the language and get a hang of it.
    A condescending attitude towards learners will only hamper their progress and might force them to give up speaking the language out of fear of being mocked.
    Put your knowledge to good use. Start teaching. Stop Judging.Recommend

  • jerseybb

    Living in Dearborn, Michigan, I try to speak Arabic while hanging out with my Arab friends( That I speak with complete disregard to vocab and grammar), it would break my heart if they banish me like this. One advise for the author, take it easy :)Recommend

  • boco

    I was going to comment “Henry Higgins Complex (of sorts) much?” but I’d rather not have the author break into hives at my poorly constructed sentence. I understand your frustrations directed at your colleague with an MBA (mostly for her throwing textbook definitions at you) and at the published article but snickering at the neighbor, the friend seeking details of a diet, the gentleman pursuing your hand in marriage, and the manager at workplace is unnecessary and mean. Recommend

  • Vinod

    So apparently you’re a grammar Nazi.Recommend

  • Kashmiri

    Two foreign languages. One from UP (uttarpradesh). Another from LP (London Parish). So, what is the difference?Recommend

  • Sana

    Five minutes wasted!Recommend

  • Citizen

    Is it correct to say “believe you me” .i thought it was supposed to be “believe me”.someone i know says that a lotRecommend

  • Haider

    You might have let go of a wonderful husband just because of a few grammatical mistakes. Sad.Recommend

  • gp65

    Judgmental much?Recommend

  • Sophia A

    You make a great point, i just hope it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.Recommend

  • MilesToGo

    The current English is totally wrong anyways – Correct English was Old English that was butchered long back.Recommend

  • deeply disappointed

    fanon once wrote that among the most pernicious effects of colonialism is the loss of self among the colonized.

    an article written in a decidedly liberal (and not progressive or left – liberal, no less despicable than conservative), english-language website that spends all but its final line establishing the writer’s superior command over English and devotes the rest of itself to berating those who cannot speak it ‘properly’ (which of course, begs the question of what is ‘proper’ english – presumably the writer has a conservative view of this, for an expansive view would accommodate new uses and meanings of words), hardly convinces one that the writer wants us to reject english as a status symbol.

    I am not sold. Who reads ET? How many of them receive their education in English? What language does ET publish in? Who, after being belittled for several paragraphs, goes “Ah yes, it is not that I should be ashamed of my English, but rather that I should take pride in my non-English language. Of course, that’s what she’s saying!”
    Did I mention I am not sold?

    Dabashi, in his 2006 Al Ahram critique of white-identified post-/neo-colonized wrote “the location and lanugage of one’s politics matters” – it matters where you say what you say, and in which language you say it. This article cannot redeem itself by a passing final sentence asking – almost by way of pity – for people to adopt another language.
    I fully agree that english has become a class indicator in pakistan. Fanon, writing in black skin white masks, discusses a dark-skin algerian who refuses to recognize she does not look white. Her self-delusion is that complete.

    If you, Sufia, think you have some manner of monopoly over correct english, there are plenty of exclusionary americans and britishers eager to excommunicate you from the “correct-speaking” fold.

    Really, there are so many flaws with this article that I am having a hard time wrapping up this comment. I will just list them off: what constitutes “correct language”? Who decides what it is? Can communities not adopt and change language – like Crele among hatians, and ebonics among african americans? Should they too give up on the language they have crafted and go back to what you might consider more ‘indigenous tongues’? Is english really a non-indigenous language of Pakistan after nearly 400 years of ‘locals’ speaking it?

    it seemed to be that you were more worried about english being ‘sullied’ – because of course only the white man speaks ‘corrrect’ english – than about the revival of urdu and other regional languages.

    Deeply disappointing. Recommend

  • MilesToGo

    ‘butcher’ is wrong. Original correct word is ‘bouchier’.

    ‘English’ is wrong. Correct word is ‘Englisc’.

    ‘language’ is wrong. Correct word is ‘langage’

    thats just the title…Recommend

  • NP

    Yes people should be comfortable speaking their native language but there is no need to judge someone because they don’t speak English with native fluency. Learning a language is difficult and as someone who has learnt a foreign language one of the most terrifying things is trying to speak the language without feeling self conscious about the mistakes. People who ridicule and constantly correct even minor mistakes don’t help with the learning.Recommend

  • Pro Bono Publico

    Oh you missed those great “Tolet” signs. For sometime, I thought it was related to the disposal of unsightly matter but it turns out that “To Let” has been Pakistanized as “Tolet.”
    Unsurprisingly, the so-called English language newspaper are offering “original” grammar and construction. Someone, who, in his pre-K stage, used to use Pakistan Times ( the late and lamented) to polish his alphabet, I panic imagining what young learners must be bearing trying to pick the letters from today’s newspapers, including ET that ostensibly partners IHT/NYT.Recommend

  • Asad Malik

    Agreed. Stop with all the ‘yaaa’ and ‘omg’ girls. It annoying and you look ridiculous with that fail attempt of the ‘american’ accent. Nahi angraizi bolni ati to na boloRecommend

  • Shiv

    Kuch naa Kaho, kuch bhi naa kaho?Recommend

  • B+

    absurd article…oh please pardon my English…I mean to say fazool article in urdu. Recommend

  • Saud

    Extremely boring article on such an interesting topic.
    There are tons of examples that you could have given in your article on Pakistani English.
    I heard people say that I’m so “proudy” which is not even a word in English. What they mean to say is that I’m an ‘arrogant’ person…so to speak. Here are some more examples:
    ‘Go Musharaf Go’…really?
    ‘You are mad’ instead of ‘You are crazy’
    ‘You look smart’ instead of ‘ you look sharp/handsome/pretty’
    ‘Don’t take tension’
    You need to work on your writing/reading/fielding/batting ‘department’
    Misuse of articles esp. “THE” in almost every sentence…”the doctor gave the Ali the medicine”
    He has a good carrier. ..instead of saying career..
    I didn’t ‘knew’ instead of ‘know’Recommend

  • Saud

    @Citizen: technically believe you me is correct…and part of spoken English….however..’believe me’ sounds much better.Recommend

  • Saud

    @Sana:
    Absolutely!Recommend

  • pavan

    now in india there is hinglish,tanglish etc.just because its spoken distorted need not be frowned upon engish here always been common means of communication between majority hindis vs minority tamils,telugus,malyalis,kanndigas,coorgis,tuluvas,konkonis,bengalis who showed cultural resistance to hindi but not english.urdu itself is outcom of indo persian with arabic influence now it evolved well.languages keep changing with local influence always in history.i also feel that for all the english have done suppressing sub continent there is nothing wrong in distorting their mothertongue.Recommend

  • ss

    @ Rabael Malik

    Thumbs up!! Recommend

  • Sinclair

    @Sufia Zamir

    What about the countryside of England? How about the Irish, have you heard them recently? Scottish – my word, that’s a dialect for sure. In the US, Kansas says things which California sniggers at. Alabama prints things which cannot be understood in Minnesota.

    There is no one true way of the english language. Its not religion.Recommend

  • Working Woman

    @author

    “People should learn to be comfortable speaking their own languages rather than equating knowledge of English with a status symbol.”

    Take your own statement in contrast with another ” I constantly found myself mentally correcting his grammar and ultimately I realised that pursuing marriage with him would be nothing but a disaster”

    Now please, care making a comment something about yourself. :-/Recommend

  • Working Woman

    Lady, people worldwide live to earn and not to learn a language.Recommend

  • Iram

    It is possible to see several socially vertical dialects in Pakistan today. The first is an Anglicised English dialect virtually indistinguishable from that of educated British speakers, spoken by Pakistanis who have had considerable contact with native English speakers, but this is not very common;an acrolect, spoken by Pakistanis who have had western-type of schooling, but which is not quite the same as the English of good native speakers; a mesolect which dominates by sheer numbers, and is characterized by heavy first language interference; a basilect, a kind of ‘survival’ English picked up by junior clerks and office workers who have had very little exposure to English.

    Writer, i wish to know the name of the country where all speakers have same ability???? There is a formula to find the actual dialect of the language and that is following.

    NORMS (N= native, O= old, R= rural, M= male, S= speakerRecommend

  • doom

    But she has point…why did the sign say “select gate”? Why not write it in Urdu?

    I’m more forgiving of people who speak English and get it wrong…because speaking it is one way to learn, and to improve pronunciation. I think one should politely correct once in a while (and not make jokes that probably offend) so that it is productive.

    What I do not forgive, however, is throwing in one-two odd words of English mid-sentence while speaking Urdu…what the hell is that? e.g. recently said to me: “Aap chai mein sugar lein gee”. Why, we don’t have a word for sugar in Urdu? And why is the title of the movie “Jab we met”? etc. etc. There you’ve butchered TWO languages and managed to sound like you are only semi-literate in both. Recommend

  • MK-Ultra

    @Rabael Malik:

    “….they think they are soul flag bearers and soul proprietor of English language despite the fact we know that in which mess our education system is.”

    I don’t mean to play the grammar police but I guess you intended to mean ‘sole’ and not ‘soul’ in your sentence. That is, in quintessence, all what the author of the article wants to say. You don’t need to sport an attitude to appreciate it’s message.Recommend

  • http://www.kpk.gov.pk Ashrafuddin Chitrali

    No tension.
    Because suchlike writings and piece of words are called patterns. Media’s language is also called technical language, there also no need of grammer. Only literary figure single out these and chuckles and errect himself/herself. Recommend

  • gp65

    @Asad Malik:
    Kyon na bolen? Bina bole kaise seekh paayenge? Language is meant to express not to impress. I am trying to learn Spanish and none of my colleagues with whom I try to practice it act so mean and judgmental.

    @nandita – agree 100% with you on this one. Well said.Recommend

  • Shah

    left a potential rishta just because his english wasn’t at par…ooowuaaaat!Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/896/ayesha-pervez/ Ayesha Pervez

    I just returned from a mind wobbling grammar class to find this on ET blogs…. where do I gooo? :DRecommend

  • gp65

    @Sinclair:
    True that – as far as language goes. But you implied that there is one correct way in religion. Are you sure? People wouldn’t be killing each other in its name if that were true.Recommend

  • asif

    “If you, Sufia, think you have some manner of monopoly over correct english, there are plenty of exclusionary americans and britishers eager to excommunicate you from the “correct-speaking” fold.”
    Now that is real take down.

    Sufia, take a few writing lessons from @deeply disappointed. If you could string words together half as well as that, you might be be entitled to not consider yourself a ‘native’Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/896/ayesha-pervez/ Ayesha Pervez

    Aj kal larkion ko rishte nahi milrahe and u left an otherwise perfectly eligible bachelor because his English wasnt impeccable? Did I read right? : /Recommend

  • Usman

    @doom
    literacy and language are two different things. In USA or UK, most illiterate can speak better than the author.

    Language is a medium to express, unfortunately people like author have made it a status symbol.

    @Author:

    You can find sign boards with wrongly written English even in England. So leave your superiority complex and live a happy life.

    For you, i would suggest the blog by Sabahat Zakariya

    “You can hire me to teach you English, London”

    http://sabahat24.blogspot.com/2012/08/i-offer-my-services-at-reasonable-rates.htmlRecommend

  • Sinclair

    @gp65

    Was trying to be sarcastic, clearly fell flat there. I do not believe in any religion – not even of the atheists.Recommend

  • raza

    couldnt agree with you more [email protected]: Recommend

  • Morning Glory

    Spot on! And the irony is.. being surrounded by people speaking/writing wrong English gradually stops you from mentally correcting theirs and instead you too start failing to identify the errors. Hate it but it is true infact!Recommend

  • Tariq

    Lame article when did himglish became a standard? Recommend

  • John B

    I already found at least one grammatical error in the author’s writing

    OMG I am LoL! These are new vocabularies of 21 century English and so grammatically they are correct, but they were incorrect a few years ago.

    The beauty of English is in its flexibility to adapt, adopt and borrow freely from cultures and other languages.

    The people from India and PAK use the word ” pre-pone” as an antonym of “post-pone” , although the correct word is “advance”. Yet the meaning is clear and as such pre-pone is in English dictionary of India. Similarly the usage of word Thrice, peon, Cooley etc are no longer in vogue in English language but are frequently used in the sub continent and the people understand the conveyed meaning.

    I find the description “I went marketing” very creative, indigenous and a natural evolution of human language adapted in a given culture. It is no more different than the evolution of the word/verb “googling”. No one heard of the word ” motoring” or “cycling” until they were invented. Did we not adapt them now?

    Given sometime, “marketing” may evolve into “bazaar-ing” which is no more different than shop-ping.

    English is full of borrowed vocabularies and adding Urdu vocabulary only enhances the English language. Recommend

  • raza

    @Haider:
    guy was fortunateRecommend

  • Milind

    @Author –

    Your article pre-supposes that the folks who’re bad with English are good in Urdu.. Here in India, the plight of native languages is pathetic, with the degraded quality of education. Most folks won’t be able to write a complete sentence in their native language (I will speak for my language Marathi) without spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

    I’m sure the state of Urdu in Pakistan would be the same. Most folks would mess up writing a correct sentence in Urdu…

    Anyway your blog was gr8… A nugget to share – A shopowner in our area put up a board saying “Wanted Lady Salesman” when he could simply have said “Salesgirl”.. Anyway this drives home the point… better speak in your native language rather than English, if you’re not sure.Recommend

  • Stranger

    The author is too full about herself Even I didnt know what a spawn meant . whats the big deal. Language is something to make youself understood . There is no such thing called Perfect English. Its an evolving language.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/896/ayesha-pervez/ Ayesha Pervez

    I am studying TESL which is basically Teaching English as a Second Language (Those who complete this program either teach immigrants in Canada or go to Asian countries to teach English there) and from day one we have been told that the MAIN goal of teaching language is not ‘perfect’ English but rather Communication! As long as you get your message across, thats all that matters. Recommend

  • http://www.theorangepath.com Tatheer

    Let me tell you sufia that I consider myself in the same group who at times or may be most of time struggle in speaking and writing English. But we have no choices … can i express myself here in any other language?. Let me tell you that I have register my daughter in a prestigious private school and now too tense that she might not be shortlisted for admission because during interview when principal ask her “what is this?” (while holding a toy car in her hand) and she responded “gari” and principal responded “gari not car?” so why you think i will not push her to keep on trying English rather than her mother tongue, for the information of all readers, she is just 2.4 yrs.
    But all the real examples quoted by you were so hilarious … again a great piece of writing :)Recommend

  • Moe

    You dumped a guy just because he couldn’t speak English articulately.

    You just took the word ‘shallow’ to a whole ‘nother level.Recommend

  • doom

    @Saud:
    There’s nothing wrong with “You are mad” or “You look smart”. Both are perfectly correct grammatically and in word usage. I don’t know where you live but “You’re mad” is a very common thing to say…in fact there’s a famous quote from Alice in Wonderland: “You’re mad, but all the best people are”.

    Even “Go, Musharaf, go” is not really wrong. You are only right about “don’t take tension” being wrong.

    This draws attention to another common practice in our part of the world: correcting other people’s English with great authority when you are completely wrong yourself. Recommend

  • Lame

    One allama iqbal visit a famous urdu (I forget his name) poet house, when iqbal leave the place someone asked him how was the meeting and poet said
    ” Wo sara time ‘han jee’ ‘han jee’ kartay rahay hon mn ‘jee han’ ‘jee han’
    Damn! I can’t remember the name of that poet but I know who is iqbal. Stop being judgmental. Recommend

  • Rehman

    Allow me to take this opportunity to point out the following English grammar mistakes in this article by Sufia Zamir:

    In Para No. 2, Sufia writes: “…someone who really should know better.”

    Correct form should have been “….someone who should really know better”. In any case the “really” is redundant. She also is repetitive since she used the “really” word in the Para No. 1 as well.

    In Para No. 3, Sufia writes: “… she had been “marketing”.

    When ending a sentence in inverted commas or quotations, the period or full-stop is always placed INSIDE the inverted commas or quotation. So it should have eneded “…she had been marketing.” Sufia repeats the same mistake numerous times throughout the article.

    In Para No. 5, Sufia writes: “She recently lamented via a Facebook status update…”

    The “via a” is a definite no-no from a grammar and sentence structure standpoint. She should have used the term “through a Facebook status update” or “through her Facebook status update.”

    Sufi writes: “…I constantly found myself…”

    That is poor grammar and incorrect English. The correct sentence structure would have been “I found myself constantly…”

    There are so many other mistakes but I don’t have the time to point each and every one out.

    This article, I regret to say, is poorly written, lacks flow, and exposes the limits of the author’s English vocabulary and command over grammar and sentence structure.

    My parting advice to the author: hire yourself a Henry Higgins to improve your English vocabulary and grammar.Recommend

  • http://www.theorangepath.com Tatheer

    Let me tell you sufia that I consider myself in the same group who at times or may be most of time struggle in speaking and writing English. But we have no choices … can i express myself here in any other language?. Let me tell you that I have register my daughter in a prestigious private school and now too tense that she might not be shortlisted for admission because during interview when principal ask her “what is this?” (while holding a toy car in her hand) and she responded “gari” and principal responded “gari not car?” so why you think i will not push her to keep on trying English rather than her mother tongue, for the information of all readers, she is just 2.4 yrs.

    But all the real examples quoted by you were so good and i really know how you feel … again a great piece of writing :)Recommend

  • Khurram

    It is because of people like you that our cricketers are not confident in front of the camera after a victory or defeat because people like you will not concentrate on what they are trying to say but their accent and language. Listen to some of the east European dignitaries who when speak may not reach your standards of English but they are carrying out important jobs. Would you Like to find some one for marriage whos English is very good but then he may fail you in characterRecommend

  • Sarah

    I’ll keep it simple: that was funny, and I didn’t mind the air of arrogance in your tone. Now, excuse me, I have to go marketing.Recommend

  • http://- Abid P. Khan

    @Pro Bono Publico:
    “…….Unsurprisingly, the so-called English language newspaper are offering “original” grammar and construction….
    .
    “Why butcher the English language?...” Once you already have Urdu(to butcher).Recommend

  • http://gujrat RAW is WAR

    so what?Recommend

  • Taimoor Asif

    Its always good to write a article when there is no other tempting thing to catch the people. Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    This article reminds me of a graduate from the Oxford university, who complained that even after masters in english, the news paper men and the taxi drivers always tell him that as a foreigner he speaks good english!

    His question was, “how come that they know about him being a foreigner”.

    I answered him straight that he speaks perfect English and not the cockney slang spoken by the Londoners. Lady author, you should learn the culture of the people that you talk to and try to speak their version of English or better still any other local language and do not expect of people speaking commercial business language.

    Rex Minor

    PS
    I think in German language and write the English translation, so please do not try to nit pick.Recommend

  • Sudheer

    @Author
    The primary function of a language is to convey your thoughts to other person. As long as this basic requirement is fulfilled, grammar or pronunciation etc remain irrelevant. Author should understand that bad grammar is not such an offense as turning snobbish about one’s command over a language. Besides, there is something called formal and informal language. Grammar is certainly important when you use it formally, but in informal language it’s not a big issue as long as you are able convey your mind to others.
    By the way, may I ask you a question? How many of us do speak our own mother tongues using perfect grammar? All of sub-continental languages, including Urdu/Hindi, follow ancient grammarian Panini’s grammatical laws. Talk to me in Urdu/Hindi just for ten minutes, I am sure, I would catch you violating, at least, a dozen grammatical laws laid down by Panini. My point is if people make grammatical mistakes while speaking/writing it shouldn’t be such a big issue.
    However, I agree with you that the public messages, directions, rules etc., must be written not only with good grammar, but also with comprehendable clarity. Anyway, I found your article amusing and entertaining. But, in the end you left me baffled. You really dumped Mr.Right just for his poor grammar!!! Really? I can’t believe it!Recommend

  • Aijaz Haider

    Someone please translate it in Urdu.Recommend

  • Tariq Jameel

    @Rabael Malik:
    SOUL flag bearers and SOUL proprietor of English language…maybe they should be :DRecommend

  • Joe Horace

    As a native English speaker I find this article to take an incredibly pessimistic point of view. I think it is cute if someone can’t master a second language and respect them for trying. The fact that you turned down a prospective husband because his English was not perfect is really disgusting and sad. He is better off without a snob like you.Recommend

  • doom

    @Rehman:
    I think you’re wrong about the full-stop being inside the quotation marks. That only occurs when the entire sentence complete with full-stop or question mark etc. was a quote.

    But this is fun! Let’s have a grammar nazi contest!Recommend

  • stating the obvious

    @Joe Horace:

    The fact that you turned down a prospective husband because his English was not perfect is >really disgusting and sad.He is better off without a snob like you.

    Well, if someone’s idea of a romantic evening is playing scrabble with hubby or solving a crossword together or reading classics , isn’t it better if both partners are compatible.It has everything to do to with compatibility and not with snobbery.Recommend

  • Hammad

    The author indeed lives in a “La La Land”. I have been living in States since 14 years’ now and I couldn’t find anyone I mean anyone who speaks English with perfect grammar and what not. Clearly, the author seems to be another wanna be from Clifton or Defense. Recommend

  • Hammad

    @gp65:

    Of course, who is she (the author) to judge people?Recommend

  • M Abuzar Ausama

    yes it is fact that we try to use English even we don’t know it.Use of language is good think but without knowledge it is bad think.yes English language is symbol of many things in our country.we all should try to learn it because this language connects us to the world.But we don’t have culture of learning.Recommend

  • Hira

    Being much of a Grammar Nazi myself, I can understand what you go through every time someone makes a mistake. But over the years I have learnt that it is important to let go. If they managed to get their message across, then the point of communication/languages has been achieved.

    I have a teacher at school who explains in broken English that we find very hard to understand, and yet, none of us can muster enough courage to go and tell him to simply explain to us in Urdu.

    I think us Grammar Nazis ARE the main reason people feel that they are obliged to communicate in English. It is our criteria of literate/sophisticated people. After this, it is unfair to blame them for wanting to communicate in English. Help them, but don’t insult them. They will definitely learn from you:)Recommend

  • Fahad

    The guy she rejected was indeed lucky :)Recommend

  • gp65

    @stating the obvious:
    Agree 100% with you on the marriage deal where compatibility does matter. Did feel that in the other situations, the author’s attitude probably alienates others rather than impressing them as she expects.Recommend

  • stating the obvious

    @gp65:

    the author’s attitude probably alienates others rather than impressing them as she expects.

    This is an unique South Asian trait where the smart persons have to be apologetic of their smartness and are expected to lower their standards rather than the expecting the others to improve their standardsRecommend

  • Alamgir

    You should be glad you are a Pakistani and not Indian, since everyone knows that Pakistanis speak better English than Indians.Recommend

  • afzal

    if communication is complete…who cares about writer…

    typical obsolete thinking………..please correct my english mistake.Recommend

  • Atif

    @Sudheer, @Nandita

    excellent comments…. 100% agreed. Recommend

  • John B

    @Rehman:
    excellent editorial correction. There is also a past perfect sentence grammatical error but who is counting. Recommend

  • Aafan

    BBA and MBA from SZABIST …. right ? Recommend

  • Ammar

    After reading this blog it took me 10 minutes to type this sentence. So please don’t point out if you find any mistake in it. :(Recommend

  • boco

    @Aafan:
    I’m not very familiar with that school, so is that suppose to mean something?Recommend

  • Ammar

    I sincerely wish your friend, your colleague and your neighbor don’t read ET considering how they are ridiculed just to make the post funny, which I can assure you, IS NOT !Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/Ammarttitude Ammarttitude

    Why butcher the English language? Just speak in Urdu

    Exactly – i totally agree – and why do we even butcher the Urdu language by typing Roman Urdu and stuff – It kills me, its like destroying Urdu language..Recommend

  • urdu zaban

    the guy came down to your level and said things like suxs/anyways in order to be more communicative and you turned down his rishta for such a minimal thing. When a gora does bad in urdu you will be the first one to say he is so cute. what double standards you have.Recommend

  • anwar suhail

    @Sufia Zameer
    Not impressed. Could you not think of any thing useful. What waste of time!Recommend

  • http://habloid.wordpress.com Habiba Younis

    well, although I agree with a few points in this post but overall the tone is tinted with superiority complex. English is a foreign language, frankly I know many phds (my own teachers) who use third form of verb after “did” while delivering lectures. Shocker-but otherwise they have extreme commendable command over the subject at hand (which is not linguistics). Why people still stick to it? Lets be a little sympathetic to the post colonial rule generation. There are a lot of situations/scenarios where one does not speak angraizi out of choice rather one is “supposed to do so”-interviews, conferences etc. Naturally, this gives people the impression that using english for communication is something imperative and sometimes a standard of judgment-this post as point in case . Having said that, the above defense was not for wannabes who ridiculously tweak their accent to appear more amreeki. Lastly, I have yet to meet a gora who can speak flawless urdu. Also, carefully observe our education system before lamenting on the supposedly grave issue of poor grammatical skills of our people in english.
    P.S: wrote the comment hurriedly, advance apologies to author for the nerve tremors/heartache in case of linguistic errors. Recommend

  • http://- Abid P. Khan

    @Asad Malik:
    “Agreed. Stop with all the ‘yaaa’ and ‘omg’ girls. It annoying and you look ridiculous with that fail attempt of the ‘american’ accent. Nahi angraizi bolni ati to na bolo”

    .
    What really gets my goat is the way some have adopted “Niggah Speak”, thinking they sound cool. I would rather follow @Asad Malik’s advice.Recommend

  • Gratgy

    @Authir
    License to crib eh?Recommend

  • http://www.bbcurdu.com Najeeb-ur-Rehman

    I m (am) sorry 2 (to) write here dat (that) author just try to ‘pulls d (the) meat 4rm (from) d (the) nails’. Major n (and) 1st purpose of language is understanding in first leisure and in easy way. Does not matter, language is full of grammatical errors. I assured, if the author look the traffic constable at chowk, she will start her pen under idea ‘deaf & dumb traffic constable’. But actually, constable’s signs are more easily and speedy understand than of spoken words. Lastly, no one can expert in any language like his/her mother tongue.
    Author is requested to kindly pay attention words which are written in bracket ( ) which revealed that English is being short to short day by day like bikini dress but it is understandable too. ThxRecommend

  • parvesh kumar

    @Vinod:
    true that…!Recommend

  • http://habloid.wordpress.com Habiba Younis

    well, although I agree with a few points in this post but overall the tone is tinted with superiority complex. English is a foreign language, frankly I know many phds (my own teachers) who use third form of verb after “did” while delivering lectures. Shocker-but otherwise they have extreme commendable command over the subject at hand (which is not linguistics). Why people still stick to it? Lets be a little sympathetic to the post colonial rule generation. There are a lot of situations/scenarios where one does not speak angraizi out of choice rather one is “supposed to do so”-interviews, conferences etc. Naturally, this gives people the impression that using english for communication is something imperative and sometimes a standard of judgment-this post as point in case . Having said that, the above defense was not for wannabes who ridiculously tweak their accent to appear more amreeki. Lastly, I have yet to meet a gora who can speak flawless urdu. Also, carefully observe our education system before lamenting on the supposedly grave issue of poor grammatical skills of our people in english.
    P.S: wrote the comment hurriedly, advance apologies to author for nerve tremors in case of linguistic errors.Recommend

  • ss

    i find this article a little prententious and a tad bit cocky :)Recommend

  • http://uptonogood.tumblr.com Red

    English is a second language for all the people you mentioned. It is quite alright to make mistakes in your second language. If you had tried learning a new language as an adult or if you had learnt English in a school in which the foreign language was not an important part of the curriculum, you wouldn’t have written this article. Recommend

  • Another Pakistani

    Speaking your own language has nothing to do with speaking correct or disastrous English. Even if you speak English like a native, you should be speaking in Urdu in your daily life. But as a nation, we have an obsession with English. Parents of our generation teach their infants “yes and no” and not “haan or nahi”. So I believe its the obsession you need to fight with, not the grammatical or spelling errors.Recommend

  • Saliha

    This takes irony to an entirely advanced level. Lamenting the use of english as a status symbol, while at the same time taking it as a benchmark of education? Way to go, girl. Listen, there is NOTHING wrong in only having the basic knowledge of a language adequate enough to convey the message. Being able to speak it effortlessly and fluently is a bonus, not a necessity. While you hate those who are not ‘educated enough’, I bite my tongue when I confront someone who tries so hard to play an ANGREZON KA BACHA that they might even put real angrezon k bachay to shame. And ofcourse, I’d like to hear you speak urdu. Fluent, pure, unadulterated urdu. And then I’ll be the judge.Recommend

  • Saliha

    Angraiz chalay gaey, apne billay chor gaey.Recommend

  • http://- Abid P. Khan

    @Najeeb-ur-Rehman:
    “…which revealed that English is being short to short day by day like bikini dress but it is understandable too. Thx….”

    .
    The “shortening” of Bikini can be challenging for many. But when the day by day of further “shortening” turns it into Mono Kini, it is definitely not that understandable for some.
    .
    Arrival of the final stage of “shortening” i.e. NoNo Kini, is guaranteed pernicious besides being difficult to understand.

    (Clarification:
    Playing music: Recording
    Shortage: Shorting etc.)Recommend

  • Sadia

    What a complete waste of time.Recommend

  • ssw

    Although everyone has his/her own opinion,yet I don’t agree with the author.I don’t understand what is being wrong in saying anyways.On one hand, you r saying that people should be comfortable speaking their own language rather than equating it ..but candidly speaking,I think u consider it as a status symbol..let’s be real;how many of us speak impeccable Urdu which is our own language..probably v fewRecommend