Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sourashtra- An introduction

X: So Deepa, what language do you speak at home..English?
Me: No..
X: Hindi?
me: No..
X: Let me guess then...Tamil?
Me: No ...It is Sourashtra ..
X: Isn't that in Gujarat? But you said your native is Madurai..
Me: Yea ..but we are not Gujaratis..we are Sourashtrians....and our mothertongue is Sourashtra.
X: Really? I haven't heard of such a language before. Tell me,what does it sound like?
Me: It is like a mixture of many Indian languages like Hindi ,marathi, Tamil,Sanskrit,Guj, Bengali,etc..
X: Oh, I see! Talk something in your language...What is "What is your name ?" in Sourashtra?
Me: It is " Thorey('th' as in 'thorough') naav kaaya(last 'a' as in 'about')?"

Here X is any person(usually my classmate) I have met till now.

The above conversation has been repeated several times in my 21 years of life. I end up requesting X not to murder the language right before my eyes( or ears).

X bites and chews the sentence and finds it difficult to pronounce the word 'kaaya' properly and makes it 'kaayaa' which in Hindi means 'body'. And if X happens to be a Tamilian, he would find it funny interpreting 'kaaya' as 'kaai',which in Tamil means a raw fruit.At school,usually , the very first words they would like to know are the Sourashtra words for monkey, donkey, fool, idiot, mad etc..which they can use to call their friends. I don't understand what thrill X gets by calling his friend a fool, in an alien language...may be it increases the victim's reaction time by the ' Zor ka jhatka dheeray say lagay' effect allowing X to save his skin.

You can check out or or simply click on the title for more info about the script or the glorious past of this beautiful language also known as Palkar('kar' rhymes with 'car').

Pronunciation is very important in every language as this is what gives it individuality. With a little different way of tongue movement you can make Tamil sound like English or English like Malayalam. But pronunciation,as I understand and feel, is the backbone of Palkar, because a tiny change can completely change the meaning or even sound disrespectful.

It is hard for me to imagine what it feels like to live in a place where my neighbours, classmates ,friends and every other person around me speaks in my mothertongue i.e., like how a Tamilian would feel in TamilNadu or a Malayali in Kerala and so on. But then, it gives a sense of uniqueness in that I speak a language which very few people know about.

Let me give a sneak peek ...

Here I will represent the 'A' for the 'aa' sound and 'a' for the sound of 'a' as in 'about'.

Take for eg. jAvA... it may be a programming language but in Palkar, it means 'podi'(as in Tamil). When pronounced as java, its meaning changes to 'ponga'(Tamil).

Some who have heard people speak this language may hear many hAi's in their speech...hAi means yes in Palkar . Interestingly, it means yes in Japanese too.

The word kowla ('kow' rhymes with 'cow') means crow(bird), khovla means 'cough' , gowla means 'cheek' and ghovla means 'a recess in a wall'.

Many has two different meanings, one is 'man' and the other is 'appidinnu'(Tamil). When pronounced as Maeni with stress on 'Mae', it means 'tell'.

The beauty and uniqueness of Palkar lies in the pronouncing of two consonants simultaneously. For eg.
Mhotto(big or huge or elder)

Most of you must have watched the Tamil thriller movie "Athey kangal". There is a song in that movie just before the climax where the hero ,heroine and their friends sing this song"Pombalai oruthi irundalam"...which has these lines sung by the heroine and co..." Dhaak kerares, Dhaak kerares,Dhaak kerares" to which the hero and his grp. reply "Dhakkunoko,Dhakkunoko,Dhakkunoko". Well, that was Sourashtra. Dhaak means fear. The girls say that they are scared and the hero tells them not to fear.

When you translate the Tamil saying " Kazhudai in male perungayam " literally, it gives a funny phrase...ghedaD holla hingu meaning ' Kazhudai in male aeruvane' or ' I will climb a donkey' :-P...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005