Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's a small small world 

Disney said it best in the Lion King:

There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to everyone.
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It's a small small world.

A recent email went the rounds in our two college district stating that English standards were falling and roundly criticized those who were contributing to its decline. After an All District back and forth, I had to comment. I received many calls and emails thanking me for this post. Here it is:

A long time ago, the British owned English. No more. Now we have Spanglish, Chinglish, Hinglish (Hindi/Punjabi/Urdu-English), Tex-Mex, Ebonics or Yiddish (German and Hebrew mixture often thrown into English).

English is the primary language used on the Internet. A few years ago, my daughter told me that I was the last person on the Internet who cared about correct grammar (last but one, I guess). She works for Microsoft. English is a global language and the reason it is used instead of German, Italian or Sanskrit (although it incorporates all of these) is because English is so flexible and forgiving. As kids we used to sing (about learning Latin): "Latin is a language as dead as dead can be. First it killed the Romans, now its killing me!" English is alive.

I no longer try to correct grammar and spelling mistakes in minutes or emails (unless I write them). I am not paid enough nor do I have enough time to do that. Spell check and grammar check are available. I was raised to speak and write standard Oxford English in India. I got a high school certificate from Cambridge University before I went to college. Now, sixty years since Independence, Indians speak a totally different English. I taught my kids to speak standard English at home and it has helped them advance in their careers. But, hey! I can't teach the world. Non native English speakers are teaching English and giving it their own twist. When you hear an African speak in an Irish dialect you know why.

A new report issued by Demos, an influential think-tank that claims to represent “everyday democracy”, says “Imperial” English (is) outdated” and believes Britain will lose out despite its initial ownership of the English language unless it “adapts to the global reach of the language”

So, take heed. Try to understand what the person is trying to say instead of faulting their English. Be grateful the world is speaking English for our benefit rather than forcing us to to learn their language and give us an opportunity to speak and write that incorrectly. Some languages are far more complex than English.

Personal Notes: That said, let me tell you what's happening here. Booking air tickets, train tickets, hotels and restaurants around the world is fun, in a stressful kinda way. We will leave for the Breeks Reunion (see previous post) on December 15 and visit Hong Kong, Bangkok and Siem Reap en route before landing in Bangalore near midnight. We then take a train the next day...well, there's more...I promise to post along the way. Thank you to Sheila and Natala who have agreed to house/dog/cat sit for us. Brizzy thanks them, too!

We are hosting THANKSGIVING on November 22nd. to which all the family is invited and if you are a "homeless" friend, come on over. Let us know. Let us give thanks together.

FAMILY & FRIENDS--The Sandbox Studio Photography Show in San Francisco was marvelous, as always. See my pictures, including shots of Sheila's submission. This picture of Sheila with her parents: Joy and Will Menezes.

Thanks for Irene Pereira's mother who turned 90 in Monterey, complete with mariachis.

Natala in Florida, Chicago, Tucson, California. Jessica in Mombasa and Kenya. Oliver, putting the the kibosh to living in Portland has taken a job in Seattle. (This we hear from Natala and not from Oliver yet). Sheila will be on a shoot for Restoration Hardware in Beverley Hills this month. Eric in LA, Reno, LV and on to London. Here with his new friends and business partners, Sue and Randy. We enjoyed a dosai feast together, first time for them.

Bill has been driving to Los Osos to check on his parents' Bill and Polly's house that is being jacked up to correct a settling. Plans are afoot to celebrate his dad's 95th birthday in Mexico over the President's weekend in February, 2008.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to TAYLOR who turned 10.

In sunny Northern California, although we will travel and return, work and play, feast or fast--this is the best time of our lives, la troisieme vie. May it last a long time. We love you all.

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