Castles in the air - they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build, too.

आम्हां घरी धन शब्दांचीच रत्नें | शब्दांचीच शस्त्रें यत्न करुं ||
शब्द चि आमुच्या जीवांचे जीवन | शब्दें वांटूं धन जनलोकां ||
तुका म्हणे पाहा शब्द चि हा देव | शब्द चि गौरव पूजा करुं ||
- abhang of Tukaram Wolhoba Ambile of Dehu

There's No Freedom Like That of a Child's Imagination

கடலுக்கு உண்டு கற்பனைக்கு இல்லை கட்டுப்பாடு

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Many Englishes

Here's an excerpt from Churchill's speech about the Battle of Britain:

"...we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender..."

You can hear it here:


Now here's the fun. Whoohoo.co.uk lets you translate it into many of Britain's dialects and languages. So that it reads

...in Scouse (the dialect of Liverpool)

...we shall not flag er fail. we shall bowl ed ter de end. we shall straightener in france, we shall straightener ed de seas and oceans, we shall straightener wi' grow'n confidence and grow'n strength in de , we shall defend us island, worever de cost may be. we shall straightener ed de beaches, we shall straightener ed de land'n grounds, we shall straightener in de fields and in de streets, we shall straightener in de 'ills; we shall na srender...

...in Cockney rhyming slang (East London)

...we shall not flag or fail. we shall Scapa Fla on ter the end. we shall Read and Write in france, we shall Read and Write on the seas and oceans, we shall Read and Write wif growin' confidence and growin' strengf in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. we shall Read and Write on the beaches, we shall Read and Write on the landin' grounds, we shall Read and Write in the fields and in the streets, we shall Read and Write in the 'ills; we shall never surrender...

...in the unique idiom of Ali G

..we shall not flag or fail. we shall go on to da end. we shall ruk in Froggyland, we shall ruk on da seas an' oceans, we shall ruk wiv growin confidence an' growin strength in da air, we shall defend our island, wateva da cost may be. we shall ruk on da beaches, we shall ruk on da landin grounds, we shall ruk in da fields an' in da streets, we shall ruk in da hills; we shall neva surrenda...

...in Irish (the dialect of English as spoken by the Irish, not the Celtic language of Ireland)

..we shall not flag or fail. we shall go on ter de end. we shall scrap in france, we shall scrap on de seas an' oceans, we shall scrap wi' growin' confidence an' growin' strength in de air, we shall defend our islan', whatever de cost may be. we shall scrap on de beaches, we shall scrap on de landin' grounds, we shall scrap in de fields an' in de streets, we shall scrap in de 'ills; we shall never surrender...

...in Yorkshire

...we shall not flag or fail. we shall gue on teur t' en'. we shall feight i' france, we shall feight ont' seas 'n oceans, we shall feight wi' growin confidence 'n growin strength int' air, we shall defen' wee islan', whateva t' cost may be. we shall feight ont' beaches, we shall feight ont' landin grounds, we shall feight int' fields 'n int' streets, we shall feight int' 'ills; we shall nivva surrenda...

...in Brummie (Birmingham)

...we shall not flag or fail. we shall goo on ter the end. we shall foight in france, we shall foight on the seas an' oceans, we shall foight with growen confidence an' growen strength in the air, we shall defend ar islan', whatever the cost moy be. we shall foight on the beaches, we shall foight on the landen grounds, we shall foight in the fields an' in the streets, we shall foight in the hills; we shall never surrender...

...in Geordie (Newcastle)

...we shaal neet flag or fail. wuh shaal gan on tuh the end. wuh shaal barney in france, wuh shaal barney on the seas an' oceans, wuh shaal barney wi' growin confidence an' growin strength in the air, wuh shaal defend wor island, whativvor the cost ma be. wuh shaal barney on the beaches, wuh shaal barney on the landin grounds, wuh shaal barney in the fields an' in the streets, wuh shaal barney in the hills; wuh shaal nivvor surrendor...

...in Scottish (the dialect of English as spoken by the Scottish, not the Celtic language of Scotland (that's Gaelic) or the Germanic language spoken there (Scots))

...we shaa nae flag ur fail. we shaa gang oan tae th' end. we shaa barnie in france, we shaa barnie oan th' seas an' oceans, we shaa barnie wi' growin' confidence an' growin' loch in th' air, we shaa defend uir islain, whatever th' cost main be. we shaa barnie oan th' beaches, we shaa barnie oan th' landin' groonds, we shaa barnie in th' fields an' in th' streets, we shaa barnie in th' hills; we shaa ne'er surrender...

...and finally in 'jolly well spoken' English, the language of the English stereotype

...we shall not flag or fail. we shall jolly well goh ohn to the end. we shall fisticuffs in france, we shall fisticuffs ohn the seas and oceans, we shall fisticuffs with growing confidence and growing strength in the aair, we shall defend our island, whatevah the cost meay be. we shall fisticuffs ohn the beaches, we shall fisticuffs ohn the landing grounds, we shall fisticuffs in the fields and in the streets, we shall fisticuffs in the hills; we shall ne'ah surrendah... Jolly good show old bean!

This by the way is Ebonics, a language spoken self-deprecatingly by African American comedians:

...we's shall not flag or fail. We shall jet on ta da end. We shall fight in France, we's shall fight on da seas an' oceans, we's shall fight wiff growing confidence an' growing strength in da air, we's shall defend our island, whatever da cost may be. We shall fight on da beaches, we's shall fight on da landing grounds, we's shall fight in da fields an' in da streets, we's shall fight in da hills; we's shall never surrender... you know das right!

Much closer to what the Queen would speak, isn't it, than what her subjects do?

Neil Tweedie wrote in The Telegraph that the Queen's English has changed over the years she has been speaking it. (The very Queen's English, and not just the standard that goes by her name.) She speaks it more like her subjects now. And her motto is Semper Eadem (Always the same)!

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