Apostrophe catastrophe - Signs of our Times!
"ma, can you higher the volume?"
"sweetie, it is make it louder...not higher"
"but higher is the opposite of lower, and you say lower the volume".
"Well, yes, that is correct, but we don't say higher the volume, the correct way is to say make it louder"
"Err...that's because...ummm...that's just how it is !!"
Yup.... really hard to argue with a little one that wants answers.
But, then again English is a tricky language. Full of idiosyncrasies. Perhaps that is why there is a proliferation of institutes claiming to teach English and other "Soft Skills" in India. Now, what on earth is a "soft skill"??? is there a "hard skill"??
On a recent visit to India, we were amazed at the number of signs, posters and billboards advertising agencies and institutes proclaiming their English teaching skills. What boggled the mind, was the grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in the signs themselves. Who would want to learn English from an institute that didn't know how to spell "Academy". But then again, if you knew it all, perhaps you wouldn't need to go to those classes, eh?
On the first day of our vacation in India, we hired a car and were on our way to Taj Mahal. After oohing and ahhing over the monument, we came out into the busy Agra township and spotted a sign proclaiming in big, bold letters:
Anus English Academy
We all looked at it for a moment, and then at each other. All of us burst out laughing simultaneously. We were puzzled as to why someone would call their institute by such a weird name and then, it dawned upon us ....it was missing an apostrophe. It should have read
Anu's English Academy
Poor Anu, I wonder if she had a lot of students show up at the academy!!
It didn't help that the academy was right next to a "Barfwala" who proudly proclaimed that he had Fresh and Cold Barf and his Barf was made fresh every day!!
[for my non-hindi speaking readers, Barf or baraf is ice]
Between the Academy and the Barfwala, these guys sure had both ends covered !!!
Unfortunately, I was not able to capture these 2 signs on film, but here are few funny signs that I did manage to take a picture of.
Please note: it is certainly not my intent to deride anyone associated with these establishments for their signs. I just think that these colorful signs are so quintessentially Indian and very charming. There is a certain charm and innocence associated with these signs and everytime I feel homesick, I just have to look at these pictures and they immediately bring a smile to my day.