Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Telugu's English pronunciation blues - II

Disclaimer: This article is not to demean a particular section of the society. It is an analysis of problems faced by me during my journey TBE, but most of these are still present in Telugu-speaking people. Some of them may apply to other Indians also.

In Part-I, I wrote about my pronunciation blues with some English letters. Here, I would continue with some common words and syllables that were taught incorrectly by most of the A.P. English teachers.

1. And,Answer:

The Telugu alphabet doesn’t have a letter to represent the sound “eah” made as in ant, animal, bat, cat, fat, rat, etc. But, still the Telugites, including me, never face any problem to produce this sound.
Now observe how most of the Telugus pronounce the words – answer, and. ‘a’ in “answer” similar to honour; ‘a’ in “and” similar to under. Even, I used to pronounce the same way till I had started watching English movies in my 10th, thanks to the advent of STAR television network.

2. for:

Most pronounce this the familiar way – without stress on any syllable, the second syllable as light as possible; or sometimes, stressing the first syllable.
But, most of the Telugus (again I was) stress both the syllables. It hits the eardrum while listening.

3. environment:
Again, the common Telugu’s pronunciation is :- en-vi (i as in itch)-ron-ment. However, the NGC and the Discovery channels taught me early in my high-school that I should pronounce it as “enwirement”. I can still find hundreds of Telugu people at higher position use this word the former way.

As I have mentioned in the disclaimer, these posts are not to demean the Telugus (how can I, I belong to the same community); but to highlight the damage that was done and being done by the teachers to the students at an early stage.

We can’t blame even the Teachers because, not all schools appoint a graduate in M.A. English literature.

We can try to improve our English speaking skills by reading many books, attending sessions but it is very hard to get rid of some habits that were learnt in the childhood. Whenever we observe similar anomalies in English speaking by children around us, we should educate them.


  1. Nice Posts!!! Three Claps for the bravery of accepting self mistakes!!! I am not praising you, for I know accepting self mistake is more difficult, more difficult than we think it can be....

    In short what ever you have said is termed as MTI (Mother Tongue Influence), particularly by the Accent Class Instructors (I guess most of us go to these classesjust a few hours or days before we hit the American Dreams!!!)

    Good Post.... Keep Going mister Blogger (probably the only continuing blogger from the CSE '99-'03 batch of SCREC ;-))

  2. Thanks Leela. Also, for sparing your time.

    //the only continuing blogger//
    Sadly, there are only two bloggers per my knowledge.

  3. Cute little jottings from an astute observer! Thoroughly enjoyed the analysis! Bravo!

  4. @Srivatsa: accept, opportunity, finance, director, pronunciation are some I could quickly think of - check the pronunciation in a dictionary.