Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Aldrop and mofussil

I had no clue this thing was called an Aldrop. Learnt it in Chennai on an aldrop, where else.

Chennai has a mofussil bus stand at Koyembedu. (Again drew a blank on dictionary.com. A google on mofussil throws up mostly South Indian sites).

The English left after teaching us English and we forgot to update our dictionary. Chennai is perhaps the Jurassic park of the English language!

I can imagine an English language historian who suddenly lands up in Chennai and to his joy and surprise, finds mofussils, aldrops, condiments, balderdashes and baloneys roaming about in free abandon - long after their extinction in ol'blighty. I am sure there are more, but I am no expert in the English language.

(Dont know the meaning of these words, dont bother. They are well past their sell by date)

4 comments:

Steve Zavestoski said...

Wow. You made me work hard to find a definition of mofussil. The best one I found was at https://mailman.rice.edu/pipermail/sasialit/2002-July/011433.html

As for condiments, well, here in the U.S. we still use the word regularly to describe, for example, the ketchup, mustard, relish or other "fixings" we put on a hot dog.

And finally, though we don't often use the word balderdash, it happens to be the name of a quite popular party game wherein participants are given an obscure word, then fabricate a definition for the word, and finally try to convince opponents of the definition's veracity in contradistinction to other players' false definitions and the real definition. As a side note, this game can be played with no props other than a dictionary, or for the less frugal, a packaged "board game" version can be purchased at toy stores for about US$25.

Not until your post did it occur to me that in the common legacy of British imperialism India and the U.S. have something in common, even if it is only in the detritus of British lexicon.

Karthik Rao Cavale said...

What about choultry? Never heard someone except 70-year old Indians use the word.

Anand said...

There is a stationer next to my house who calls himself a 'papeterie' dealer. Also, in Chennai you are expected to score a 'centum' in Maths!

Vinay said...

Word are really confusing from varied destinations. 'Pi' in tamil would mean a 'mat' but has several meanings in several languages....