Wednesday, May 7, 2008

11. Hate Speech

From my own personal experience people of the same ethnic complexion and religious views as Greg would be called "Towelhead" and "Sand Nigger".

In speaking with an Urdu speaker and Baha'is practioner I found that "towelhead" is appropriate. He explained that Sikhs in his opinion are a blending of Arabs and Hindi's. He said the blend is odd because historically the two groups have been at odds. He said that the neighborhood determines the acceptance and tolerance of the mingling. Arabs and Sikhs in a Sikh neighborhood is completely acceptable and the same is true in an Arab neighborhood. A Hindi and a Sikh in a Sikh neighborhood is accepted but a the same couple in a Hindi area is viewed as more cautious. The men may joke and tell others to "lock up their wives".

Free speech in India is comparable to the US and other Western States. Greg could not recount any specific cases of hate speech in Indian culture.

Monday, May 5, 2008

10. Gender

Punjabi has two gender forms, masculine and feminine.
English has no distinct gender forms. Some English words come from gender based features or ideas.

9. Argument

Greg's view of argument comes from his parents. His father was the head of the family and was to be respected. His mother had a similar set of authority but a different role. India has markets and a history of haggling which would lead me to believe it to be an "argument" culture.

In the US, arguments frequently occur anywhere and everywhere. It is understood that you respect those older than you and those that have authority although it is not a rigid rule. Everyone is allowed to speak publicly although not everyone will be listened to. Public speakers have status and that determines their audience. Verbal arguments are the norm and any physical violence is not tolerated even though it maybe encouraged by spectators. Argument here is used to get ones way, it is usually used as a last resort.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

8. Advantages & Disadvantages of Bilingualism

The prejudices Greg encountered were primarily religion based. Since he was a Sikh he looked different. He remembers his dad wearing a turban until he got an important job. Greg had long hair down to his waist until four years ago when he made an important decision about work. He explained that in his religion your hair is connected to your soul and any cutting of it must be carefully considered.

Greg did not express any issues with knowing multiple languages. Punjabi was spoken at home and outside of the public eye. English became a major language in his life and the other language he knows are beneficial for traveling. Greg traveled back and forth between the UK and Western Europe as he was going through school.

The accent that he displays now is either British or "flamboyant". He is teased very little. Most people look at him with interest because he's different than what they are used to.

Greg's opportunities with his multilingualism are limited. He has only used them to communicate one on one with people and hasn't used them much since he came to California.

Greg's lifestyle shows an indifference to the monolingualism here. He views multilingualism as an embodiment of culture and excitement. I believe that given the choices of being multilingual and monolingual he would find more excitement in the former.

7. Language Play and Acquisition

Pig Latin
Play Language
Take first sound or consonant cluster
Add to end of word
Add -ay
Ex: cat => atscray

None known of

In English we commonly play with Pig Latin (rules stated above). Greg was unaware of any Punjabi play languages so we devised one of our own. We decided to adapt Pig Latin to Punjabi. Take the first syllable or sound group, place it on the end of the word, and add "Jabi".

Brother- bhai => hai-b-jabi

The problems with creating your own play language is you're not sure if it will work, if it will be easy to use, and if it will be fun to use.

6. Language Relations

Punjabi and English share no common ancestor. They are practically on different sides of the Indo-European Language Tree. English is in the West Germanic family which resides in the larger Germanic family. Punjabi is in the Middle Indie family which is in Viedic Sanscrit which is in Indic which lies in the Indo-Iranian macrofamily.
Possible Pidgin
If both languages were to meet in an even circumstances and a mutually beneficial trade system were established and both parties had the language experiences that both Greg and I have. I could see a multilingual blending occur. I presume that either English would incorporate nonstandard sounds found in Punjabi or Punjabi would become sloppier and incorporate English sounds. It is likely that a combination would occur. If we look back to the consonant chart (Entry 3).
I could see some sounds moving locations just slightly (Dental to Alvobar etc). I also believe it would become more phonetic.
Ex. PH=>F
I also think consonant clusters would be reduced, "th" would be replaced with theta. This could also lead to the dropping of silent letters similar to the dropping of "g" in "-ing".

Since this is a trading system I can also imagine that speed and efficiency would become important in writing. The shortening of words and creation of abbreviations and slang would come into effect. Similar to online chat speak today. Ex: LOL for Laugh Out Loud. In my own personal note taking I have come up with tricks that I could see beneficial in an actual standardized writing system.

/ comma, or (more than 2)
|| or
+ and, more, pluss
@ at (location)
# number
* importance
- less
! not (opposite)
w/ with
W? what
$ money
c cheap

Monday, March 10, 2008

5. Gestures & Personal Space

In speaking with Greg, he has told me that in India people seem to be more friendly. He says it is not uncommon for men to walk holding hands or embrace. Whereas in America it is often looked at as uncommon and homosexual.

I found that when he talked about his background he wanted to stand closer in a conversation and when I moved to a comfortable distance he "danced" along with me. This leads me to believe that space is more close than here. I have found conversational distances to be up to 6ft, intimate to be touching to a foot away. As the groups get larger the space gets exponentially larger.

Greg mentioned common gestures for food or hunger and begging or pleading. In America we have gestures such as the "Awkward turtle", "the finger", people who talk with their hands, and numerous others.